As is often the way with my blogging, my title is the blog post.
Maybe it’s because I never really got into competitive sports, or a competitive career. At school, I played sports, but never cared if I won. But at school, sport wasn’t anything other than a lesson to do with no real emphasis on being good or not. For work, I never really cared about sales targets when I worked at Blockbuster Video. We’d be incentivised to upsell, and I just never really cared so never got the subsequent payouts.
As I started to learn more about myself, I learned that I do enjoy being active and keeping myself physically and mentally active. Although not academically strong, I enjoyed knowing how to make things better. I got into psychology because I wanted to understand people better so I could be more helpful and supportive.
Over the years, I always tended more towards collaborative efforts in different ways. I am always better with others than I am by myself. As I learned that facilitation was my gold-dust, that’s where I grew myself in a lot of ways.
And over time, as I took on work roles with budgetary responsibility, and with strategic responsibility, I recognised I had authority and autonomy to do things differently.
I realised, in a lot of ways I did not agree with capitalism as given. Dog eat dog of the 80s and 90s. Command and control leadership and management. Do or die for business and professional success. Look out for number one. None of it sat right with me.
Around the same time, circa 2009/2010 after the credit crunch, I started to come into social media more. I was reading about people doing things in fundamentally different ways. Not just people, but companies. Zappos. Buffer. YouTube. I was hearing from people studying the stuff we’ve been hypothesising about for decades. Actual thought leaders. My learning curve – and my thinking ability – started to really crank through stuff. I could articulate things I didn’t know I wanted to articulate. I could express things and talk about concepts with others.
So I started, too. To do things differently that is. At work in particular. I would purposefully find ways to bring people together. In a corporate world where that’s not the norm, it caused many conversations I didn’t expect to have. People were threatened by me facilitating a workshop with senior leaders. People got angry because I didn’t do the politics I needed to pay attention to. I would get feedback regularly about my approach, and I never understood why I was causing issues (I did understand cause I’m not dense).
But still I persisted, and still I persist to this day. Being a competitive adult doesn’t sit right with me. If I want business to better, I have to stand up for what that is. If I want society to be better, I have to show what that can be.
I believe that competition positions life in unhelpful ways. In most of the things we need to do, we don’t need to compete for resources, or to beat others to get ahead. Work isn’t about winners and losers.
I believe there is enough work and enough money that we can be paid equitably and fairly with everyone coming out on the right side of right. I believe that collaboration is how solutions are at their best. I believe inclusion is key in enabling people to be their best.