I thought being competitive was a strength. It’s actually costing me my closest relationships.

Since my early school days, I’ve always been fiercely competitive. Whether it was racing to be first in line for lunch or striving to top the class in every assignment, I thrived on competition. I carried this trait into adulthood, always seeking to outdo my peers, whether it was in looks, love, or career success. I wanted to be the best, have the best, and be recognized as such.

My competitive streak led me to an enviable job as a writer for Hack Spirit. On paper, it was a dream come true. But with great success came an unanticipated cost – the erosion of some of my closest relationships. Friends, especially those who were fellow writers, began to distance themselves, unable to cope with my constant need to outshine them.

While working at Hack Spirit, I came across Justin Brown’s “Find Your Purpose” masterclass. Brown proposed an intriguing idea – the concept of horizontal relationships. Instead of always trying to climb higher, striving to be better than everyone else (vertical relationships), Brown suggested that we should focus on building connections based on equality and mutual respect (horizontal relationships).

At first glance, this idea seemed counterintuitive. I mean, isn’t life all about climbing the ladder? But then I started thinking about my lost friendships and the isolation my competitive nature had brought me. Could this new approach be the key to regaining balance in my personal relationships without compromising my professional success?

I decided to give it a shot and embarked on a journey of self-development that challenged everything I thought I knew about competition and success. What followed was a profound transformation that not only changed my perception of competition but also reshaped my relationships.

This is the story of how I navigated these changes and the lessons I learned along the way. It’s a tale of self-discovery and growth that continues to shape me into a better person today.

Embracing horizontal relationships

As I delved into Justin Brown’s masterclass, I began to understand the concept of horizontal relationships. It was not about denying my competitive nature, but about changing my perspective. Instead of viewing every interaction as a contest to be won, I learned to see it as an opportunity for mutual growth and support.

I started small, consciously shifting from a competitive to a collaborative mindset during conversations with friends. Instead of trying to one-up their achievements with my own, I made an effort to genuinely celebrate their successes and empathize with their struggles.

The change was challenging, and I stumbled more than once. But with every conversation, every interaction, I felt myself growing more comfortable with this new approach. The notion of being better was slowly replaced by the joy of being equal.

This transformation didn’t happen overnight. It took time, patience, and a lot of unlearning. But gradually I saw the impact on my relationships. They became less strained and more authentic. Friends that had distanced themselves began to re-engage, and our conversations became less about comparing successes and more about sharing experiences.

Through this journey, I have come to understand that competition isn’t inherently bad. The key is how you approach it and how it affects your relationships. In the next section, we’re going delve into a common belief most people hold about competition and success – a belief I once held too – and how my experience has led me to see things differently.

The myth of competition as a sole driver of success

The prevailing belief that many of us hold is that competition is the primary force that drives success. We’re taught from a young age to strive to be the best, to stand out from the crowd, to win. This belief was deeply ingrained in me, fuelling my competitive nature and driving me to constantly push for more.

However, my journey towards embracing horizontal relationships made me question this belief. I began to realize that this constant need to compete, to be the best, was not only damaging my relationships but also my own sense of self-worth. I was tying my worthiness to my ability to outshine others, and that was a recipe for constant dissatisfaction and stress.

Moreover, I discovered that success isn’t solely measured by one’s ability to outperform others. It also lies in building strong, supportive relationships, in fostering mutual growth, and in finding contentment within oneself. I realized that my competitive nature was not a strength when it came at the cost of these crucial aspects of life.

This realization was a turning point for me. It challenged the myth that competition is the sole driver of success and led me to redefine what success truly meant for me.

In the next section, we’ll delve into how I worked on transforming my competitive nature into a more collaborative approach and how this shift has positively impacted my life.

Transforming competitive spirit into collaborative growth

The journey of transforming my competitive nature into a collaborative approach was not easy, but it was absolutely worthwhile. If you’re finding yourself in a similar situation, here’s what worked for me.

Firstly, I had to acknowledge my behavior. I had to accept that my constant need to compete was damaging my relationships and my self-worth. This realization was tough, but it was necessary for change.

Secondly, I practiced mindfulness. I started to pay attention to my interactions with others. I noticed when I was turning a simple conversation into a competition and consciously made an effort to steer away from it. Instead of trying to “win” the conversation, I focused on understanding their perspective and appreciating their achievements.

Finally, I embraced the concept of horizontal relationships. I shifted my focus from being ‘better than’ to being ‘equal with.’ This shift allowed me to build stronger, more genuine relationships based on mutual respect and shared growth.

Remember, transformation takes time and patience. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you stumble along the way. What’s important is that you’re making an effort to change.

In the end, it’s all about finding balance – maintaining your drive for success while ensuring you’re not sacrificing important relationships for it. It’s a journey of self-discovery and growth that can lead to a more fulfilling life.

Embracing a new perspective for a fulfilling life

As I navigated through this transformative journey, I came to understand some crucial aspects about life and personal growth.

Taking responsibility for my competitive behavior, even though I felt it wasn’t entirely my fault, was the first step towards change. It gave me the power to control my actions and the ability to shape my relationships in a healthier way.

I also learned to challenge societal norms and expectations. The idea that competition is the only path to success is deeply ingrained in our society. But by questioning this belief, I was able to redefine success for myself and live life on my own terms.

Here are some key takeaways from my experience:

– Acknowledge your current dissatisfaction or struggles.
– Take responsibility even when it’s not your fault.
– Understand the influence of societal norms and expectations.
– Redefine success based on personal fulfillment, not external validation.
– Embrace practical self-development over societal programming.
– Dedicate time daily to practice self-improvement techniques.

The journey of self-discovery is a continuous one. It’s about growing beyond societal conditioning and embracing who you truly are. It’s about aligning your life with your true nature and finding purpose in your own terms.

During this process, Justin Brown’s video on finding your purpose was incredibly helpful. It offers a unique approach to self-development without relying on gurus or mysticism, focusing instead on practical, actionable steps.

Remember, every step you take towards self-improvement is a step towards a more fulfilling life. Embrace the journey of self-exploration and reshape your reality in line with your true nature.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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