Competition - whenever two or more parties strive for a goal or resource which cannot be shared.
I have been thinking a great deal about "competition" in the past few months. If you really sit down and think about the above statement, there is competition in everything we do and it has far reaching effects on us. Some examples...
Intra-Personal competition - I have been competing with my inner self for the past three months during my Tough Mudder training. There have been quite a few runs and training sessions where I wanted to bag it and move on with the whole process throwing $200 out the door in doing so. I literally had to cuss myself out on more than one occasion and keep on keeping on. Internal competition like this is exhausting and very primal in nature and everyone needs to go there at some point IMO.
Inter-Personal Competition - Me and my illustrious and super awesome fiance are always competing with each other but not in the ways that you might think. We don't compete at games or in the weightroom or for each others attention in creepy ways - our relationship doesn't work like that. There is a ton of mutual respect and a basic understanding that our professional and personal interests will probably always be locked into a sometimes comedic wrestling match since both of us are coaches with crazy schedules. This can be pretty challenging at times because neither of us like to sacrifice our convictions/principals in all that we do but we always find ways to make it work. We fight the good fight and win more often than we lose.
Business Competition - This one is pretty obvious so I am not going to blather away on it. I want more clients training in my facility - ALWAYS. But so does the other guy - ALWAYS. It will never stop - EVER.
I have to be honest here - I used to hate all of the various "competitions" that we have to battle on a daily basis. I always used to think "Why can't life be easy today? Why do I have to fight this fight at this exact moment? (Insert random cuss words here)!" Real mature right? Anyone have a tissue for me? Haha.
The last few months have gone a long way to change my view of competition in whatever the form it comes in and the pity party moments are effectively over. Rather than dread it and fuss over it, I have decided that I actually like the competition in my life. Think about what your life would be like without competition...
(You should be thinking here)
That's a weird prospect eh?
I have come to realize that if you are living your life without competition, you must be living a soul-less and empty void of a life. You would be like a vampire that feeds off of the effects (both positive and negative) of competition found in the lives of other. If you aren't competing for something at all times - no matter how small it may be - you might as well cash in your chips and take a dirt nap because I wouldn't want to be you for anything in the world. How can you really enjoy life if you don't win sometimes and savor the resultant success? Conversely, how can you ever learn anything constructive and gain perspective in your life if you don't lose from time to time?
So where did this massive revelation about competition come from? I think the seed was planted the day I opened the new facility and it has been growing ever since until it decided to erupt today. Let me put it this way - the competitions in your life are put into a completely different stratosphere when you put your name on a lease and go all in. The stakes are much higher and it affects all the other areas of your life when you do this. However, everything in your life becomes that much more "real" and this "real" feeling is awesome. The daily battles that this experience has dropped my way have made me a better person in all areas of my life and helped me to feel more alive than I have in a long time. I feel fortunate to have landed in this awesome place.
The tipping point that led to this blog post was an idea I got from Charlie Weingroff, an elite PT/Strength Coach/Powerlifter that I have come to admire more and more every day. In one of his DVD's he mentions the concept that performance trainers really have a simple test they must pass every day - a personal competition if you will. They need to provide the best standard of care possible to their clients within their respective skill set. If they are doing this and also constantly improving and augmenting their skill set, everything will take care of itself (i.e. more success and clients...). If they aren't passing this simple test, they probably stopped competing with themselves and their long term chances of failure are likely to rise dramatically.
NOTE: My interpretation of his ideas not his words directly
This concept was like a seismic boom inside my head the other day and re-affirmed the importance of competition in my life and how much I have grown to love it. Specific to my business situation, clients are going to do what they do and train where they want to train for any number of reasons that I will never fully understand. While we can surely influence people along the way, all of the best trainers eventually learn that clients have their own competitions to fight and are going to do what is best for them at the end of the day. If they choose to go somewhere else, we simply have to have a thick skin and accept it for what it is. However, the one guiding principal that trainers should never lose sight of in the ebb and flow of such competitions is providing the clients that train at their facility the best standard of care that they can and always striving to improve that standard. At the end of day, that is the only competition that is really, really critical. If you lose that one too often, you are going to run into trouble. I never plan to get into that kind of trouble!
As I continue to ponder this idea from Charlie, I have decided that my main competition going forward is really me. After all, I am the only one who can elevate my standard of care. With that in mind, gone are the days where I worry about what facility A,B, or C are doing and trying to validate what I do against what they do. Facility A,B, or C all probably do some good things or people wouldn't go there to begin with. Of course, I still follow what my competitors are up to but I am not going to obsessively stress over it like I used to because that time and energy would be better spent on improving what I have to offer and winning the personal competition of improving my standard of care for my clients.
I honestly believe that should train where you want to train - I am totally cool with that even if it's not at my place. In fact, I hope you that get a great training experience wherever you go. However, please know that if you walk through my doors, you are going be trained by someone who is living with a competitive edge and who is committed to providing you a high standard of care and who can't wait to train you at my place.
If you aren't competing - you aren't living!