And I mean that. Really.
I’m pretty sure we all recognize that competition breeds excellence. You’ve got to keep getting better all the time to stay ahead of the other guy. So is there an ugly side to competition? Sure. It’s a jungle out here.
Big fish eat little fish. If there are going to be winners, there have to be losers. Welcome to the real world.
If that seems bleak, remember what Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”
Courage like that isn’t always as dramatic as a homo sapiens squaring off against a Tyrannosaur. Sometimes it’s as simple as taking little annoyances in stride – like the buzzing of a gnat that won’t leave you alone.
Example: We were booked to keynote a conference recently. But one of our competitors – one that has a strong presence in the city in question – apparently twisted the arms of the local planned giving council and succeeded in getting them to cancel our keynote presentation after it was a done deal.
First time that’s ever happened? No. Annoying? Sure. Unethical? Perhaps. Fatal? Of course not.
We simply lost that gig. But the important thing, when you lose, is not to lose the lesson you can learn from the experience.
Because another definition of winning is walking away with deeper understanding – and putting that understanding to use in the next competitive encounter.
That’s how smarter companies, whether they “win” or “lose,” just keep getting stronger.