What's Your Theme for 2010?
5 Ways to Set Your GPS for Success

3 Ways to Be a Healthy Competitor in Your Career

Trivial Pursuit, Guesstures, Taboo, Texas Hold 'Em, Pictionary.  You name them, my family and friends have played them.  Our past family gatherings have included competitions between the girls and guys, between the age groups, between the siblings, etc.  And, it gets competitive, sometimes insanely so!  Some of us are more competitive than others, and after knowing each other all or most of our lives, we know those competitive buttons to push and those to stay a mile away from.  Does any of this sound familiar?Finish line

It got me thinking about competition in other areas of our lives, when it shows up and when we go looking for it.  When is it healthy and positive and when is it not?  When is it limiting and when does it help us soar?

I believe in our careers and work environments the healthiest way to address competition is to research and learn about our primary competition and then engage them in an authentic, transparent way.  

Here are three ways to do so:

  • Keyword online search - determine the keywords that encompass your specialty and then search for those who do what you do.  Then engage them by following them on social networks, ie, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.  Engaging them means corresponding with them, networking with them, and helping them. Yes, helping them.
  • LinkedIn Groups and Q&A - by joining affinity and professional groups on Linkedin.com (there are hundreds) you not only learn about potential competitors, but engaging with them by adding pertinent comments and answering questions in the site Q&A section also positions you as an expert in your field.  Pretty soon they'll be engaging you!
  • Join networking groups - reach out in person by attending professional association networking events.  If you don't find one in your area, start one of your own.  You'll be pleasantly surprised with the number of like-minded individuals out there who are looking for what you have to offer. 

Remember, knowledge is power. 

The authentic mileage attained with this kind of engagement is exponential and gratifying.  And, the upside of this method is that your focus remains on your efforts rather than on what someone else is doing that you're not.  The key to thriving above and alongside the competition is to understand what is right for you and to concentrate on what is working... for you. 

"If you're too busy worrying about the competition, you don't focus enough on what you're doing."
~ Katie Couric