If you’ve ever played “street-ball” and encountered an opponent who plays dirty, that could be an invitation for you to play dirty in return. So when the game gets dirty, you’re not supposed to whine, complain, or argue about the rules – you just accept it for what it is and stay competitive until someone wins. Whoever wins the game, wins respect! Simple as that! The team who loss can’t argue about the outcome if you decided to “reciprocate their style of play” because they decided to set the precedence and tone of the game. Consequently, “remember that your competitive approach may change the future rules of the game based on your confidence and courage!”
Therefore, in life, we have to ask ourselves, what type of games are we willing to play in order to achieve our personal or professional goals? Sometimes I ask myself as a woman and mother, why do I have to compete so much for what I desire or wish to see in the world? However, I continue to compete! Further, I ask why are there so many “organized obstacles” in life that are designed to keep us “all” from excelling! Even when we are trying to focus on our life’s purpose, there are some people whose life’s purpose is to create barriers for us! Even though we experience many challenges in life, we cannot forget what our former First Lady, Michele Obama, told us: “When they go low, we go high!”
Every day of our lives, we have options to go low or to go high; perhaps we may choose both options as we learn more about this competitive game of life. Despite life’s highs and lows, we must continue to have a winning spirit, be mentally tough and strategic about our lives – never being conquered by our circumstances or those who choose to compete against us. Believe it or not, we truly have the option to change the game and remain true to ourselves or allow the game to change us in terms of how we relate to one another. It depends on how you choose to grow!
Furthermore, I’ve learned in the political game or in the corporate competition, that it’s not always about what you know, it’s who you know; it’s not always about what you do, it’s about – for whom you’ve given a favor to. In spite of that, I hope this “game of life” will soon make a shift with people making more meaningful efforts to see the value in everyone – no matter who you know in a powerful position, what you’ve achieved or did not achieve, and finally what favor you’ve given someone “in order to receive respect or a chance for equal acknowledgement or opportunities”!
Now, of course, due to this often “rigged” system of success, you can not win by yourself so there are some collaborative concepts you must master with your team or even your “so-called” opponents. In retrospect, I’ve learned while competing in sports, to become a championship team, it’s helpful to be on the same accord regarding your core values which give you a unified bond. Additionally, your spirits have to be synchronized, your mindsets’ have to be aligned as if you all were telepathic, and the roles you play must be very clear in order to win! When I speak of winning, I’m not necessarily talking about beating your competition, but learning how to build up your team so each individual will step up their game including your opponents. Thus, intentionally giving your teammates and supporters credit for their efforts and allowing them to score in ways they’ve never imagined due to your leadership is authentic legacy building!
“I truly believe everyone should feel like they are winning when they are on your team or feel inspired just having the chance to compete with you!”
Now, not everyone is going to have your talent, strength, or your mentality so “having faith” is the core of a successful competition. Even when you believe some of your teammates may not be capable of helping the team win or able to perform on a higher level, it is your duty to believe in them and encourage them because when the game is on the line, “it may be only up to that person to lead the team to the final winning play or to win the final game based on your positive influence“. Actually, I know from experience that when you show others that you have faith in their performance, it has the potential to encourage them to make some bold moves in life! So my question for you is, “are you going to watch your teammates struggle or seek competitive ways for them to feel motivated to win?” Another question you can ask yourself is, “Did I do my best to help my teammates in a positive and uplifting way that did not serve my self-interest, but the interest of the team?” – whether your team is family-oriented, community-driven, or simply a professional collaboration. On the other hand, it’s inevitable for your teammates’ goals to change and they may choose to go in another direction, but the mere fact that as a leader you were able to assist them with a strong foundation in which they feel comfortable enough to become independent in their own life pursuits, is a great example of your “legacy’s work”.
