The picture is of myself and CK, our CFO, as we were kicking off planning for a new CRM for Young Life. As we were pushed with great speed toward the table – first one to bang the cooking pot won. As you can see… it was close.
I find that competition is good. It’s like the story of the automobile factory back in the day. The night shift put a big chalk # of how many cars they completed on their shift. The next day they came in and it was crossed off with a new # written. It was more! This went on, and on, and on. I am sure that management was loving this competition.
As Charlie and I played 9 holes of golf last week, we compete. It keeps both of our attention. I give him 2 strokes per hole – and over the round it levels the playing field. (And yes, he won the 9-hole competition 5-4.) Competition keeps our attention. It just does.
We want to see what happens in the moment. We want to win the prize. We want to be the best for a moment. We want to win for bragging rights. I am sure I am leaving out many reasons that competition is good. Did you ever see the movie “Parental Guidance.” There is a scene at a little league baseball game where they don’t call kids out. Michael Keaton goes crazy as it is against what we want to teach our kids. We cannot give every kid a blue ribbon for their entire life! See the movie… his point is well spoken for a comedy.
Trust me, I can give you some of the negative press on competition, just not today. Rather, how can you use the good of competition with your teams, with your kids, with your clients? Could you in your personal or professional way be crossing off the chalk # and writing a new one that is greater? Could a fun competition mid-work day be a great stress-reliever?
Final story… years ago I brought a rough crew to Young Life camp in the summer. These kids kept the smoker’s pit full ALL week. All of the kids that I brought were ex-athletes. They played sports as little kids, and some of them were good, but now they were in high school and sports was a great distance from being important. As we rolled into camp, these kids looked starkly different than the other high schoolers from across the country.
Young Life Camp often has competition. It’s nothing big, and yet, for some kids it can be. I will never forget how into it these kids got that week – specifically the 15 guys in my cabin. They wanted to win, and win badly. All I can say is this: They won. The dining room was packed when the program directors named the winning team. There was more going on in the physical world or the spiritual world that these kids won. As they went up front to get some 20 year-old bowling trophy from a thrift shop… I could see that God was smiling on this particular competition. It was good. It was good for the heart.