Christmas Brain – take 2

Welcome to the second of my Christmas reflection trio. Take 1 is here if you missed it. Today’s one is about the choice we have about how we see our competition.

Rivals – For Better or For Worse

“Nothing is ever done beautifully which is done in rivalship.” – John Ruskin

My kids are major rivals. In fact, to my son, pretty much everyone is a rival. His life is one big competition. And if he’s not winning, it’s not worth playing. A strong Achievement Drive it would be fair to say!  And it makes for short family game playing experiences if it’s not going his way.  But lucky him, he has me as his mum, and I’ve been telling him about the work of Timothy Gallwey.


In the Inner Game of Tennis, Gallwey talks about seeing your better opponent as the opportunity of your life to learn and improve, seeing them as a brilliant challenge to be better.  it changes your perspective on not needing to be the winner all the time and brings in that idea of spotting the good instead of the bad from last week’s post.  Spot the opportunity to learn rather than seeing it as a humiliating defeat.  I also think there’s a bit of our primitive brain in here too. A bit of alpha male behaviour – ‘I need to show my dominance, my supremacy, because if I don’t someone else might, then they’ll get all the girls, and reproduce the most – and I want my genes in the future generations of the species.’

This basic instinct plays out everywhere, everyday, with people wanting to show they’re the best.  Even if that sometimes means they’re the best at moaning.  The best at being a ‘difficult’ employee.  As well as, pure and simple, the best at what they do.

So rivalry can be great. It means we have the chance to strive for more and for better.
But how do you see your rivals?

Do you feel [fed up / frustrated / dejected / jealous / determined to take them out] because you don’t feel you’re as ‘good’ as them?

Or do you see them as the best learning opportunity of your life? The best source of insight for what you can do to be even better?

What would change for you if this last part was true?

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I believe in people being the key to success and that success is unlocked by great bosses.  I’m an Executive Coach for SME leaders to help create success for you, for your team, for your business.

If you believe in this stuff too, get in touch for a chat and let’s see what we could do together – 07718 316 616 or
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