Additionally, I remember growing up as a student-athlete, observing that if you were considered smart or athletic, worked hard, and played by a set of rules – you could possibly have a piece of success or feel like a winner through your achievements! Over time, it seemed that more opportunities were available to those who met the academic or athletic standards that our communities believed to be worth the investment, leaving some groups of talented people out of the competition. So those who were left out, either chose to live a life of defeat or had to create their own opportunities. Some chose to compete legally or illegally – maybe choosing to be on “special-interest” teams even if it compromised their personal morals and values – just wanting to be accepted as an achiever.
Hence, we often spend our entire lives trying to figure out what’s our true life’s purpose and what team we desire to be on. Then, we associate with different groups of people and organizations, seek many educational or employment opportunities, exploring various religious or belief systems, and it seems like we keep walking in circles. Afterward, returning to the core of what we simply want out of life – love, peace, respect, compassion, safety, fairness, and positive or authentic relationships! Contrary to those wonderful feelings we desire from life experiences, it’s necessary to experience dark moments alone or the dark side of life to determine where we truly want to be and who we will allow in our circle of influence. During those dark times, we are often disappointed in people who we thought were supposed to be loyal to us including family and friends. Therefore, it can truly be a tug of war both on your soul and spirit regarding relationships or future partnerships. Sometimes, experiencing certain challenges in life makes you want to go into isolation in order to determine who you will choose to team up with or who you will love from a distance.
“Honestly, watching some of these “game plays of life” from the sidelines, just makes you want to be a “free agent”, free from the drama, power struggles, competitiveness, judgment, prejudice, and hate.”
However, “we can not go through life avoiding interactions with all people” as we pursue some form of leadership – even if we do not agree with some people’s personality, belief systems, or their decisions. Thus, we must respect each others’ game and what it is here to teach us about cooperating and collaborating with one another. So we must assess ourselves when we are leading people and ask the following questions:
- Is my competitiveness making others feel powerless or empowered?
- Is my competitiveness making people become more productive or unguided?
- Is my competitiveness making others feel not involved in or a part of the team’s progress?
- Is my competitiveness making people feel I “honestly” support their success or is my competitiveness taking credit for their hard work – blocking or sabotaging their successes?
- Is my competitiveness driven by humility – allowing people to see my imperfections as I strive for excellence or is my competitiveness humiliating others due to my insecurities or incompetencies?
- Finally, is my competitiveness helping to create a more consciously collaborative world?
With all that have been said, I recommend everyone to “compete with purpose” and not just have a purpose to compete. There’s a big difference. Notably, if there is a unifying purpose behind your competitiveness, you will never lose and you will win with wisdom if you are open to learn from others and willing to develop! I’m sure we can all agree that at a certain point in our lives, as a competitor, we’ve gotten tired of playing the same games, receiving the same outcomes. Consequently, we find enough courage to integrate our true authentic selves with our leadership which includes our street sense, book sense, common sense, and spiritual sense – to not just play the game, but change the game for good – the good for all of humanity!
So from this moment envision the areas of your life you are going to work on and team up with others who will help you achieve! Please note, it may not be a family member or a friend that will get you to the finish line. More importantly, there is a lot of work you need to accomplish by yourself through planning and discipline! Then, while you are on your grind achieving one goal at a time, you will begin to attract people into your life that can meet you where you are and align you closer to your purpose! Sounds encouraging, right?
Therefore, I pray that all who are reading this message are inspired and feel empowered to make the progressive changes that are necessary to live a healthier and more fulfilling life! Please take care of yourselves, and continue to be a blessing to others through your prayers, thoughts, and actions! Don’t forget to seek some quiet time each day to process your thoughts and emotions in order to be productive and not counterproductive with the distractions around us. Last, but not least, I am holding you accountable to make a list of short-term and long-term goals while answering the question each week: “What am I going to do in order to change the game in my personal and professional life so I can feel liberated and at peace while helping others feel motivated to achieve their goals?!”
The author of this blog, Marian Serena Moore, is a former teacher/ F.B.L.A advisor and civil rights activist in education and employment. If you are interested in teaming up with her to achieve your personal or professional goals, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.