How Do You Handle Competition?

Posted on : 14-05-2007 | By : Lynn | In : Uncategorized


I have thrown my hat into the ring for the National Public Radio Talent Quest (you can hear me at and please vote) and I am suffering from huge “esprit d’escalier” because there are so many other two minute sound bytes that I could have submitted that would have better illustrated my ability to be “host-y”.  It’s almost as if I set myself up to fail so that I could be in charge of losing and have a good excuse; however I think  the main reason was that I absolutely do not know how to handle competition well. Either I want to win or I want to run away (insert Monty Python movie prose here).   The truth is I don’t really know how to lose well.

In a recent interview by Eileen Flynn (Austin American-Statesman) Anne Lamont says how I feel the best:

“Jealousy has always been my cross,” she writes, “the weakness and woundedness in me that has most often caused me to feel ugly and unlovable, like the Bad Seed. I’ve had many years of recovery and therapy, years filled with intimate and devoted friendships, yet I still struggle. I know that when someone gets a big slice of pie, it doesn’t mean there’s less for me. In fact I know that there isn’t even a pie, that there’s plenty to go around, enough food and love and air.

“But I don’t believe it for a second.

“I secretly believe there’s a pie. I will go to my grave brandishing a fork.”

On the one hand I’m known as a voracious competitor who loves to win at games. This weekend my husband and I played Shanghai Rummy with some friends of ours and my husband said, “you know why Lynn loves this game don’t you?…..Because she won last time!”   And on the other hand, I love situations where we can all win together by realizing our own special unique talent that we can bring to the situation at hand to make it better for all.  I loved when our company would “win” a slot as a selected vendor after weeks and weeks of responding to an especially tedious proposal.  Everyone had their hand in this pie and everyone was crucial to helping the team to win.  I was more than happy to bow to the talents of the person who could take the entire proposal, tear through it and then tell us all what was needed so that we could figure out what piece we wanted to grab.

The last count for submittals for the Public Radio Talent Quest was over 1,000 and there are some really, really, really good entries.  I guess if nothing else comes from this process for me than to get in touch with the Gollum-dark-side of my heart, than that would be enough but I think I’m also soothed by the fact that there are so many intelligent, funny and talented people out there who love to do what I love to do. 

May the force be with us all!

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Comments (1)

Thank you so much for bringing the “elephant” into the conversation. I am relieved that you started this blog on the obvious: Competition and what it does to the artist.

Competing is not what I do best, either. In fact, I hate it. I was one of those kids in a classroom, when test-taking came around, others would peek over my shoulder at the answers.
People I’ve worked close-by, or in near proximity, in the creative vein, have said: “I am going to follow you and copy you”. It’s a form of thieving, undermining and worse, shows no creative incentive. That’s the part that is so destructive~ to themselves ! Where is their voice? Give us all space and don’t cluster around my desk while I’m working. And that is what I hate about competing.

The nice thing about competing, is that it will breed focus in you. Start you on a personal process of sorting.

My hope is that I can be kind to myself. Thanks to the others for being as kind and honest as you have been.

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