How to deal with competition: Four key strategies

How to deal with competition

Looking over your shoulder is a good thing.

It’s rare to find someone who wants competition, but let’s be honest… we need it! Competition helps us grow, learn and evolve. Whether in life, athletics or the job market, rivals push us to hone our existing skills and develop those we lack. They drive us to look inward, dig deep and rise above challenges or setbacks. Want to be successful? It’s a simple formula. You must learn how to deal with competition in a healthy manner.

I first began to appreciate my challengers as a young gymnast, and I’ve been immersed in intensely competitive pursuits ever since. As a collegiate cheerleader, TV news anchor and now in the blogger/influencer sphere, I’ve had to fight to earn my place and am still working hard to do so. There is always more to learn and plenty of fish in the sea! Competition is a natural part of our professional landscape.

Is it comfortable? Certainly not. But we can use it to our advantage!

how to handle competition

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How to deal with competition: Four strategies 

1. Study your competition, but start inward

You can learn a lot by watching what others in your market (or sport) are doing, just don’t become overly preoccupied by their strategies and progress. Your personal development will be unique.

Glean a few ideas from your competitors, then get working on YOU!

For example, whenever I have searched for a new TV gig, I would scour the internet for publicly posted demo reels. I wanted to see what other news anchors—who might be gunning for the same type of position—had to show. Their materials gave me an indication of industry expectations and helped me consider ways I could adapt my own work to look more polished. I didn’t want to copy others; I wanted them to inspire my creativity.

dealing with competitionhow to be a good competitor

2. Find a “friendly” rival

Is there someone within your organization, team or industry you greatly admire? Do you find yourself trying to measure up to that person? Are they chasing a similar dream? Go ahead and buddy up!

By embracing a rival as a close friend, you will gain both competition and camaraderie.

No one will understand the challenges you face quite like someone who is walking the same path. Look at some of the world’s most successful athletes and you will almost always find a friendly rival. Take gymnasts Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin, swimmers Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, and from 1976 Nadia Comaneci and Teodora Ungureanu. (Yeah, I’m a bit of gymnastics nerd!) These duos managed to balance fierce competition with friendship and support. They pushed each other as teammates and wound up working harder and aiming higher.

3. Have a sense of humor

The best competitors I know are also easy-going and jovial on their off hours. Sure… They are laser-focused, intense and driven when necessary, but can turn it off quickly. They don’t take themselves seriously 100 percent of the time. Great competitors learn from their mistakes, but laugh at them too. That sense of duality gives them stamina.

Too much intensity can lead to burn out and will kill your competitive fire. Make sure to have a bit of fun along the way.

The ultimate guide to dealing with competition

4. Put in the work

Natural talent might win out in early competition, but work-ethic and preparation will always triumph in the end.  Whether you are looking to increase your company’s market share, competing for a promotion, trying to make a team, or hoping to stand out in a vast sea of job applicants, there are no short cuts to success. Instead, study those who’ve achieved your dreams and how they got there.

What specific actionable steps can you take to propel yourself toward your goal?

When I decided to pursue a career in TV news, I used this tactic to build myself a road map. I listed the skills I would need and what I could do to develop them. For instance, writing ability would be crucial to my success. So,  I read every book I could find on news writing. I went to training sessions, conferences and intently watched industry leaders. My natural voice was too high pitched for TV, so I worked with a voice coach to improve the sound. I wanted to “get the scoop” and have something compelling to pitch in our editorial meetings, so I spent time researching story ideas on my days off. In short, if I wanted to get ahead, I knew it was up to me.

How to YOU deal with competition? I’d love to hear your strategy in the comments below!

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  1. Carmen | 25th Sep 18

    You are your own best competition. If you continue to be a better version of yourself then you will be your best competition.

  2. GiGi | 26th Sep 18

    To me, there is no competition at all. I think everyone is so uniquely different that competition is silly because you can’t even begin to compare anyone to anyone else!

  3. Monidipa | 26th Sep 18

    You look absolutely beautiful. However I only compete with myself. According to me I don’t have any competition. If you concerned about becoming your best your competitors will lose automatically.

  4. Sarah | 26th Sep 18

    You have shared great tips. I think a bit of competition can be healthy.

  5. Maartje | 26th Sep 18

    This is great advice! I agree that you need to get to know your competition and then just put in the work. Do your best. 🙂

  6. Megan | 26th Sep 18

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I also have to say, you look AWESOME. Ready to take on the world!

  7. Danielle | 26th Sep 18

    I think competition can drive us to be better at what we do! I like your tips though on how to handle it.

  8. Rachel Bli | 26th Sep 18

    I think competition is one of those things that you have to struggle with throughout your life and we each find our own way to deal with it. Some choose to ignore it while others choose to take it face on.

  9. The Tale of Mummyhood | 26th Sep 18

    This is a very empowering read. It’s so true that you ave to put the hours in!

  10. Britney | 26th Sep 18

    I love these tips! I definitely agree with having a sense of humor!

  11. Evelyn | 27th Sep 18

    Great advise on how to deal with competition, having a sense of humor is essential.

  12. Emily Fata | 27th Sep 18

    I agree that studying your competition is the best way to redefine what you need to do yourself, and begin that internal work to better your own business!

  13. HilLesha | 27th Sep 18

    I have never been competitive. However, I do agree that having a sense of humor is a must! 🙂

  14. Catherine Santiago Jose | 27th Sep 18

    Such a great post and you are giving us great tips for dealing with competition. Thank you for sharing this with us I really appreciate it.

  15. Geraline Batarra | 27th Sep 18

    This is such a beautiful read and such a great tips in dealing with competition and for me, sense of humor is the best part of it.

    • laveremis | 30th Sep 18

      If we can’t laugh at ourselves, life would be very boring! 🙂

  16. Preet | 27th Sep 18

    I never tried joining a competition but this would be a tip if ever I decide to join. This could be very useful for my future competition.

  17. Trina | 27th Sep 18

    What an interesting and insightful post! I really enjoyed your perspective and look forward to reading more from you in the future!

  18. Jen | 29th Sep 18

    Great tips. I think we all need a bit of healthy competition to push ourselves.

    • laveremis | 30th Sep 18

      Thanks Jen! I so agree. Healthy competition is a huge motivator in my opinion!

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