Are you Afraid of Competition?

Photo cred: Stuart Barr
Photo cred: Stuart Barr

You may not know it, but I am a very competitive person…always have been. Between my parents always pushing me to be better, and playing every sport I could, the competitive spirit became instilled in me.

Competition is a good thing as long as you keep it within reason and you keep it respectful.

Many place a lot of focus on collaboration. Consistently help others and it will pay off in the long run.

This positive mentality is a great one but are we afraid to challenge each other? Afraid to challenge ourselves?

When someone launches a new product, do you just say “wow what a great job!” or do you think about how it could be done better? While the former will make the person feel better, the latter will contribute to the growth of the the idea.

Of course, like everything else, you have to find that middle ground. You don’t want to be overly competitive and you don’t want to put too much focus on collaboration.

You can collaborate, communicate and be respectful while being competitive.

I think we all have the competitive aspect in us. Some just refuse to admit it. When you see someone accomplish goals that are similar to goals you’ve set for yourself, you probably get a little jealous. You probably want to enjoy the same accomplishments. You probably feel competitive.

Embrace your competitive side. Competition provides motivation. It pushes you to become better. It pushes others to become better.

…and if someone gives you a hard time for being respectfully competitive, they don’t want you to succeed.

Don’t Pass the Torch, Just Share the Light

Photo cred: Mark "the trial"
Photo cred: Mark "the trial"

I really appreciated and related to Patrick Evans‘ latest blog post on his mentor program titled Why You Should Be a Mentor.

He writes, “I hear so many generational experts and business professionals criticize millennials. We don’t work as hard as Gen X folks, we expect things that past generations didn’t and overall, we could be the opposite of the greatest generation. We need your help! He goes on to provide 5 reasons why professionals should consider acting as a mentor for our generation.

I’ve seen many Millenials / Gen Y bloggers that are proud and confident in their belief that they will succeed.  I have also seen seasoned professionals respond by describing the overconfidence and inevitable disappointment of our generation. A good example of this is Teresa Wu’s guest post on Chris Brogans blog and her follow up response on her own blog.

I really enjoyed Teresa’s post and felt that her intentions, to shed some light on the mindset and views of the future Gen Y professionals, was accurate and useful.  The discussions afterward, ehhh not so much.  Whether either viewpoint is right or wrong, I feel is irrelevant and I am always disappointed to find such unproductive discussions taking place.

The important thing is that we all have something to contribute to the community as Patrick described very well.  Seasoned experts and professionals have learned a great deal from their experiences.  They understand what works and what doesn’t. They have been put in real situations that have required them to use critical thinking and problem solving to perform their jobs efficiently given unfamiliar situations.  With such talents, they can truly be great mentors to younger generations who strive to find the same experience and hopefully, success.

In a time of great change, especially in terms of technology and communications, the millenials have a great deal to contribute in return.  While the great amount of experience that many seasoned professionals have developed provides them with knowledge and understanding in their field, it also instills in them a sense of routine to the traditional methods of practice. Of course, these professionals are still very capable of innovation and creativity but they must also acknowledge and incorporate the millenials’ young, FRESH set of eyes and ideas on an evolving industry.  Technologically savvy, communicating on the internet as early as elementary school, they are able and willing to contribute to the future of what the experienced professionals have worked so hard to build.

Instead of arguing about which generation is better, and why the millennial mindset is unreasonable, we should all be working together.  Through collaboration we will find true growth and success as a community, young and old.

If you’d like to mentor a young PR pro, send Patrick an e-mail at patrickevans@gmx.com. He is setting up an e-mail mentoring program to connect young pros with seasoned public relations and social media professionals.

Edit: There’s a very lengthy but good example of the view of Millenials on the WSJ here.

-David Spinks

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