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For Your "Competing" Kid, Life Is a Game Worth Winning

For Your "Competing" Kid, Life Is a Game Worth Winning

Webcast Details

  • Gallup StrengthsExplorer Webcast Series
  • Season 1, Episode 4
  • To spot a child especially talented in Competing, look for true delight in winning. Learn how to affirm and challenge these kids.

For children exceptionally talented in the StrengthsExplorer theme of Competing, life is a game. They feel great joy when they win and profound sadness when they lose. They're always striving for first place. A hugely motivational theme, this talent describes children who are awakened by the desire to win. It leads them to tackle challenges others may shy away from. It inspires them and can even influence and inspire others.

Behaviors that may indicate the Competing talent tend to localize around an awareness of performance and a drive to improve. You'll likely notice your Competing child is paying attention to what others are doing and how they're doing it. They may try to imitate successful behavior of others, ultimately to outperform them. This could be something as simple as racing someone to a destination or something more complex, like memorizing and using more, newer and better vocabulary words than their peers.

To spot Competing, look for true delight in winning. Winning is wonderful. Winning has beauty. Notice their confidence when they're outperforming and shining -- they have a fire in their eyes when they're winning, a noticeable energy and drive to the finish.

If you're familiar with CliftonStrengths, you're probably hearing this and thinking, "Wait … are these really any different from the adult themes?" And this is one of two or three that are incredibly similar to specific CliftonStrengths themes.

Don't try to hide it -- Competing and Competition are nearly identical. It doesn't mean, though, that if you're a kid with Competing you will become an adult with Competition. But it does mean that if you've learned to love and honor Competition in an adult, you're already on your way to doing the same with a Competing child.

Words that help describe and accept Competing:

  • determined
  • winner
  • scorekeeper
  • measurer
  • results-oriented
  • aware
  • motivated
  • intense
  • passionate

One of the greatest gifts you can give another person is your focused curiosity. Parents often ask for the right steps to take once they've identified their children's talents. Remember, your child has the answer. Stay curious.

Here are some great questions to enhance your conversations with a Competing child:

  • What were you excited about doing today?
  • What are you better at today than yesterday?
  • What do you want to get better at? What challenge can you set for yourself?
  • Who are your friends and what are they really good at?
  • What can we win together?
  • What did you try today?

Affirming a Competing child:

There's a lot of emotion involved in being a winner or a loser, and for Competing children, it can feel like they're one or the other.

  1. Cultivate an environment that accepts emotion. Maybe your kid needs a moment in the back seat to cry about the loss before joining the team for post-game pizza. Maybe they need great words they can use to express their joy when they win without harming others -- help them invite people into their joy.

  2. Listen to their feelings when they win and lose. Understand that these emotions might feel raw but will be used as fuel next time.

    They're always competing, so help them compete on purpose.

  3. Help them learn to measure. What can they rate/rank/sort? Make note of their best performance, score or achievement to date.

  4. Track big accomplishments and everyday activities too.


Grow: What can you do this week to help invest in your Competing child?

  1. BREAK A RECORD. Throw down a challenge and make your child part of it.
  • How much faster, farther or better could you do something this week?

    • Learning all the spelling words in 2 days
    • Completing a specific chore with a timer going
    • Memorizing the most names of a group or neighborhood
    • Spending one more day practicing a musical instrument this week than last week
  1. NAME YOUR SPECIALTY. Help them name their best potential for winning:
  • Use both reflection and imagination (past and future) questions to help explore their individual version of Competing:

    • Alone? On a team? In a partnership?
    • Specific sport or activity?
    • What sort of prep benefits them most? Something new or something they've researched?
  • Practice a skill that helps you win. Get better at dribbling or passing a basketball, faster at playing a scale or more captivating at telling a joke.
  • Try different ways to win, and look for easier or quicker shortcuts that get you to the end.

Learn more about using CliftonStrengths to help yourself and others succeed:

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