Tag Archives: competition

Who do you want to be?

In recent years, Arnold Schwarzenegger has been taking shots from the tabloids regarding his personal life, his record as governor, and his recent movie comeback.

But instead of chuckling at late night jokes at his expense (whether deserved or otherwise) the success-minded will ask themselves some questions: do I have the strength within me to achieve everything I ever wanted? Can I even dream that big? Arnold’s words, taken from a 2009 USC commencement address demand harsh introspection and action.

Dig deep down and ask yourself who do you want to be? Not what but who? What is the point of living on this Earth if all you want to do is be liked by everyone and avoid trouble?

Arnold started with no money, no connections, no U.S. citizenship, no command of the English language. There were a million reasons he should have just stayed in Thaal, Austria. This video features lots of imagery of Arnold in his prime, but it’s really less about him (he got his) and more about you.

Watch it, and put your dreams against his template for success.

Jump in

You’re not Michael Phelps so of course you can’t do what he does. After all he’s a big strong guy and you’re just a kid.

Except if you’re Charlotte Samuels, a 15 year-old who just swam a 17.5 mile open water swim through New York Harbor to Sandy Hook, NJ. She lets Phelps have the pool while she tackles the ocean. But she’s young, she has the time and energy to swim all day, you don’t if you’re, say, a busy mom in your 40’s.

Except if you’re Lynn Ascione, a mom who happened to swim the same race. Like Samuels, she has her sights set on swimming the English Channel one day. So good for them, but maybe you’re around retirement age, someone will probably say it’s not smart to swim extreme distances.

Except if you’re Diana Nyad, who now in her 6th decade of life, has made four attempts to swim from Havana to the Florida Keys–that’s 100 miles–without a shark cage.

So it seems there’s no excuse if you think you’re too young, no excuse if you’re a busy parent, and no excuse if you think you’re too old.

So what’s stopping you from jumping into whatever it is you want to do?

Plan

Plan “A:” You can do something you might dislike (deal with angry customers) and get paid.

Plan “B:” You can do something you enjoy (watch movies) without getting paid at all.

You can do “A” as long as you can put up with your circumstances and you need the money.
You can do “B” as long as you can go without a paycheck.

You probably can’t do A or B indefinitely. So you might opt for Plan “C,” falling into a life working a job you don’t like and augmenting it by zoning out in front of your flat screen during the off hours. You can get away with this for years. People understand.

Or you can make a new plan, Plan “Z,” and put on paper how long you intend to stay at your job, your options for moving within the organization or moving on, deciding where opportunities are and how you can leverage your skills, experience and interests to take advantage of them. But that takes some work, and you could fail. And the TV has 900 channels.

Your choice.

Close to the money

Organizations continue to look for ways to maximize efficiency and reduce costs. That’s not going away.

So whether you are looking for a job or are already in one, consider your proximity to the client. The closer your job is to the client–and the money–the less likely you’ll get the axe.

Figure out a way to either consistently bring in the money, or become indispensable to someone who is.

Your competition defined…

We spend a lot of time and effort trying to “beat” the other guy. But trying to beat others is a complete waste of your time. And it’s not how the pros do it. Paul Kingsman talks about how he trained as a competitive swimmer not to beat others, but to win by competing against himself. “We took the view that the objective was to swim two minutes; I had no guarantee that two minutes would be fast enough to win,” Kingsman says. “But I hit my time and on the day, it was good enough for a medal.” As it turned out, Kingsman nabbed that Olympic medal by only four one-hundredths of a second!

The new year is a good time to think about what we want to excel in. But as we do it’s important to note that winning–-be it gold, silver, or bronze–-involves factors that are often out of our control. You can’t control how fast the other guy swims or how many products another businesswoman sells. You can only set challenging, measurable goals for yourself and work to achieve them.

In doing so, though, you may find others starting to try and compete with you, but then they’ll be making a mistake that you no longer make.

Stop caring…start doing…

Look at him. The cool car, the career, the cash. Look at her. The condo, the corner office, the cool coat.

Let this be the year you stop caring about them and what they all have. Let this be the year you focus on developing your abilities, sharing your talents with the world, and obtaining things of real value and meaning to you.

Why would you want to live any other way?