Whether you like it or not, you’re always competing—with a rival, an unseen opponent, multiple parties, or yourself. However, it isn’t always a contest for a prize or a definitive position of supremacy. When I joined the Navy in ’99, I discovered that if you weren’t from a major city, you were associated with the closest relatable metropolitan area. I’ve never lived (nor do I intend to live) in San Francisco. I’ve lived in Oakland, and further inland, but never in SF. Outside of California, especially at basic training in Illinois and back east in South Carolina, a Full Metal Jacket type dialogue would begin once San Francisco was brought up.
“Where you from, boy?”
“Antioch, CA, petty officer.”
“About 45 minutes inland of San Francisco.”
“Saaaaan Fraaaancisco?!?! You a queer?”
“No, petty officer, no I am not.”
“Well if you’re from San Francisco, you must be queer.”
[downward spiral from which there is no saving grace…]
Now how is it that this city by the bay has risen head and (fabulous) shoulders above so many others? Is it that they have the highest population of homosexuals per capita? They’re the most gay-friendly city in America?
How about, they’re just the loudest in San Francisco.
Having been to SF Pride myself, I’ve seen firsthand how crazy (aka awesome) the gay community gets. Searching around the (highly credible) internet, other cities in different parts of the United States are crowned as more gay-friendly/gayer/whatever you want to call it.
Surprise! The perception by the people is different from the results of empirical research.
Shifting gears, say there are two job seekers…wait for it…competing, unbeknownst to each other, for the same position. One is M.B.A.-holding alum from Villanova, the other with a B.A. in Dance from [insert obscure state university name here]. The dance major has a professional-looking resume, self-maintained website, business cards, and interviews magnificently. The Nova grad is booksmart, but soft-spoken, timid, and easily startled.
Say both of them submit applications and both are accepted for interviews. The Master’s holder is probably a higher candidate at this point, looking stronger on paper. Post-interview, including follow-up correspondence by the dance major, the dancer gets the job.
If you’re competing with someone who you may be better than, but they’re louder about it (in a positive manner), you can’t fault them for getting a little more love than you.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about teamwork, collaboration, and helping hands, but if I don’t look out for myself, or any organization that I’m a part of, then why should anyone else? Just like when I moved back to California against the wishes of 99.9% of my peers/friends in Virginia Beach, I had to do what I felt was better for myself. Me. #1.
Do what you got to do.
This applies in personal growth, social standing, and professional recognition. (Although, this next part should be a bit of “this goes without saying,” but we all know how common “common sense” is…) Everything in moderation, my friends. Today’s blog, by no means, is my condoning of ruthless warfare on your journey to the top. I don’t promote using people for stepping stones in a bridge-burning manner, but if someone helps you up and doesn’t want to climb up after you, you aren’t obligated to drag them along.
No one gave me instructions on how to live, and if you’re still looking for your manual, stop wasting your time…THEY DON’T EXIST.
If some competitor, company, person, colleague, or whatever is doing something positive that you find yourself raising an eyebrow at, that’s probably because they thought of it before you did.
In case you missed it the first time…
Do what you got to do.
There are three words that are more motivating and real than any advice a Tootsie Pop licking owl can tell you. Call it hickish, hillbilly, redneck, or country bumpkin flavored, but it’s really this simple:
Git er done.