I like to compete. I enjoy the concept of winning and losing, measuring performance and knowing when I have succeeded and when I have failed. Lately, I've been thinking about business as compared to golf. Golfers compete against each other in score only. Nothing about the performance represents direct physical competition, only the outcome. Golfers really play against the course. They play against heavy rough, fast greens, sand traps, tough hole placements and sometimes difficult weather conditions. There's no one firing fastballs, trying to intercept the pass, or block the shot, but it's a hard game nonetheless. Golfers can't control the competition. All they can control is their own score. If someone goes out and shoots a course record, there's nothing they can do about it.
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. When we are competing for business, sometimes we pitch business directly against one more of our competitors. I guess that's the golf equivalent of a skins match. However, the typical tasks that we complete in a given day have nothing to do with our competition and even in a pitch situation, it's not like we are in the same presentation room trying to out-do each other.
In business, I play the course. I can control how I go about my day, how I service my clients, and how I allocate my time. I can't control what other brokers are doing. Too many of my colleagues and competitors seem concerned with what the other guy is doing. By focusing only on what I can control, I have the freedom of thought to perform at a peak level.
Just because it works for me, doesn't make it the right answer. Some play the competition because it drives to achieve more. Are you playing the course or playing the competition? Are you aware of what drives your peak performance? If not, take a look. It might help.