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Compete Better - What are competitions for?
Compete Better - What are competitions for?

How you define success in a competition will determine how you approach it.

Jami Tikkanen avatar
Written by Jami Tikkanen
Updated over a week ago

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;

who at the best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.“
-Theodore Roosevelt

Competing is difficult and stressful. Yet, you choose to compete. Why? 

photo credit: Dubai CrossFit Championship

What are competitions for?

There is probably an obvious answer that immediately comes to your mind. Maybe it’s winning or showing yourself and others what you are capable of. Maybe it’s challenging yourself or testing if your training has paid off. Maybe it’s to justify all the hard work that you’re putting in (it has to be for something, doesn’t it?). We all have our own reasons to compete.

What I want to offer you today is different perspectives on what competitions are for. These come directly from athletes just like you. Some might feel more familiar to you than others. I encourage you to read through the list and reflect on them all. 

  • Competitions give purpose to my training

  • Competitions give me focus

  • Competitions allow me to test myself and the work I’ve been putting in

  • Competitions allow me to show how hard I’ve worked 

  • Competitions help me build my confidence

  • Competitions are opportunities to learn and practice

  • Competitions give me accountability and keep me on track

  • Competitions give me feedback

  • I love the thrill of competition

  • Competitions allow me to spend time with like-minded people

  • Competitions allow me to face challenges

  • Competitions bring out the best in me

My perspective

How you define success in a competition will determine how you approach it. Before you can decide what success looks like, you need to know what the competition is for. Being able to take different perspectives on competing will help you find meaning and success in competitions, regardless of where you stand relative to the field.

I want to share with you one more alternative way of looking at competitions: 

Each competition is a unique opportunity, created just for you. Everyone from the event organisers to your support team and other competitors have come together to make this moment possible. The other athletes have worked hard for years to get the opportunity to challenge you today. Not tomorrow, not next week, not next month but NOW. 

This is your moment. Now is the time to bring out the very best in you and to rise to the challenge you have been given. Your success will not be determined in your victory or your defeat but in how you show up for them. In the words of legendary John Wooden: 

“Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”

Respect the work that others have put in. Be relentless with your competition. Challenge them to bring out their best with your attitude and your effort. You’re all in this together to see what you are made of.  Make the moment count.

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