Last week was the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. Not only was it a time for expressions of gratitude, family gatherings and feasts of harvest foods, for some, it is a time for American football.
Whatever your view of football, we were surprised when our local football team’s coach, Pete Carroll, appeared on the cover of Mindful magazine. In the article, the Seahawk’s coach spoke to a more profound meaning of the word “competition” than we normally think.
The article, written by Hugh Delehanty, focuses on Carroll’s coaching philosophy, which is based “on his unique view of competition.” And it has reframed our interpretation of the word competition, which we often have viewed as a basis for the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™.
Look up “competition” in any dictionary and the primary definitions have to do with opposition, beating, rivalry and winning. If you review the actual history of the word “compete,” it comes from the Latin, competere, which means to “strive in common.”
Says Carroll, “We’re competing… to be our best… I want everyone to be directed to being at our best no matter who we are playing.” Coach Carroll’s focus is not on beating others, rather it is on challenging each player to be his best.
The insight we had is not about the game of football, but rather the nature of competition and what it means to be a Creator and a Co-Creator with others. It also holds powerful implications for how we work, live and play together.
Competition in our culture is usually focused on beating others – and it can take many forms well beyond sports. David has experienced it firsthand in his years inside organizations where individuals compete with others for accolades and promotions, while also competing in the marketplace. Earlier in her career, Donna competed in the field of elected politics, where competition to win the next election can be fierce and vitriolic. We are sure you have your own experiences of competition at work, at home and in your community.
Coach Carroll also referred to the Native American tradition of the “long body” to build upon his notion of competition. The article continues: “When members of a tribe or a team are strongly connected to each other, they function as if they were a single body. Carroll creates the conditions for his team to find that level of connection to each other.”
In addition to seeing this new view of competition, the literal definition of “striving in common” is at the heart of being Co-Creators. When you focus on how you can be your best, rather than win or defeat others, and work in connection with others, you will grow deeper into the Creator role.
So, be a competitor! Be a Co-Creator striving in common with others to be the best you can be.