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How to Make Competition Work When you compete against yourself, everybody wins!

By Jim Joseph

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


As human beings, we are inherently competitive…some of us more than others. We see it every day in our work, at school, at social activities and even on television. Especially on television!

I personally am very competitive, perhaps the most competitive person you could ever meet. But I'm not competitive in the usual meaning of the word.

I am very competitive with just one person…myself. I am my own biggest competitor, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Related: Don't Waste Your Focus on Things You Can't Control

I set very high standards and I fight to beat them in everything I do, every single day. I'm my own worst critic, and I'm my own biggest fan. Just ask me!

I think I do pretty well most of the time, but I always always always think that I could do even better. Always. I don't settle for anything less than spectacular in my work and home life. While that's not an obtainable goal, it's my aspiration.

I ask the same of those around me. I want them to be the best that they can be in whatever way suits them. I want them to obtain their goals, just like I want to obtain mine. There's no reason to be anything less, at least not in my book.

I don't compete with other people.

As we are all inherently competitive, I inherently believe that everyone can win…in whatever it is that they choose. There need not be a loser. When you are in competition with yourself, then there's plenty of room for others to succeed as well.

Related: What I Learned About Life Running a Half-Marathon

No one has to lose for me to win. I don't want anyone to lose…I want them to win in whatever they are doing as well.

Which is why at work I stay relatively calm in stressful situations. I am in control of my abilities and I know what I am capable of. It doesn't matter what my competition is doing, it matters how well I am performing. I don't worry about them, I worry about myself.

Even in competitive situations like a new business pitch, I don't think about what the competition is doing. Instead I focus on how we are performing as a team, and I focus on doing everything that I can to succeed.

Now don't get me wrong…I pay attention to my competition. I watch them closely. I know all about what they do.

Related: Win or Lose, Competition Always Makes You Stronger

Not only can competitive intelligence help me to perform better, but there's also a lot I can learn from it. My competitors are smart people who are also very successful! They too are doing something right, just like I am. I don't want to take them down, I want to learn from them. Quite honestly there's a lot we can learn from each other.

Why wouldn't I want to learn from my very successful competition? It only helps me be better and I am my worst critic and my biggest fan.

Jim Joseph

Marketing Master - Author - Blogger - Dad

Jim Joseph is the chief integrated marketing officer and president of the Americas for New York-based communications agency Cohn & Wolfe, part of the media company WPP Group PLC. He is the award-winning author of The Experience Effect series, teaches marketing at New York University, and is on the board of directors for the number one branding school in the country, The VCU Brandcenter. Joseph's new book, Out and About Dad, chronicles his unique journey as a father during a unique time in our cultural evolution.

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