I wish you a worthy competitor

August 23, 2012

By Bob Johnson, NAID CEO

In today’s blog I am going to offer a perspective on competition that is often overlooked: the good side of competition.

Have you ever noticed at the end of a boxing match, especially where the two boxers really go at it, the boxers embrace and congratulate each other, win or lose? It is remarkable when you think about the trash talk before the match and how they stare each other down just before the bell. And, it is even more remarkable when you think that just minutes before they were trying to beat each other into unconsciousness.

I have come to believe that at the end of a long boxing match, where each guy gave his all after giving and taking a beating, there may be no two people on earth with more mutual respect for each other. They know what it took to get there. They know how much heart it took to stay in the fight. Of all the people in the arena, there is no one – not the trainer, not the announcers, and certainly not the audience – with whom they can relate more than their competitor.

There is another thing that brings them close too. Each boxer achieved his or her level of proficiency specifically to meet and hopefully overtake the threat of the other. In a very direct way, the competitor was the reason, his or her motivation, for pushing him or herself. If a professional boxer were to get in the ring with me, I promise he or she would not have felt the need to push himself in training.

This may sound strange but it is my wish for NAID members to have worthy opponents to motivate them to do and be their best. And, in kind, I would like their competitors to know they are dealing with a serious contender; a contender that has trained hard, will not quit, and understands the game.

In business as in sports, competition is the impetus for achieving excellence. It pushes leaders and companies to be better without which they would have certainly achieved less.

So, the next time you take one on the chin courtesy of a competitor, dust yourself off and remember it is simply the world’s way of pushing you to work harder and smarter. And, whatever degree of excellence you achieve, you owe it to the fact that you had a worthy competitor.