skip to main content
Called to Coach
How to Improve Your Wellbeing With Competition
Called to Coach

How to Improve Your Wellbeing With Competition

Webcast Details

  • Gallup CliftonStrengths Wellbeing Series, Season 1: Competition
  • If you have Competition, how does this theme relate to you and your wellbeing?
  • How can you use your Competition theme to support others, personally and professionally?

Below are audio and video plus a transcript of the conversation, including time stamps.

Your CliftonStrengths can empower the 5 elements of your wellbeing -- career, social, financial, community and physical. But how does this happen if you are struggling in one or more of these elements? If you have Competition, Appendix 1 of Gallup's Wellbeing at Work book has Strengths Insights and Action Items that can move you from struggling to thriving as you apply your Competition talent to fuel your wellbeing. Join Jaclynn Robinson and Jim Collison on this CliftonStrengths Podcast to discover how.

When I see people with Competition on teams or in a management position, and they've just shaped it in a way where it's used to inspire other people, it's beautiful.

Jaclynn Robinson, 7:07

Sometimes wellbeing can be like drops of water: It's not one big stream that takes care of things, but it's little tiny bits throughout the day.

Jim Collison, 10:39

Jim Collison 00:00
I am Jim Collison and welcome to the CliftonStrengths Podcast. On this podcast, we'll be covering topics such as wellbeing, teamwork, professional development and more. Now enjoy this episode.

Jim Collison 00:14
In this CliftonStrengths Podcast, we'll look at the Strengths Insight and Action Planning items from Appendix 1 in the Gallup book Wellbeing at Work one theme at a time, and today's theme is Competition. If you're listening live, love to have you join us in our chat. There's just a link right above me up there that will take you to the YouTube instance. Sign in there, love to have you in our chat room. If you have questions after the fact, you can always send us an email: coaching@gallup.com. Dr. Jaclynn Robinson is our host today. She works as a Gallup Learning and Development Consultant and was the primary contributor to Appendix 1 in the Wellbeing at Work book. Jaclynn, I'm sure that was a ton of work. It's always great to see you on these. Welcome back!

Jaclynn Robinson 00:49
Likewise! Thank you! Thank you, thank you, sir.

What's the definition of Competition?

Jim Collison 00:52
We are spending -- we're in different locations today, if you're watching the video. That shouldn't matter, and it won't, but we're spending a little time today talking about Competition. Let's get that definition out there.

Jaclynn Robinson 01:02
Yeah, so if we think about those high in Competition, they measure their progress against the performance of others. So first place is the only place, and they tend to enjoy contests, games, anything where you have that ability to kind of put a little fun and energy behind a goal.

Jim Collison 01:21
Let's spend a little time talking about how it relates to you and then how does it relate to others?

Jaclynn Robinson 01:25
OK, folks, so if this is you, with performance metrics and/or rankings clear in mind, I think those high in Competition recognize what it takes to be the creme de la creme or, you know, the best of the best. So this can drive people high in Competition to be the top of class, so to speak. Let's talk about others potentially. I see you noodling, though, there, Jim -- did you have something on your mind?

Jim Collison 01:50
No, no. Keep going. We'll come back around to it.

Jaclynn Robinson 01:53
All right, let's do it. So, if we think about Competition and how it relates to others, you know, they can really inspire people to get behind a team performance goal and, and be best-in-class in the organization or even against competitors. I think they're really adept at engaging colleagues in contests, games, fun activities, whatever it is that helps them accomplish the end result. There's a lot of fun and energy that they can use if they hone in Competition.

Jim Collison 02:18
We were --

Jaclynn Robinson 02:19
In mature fashion, I should say.

Jim Collison 02:20
Yes, well, and that's --

Jaclynn Robinson 02:22
With all themes; that goes with all themes.

How does Competition look when it's thriving vs. struggling?

Jim Collison 02:24
We were talking in preshow about how maybe Competition amongst coaches is maybe a little bit lower, although at Gallup, even though I don't see a lot of people with it, we're a very competitive environment. And I think this is one of those areas that Competition, so for people who have this strong or have this desire strong, it doesn't always point back to Competition, right? There's kind of this sometimes this idea the worst day is when you lose, as we think about it. And I, I look very competitive at times. I've run tons of marathons; I've done a bunch of races; I like to win, but it's not my worst day. And so I think, as we think about these definitions of Competition, just winning enough is not enough necessarily in that -- is thinking about the whole value of it. As we think about that whole value in terms of wellbeing what does this theme look like maybe thriving versus struggling, and let's flesh that out a little bit.

Jaclynn Robinson 03:21
Yeah, if I think about thriving, it's, it's when they're on a winning team in the workplace, potentially in which everyone is performing at their best. And then the remainder of their life is rounded out with opportunities to drive their performance with metrics; there's some informal point system just to keep track of their goals and victories. So to your point, it's not always even about competing against others. Sometimes just being on a winning team or feeling like you can have an informal point system is enough to feel like you're striving towards something more and striving towards that bar of being at your best or being on a team that's going to be at their best.

Jim Collison 03:57
I see sometimes struggling in this theme come when they're not allowed to win. Like, they're -- or given an impossible situation where winning is not ever going to be a possibility. And that creates this conflict from within that then says, Oh, like yeah, I mean I, it can lead, I think we've seen a lot of this during this, this time, this COVID time, where it's created maybe some impossible situations, and people have been stuck in it, and they just can't -- no matter what they do, they can't win. And that's got -- you want to add anything to that?

Jaclynn Robinson 04:33
I would, because you just brought up the workplace. And I think if they, and the way the world is right now, when so many people are unclear on what their metrics are in the workplace to know what excellence looks like. And so if there's not even clarity in the role and what is the best of the best, what does that look like? Then you're just kind of wandering aimlessly and that motivation starts to go down the drain. So I think that, that could be a part of it too. Or being on an underperforming team.

Jim Collison 05:01
Yeah, or the team is struggling and it's impossible, it's impossible to win. We have some great examples and some best practices in Appendix 1 -- a lot of it, most of it, all of it you wrote. And so let's take an example out of that as we take one of these themes -- or as we take this theme and then compare it maybe to one of the 5 elements.

Jaclynn Robinson 05:23
Yeah, I think about physical wellbeing. And typically, we think about how they're always fighting to be in that top position and, you know, we might joke, oh, you know, if you're gonna be with someone that has Competition high, you better have it high too. But I think about this person as enjoying being on a winning intramural sports team where they can help lead them towards victory or even a physical activity that's tied to a leaderboard. So it could be cycle, it could be something they're doing in the gym, but just having a way to track their own individual performance or being on a winning team, like an intramural sports team.

For those with Competition, how can it be used to support others?

Jim Collison 05:57
I think it's a great idea even to, with the teams that have high Competition to just have numbers they can track to -- even if it's own, if it's their own internal benchmarks, right? Even if it's their own, it's things they set to be able to achieve, to find like, Yeah, we're, we're winning on this. We, in our own fitness center, I begged them for years to put up a leaderboard that we could have. And we, so we just put up an old-style chalkboard, and people could come in and communicate with each other on the chalkboard and compete with each other. It gave us that kind of opportunity. There's 4 other elements in the back of the book there, if you want to spend some time doing that, and some great examples of, of how to take each one of those elements by this theme. So Jaclynn, with, with Competition in mind then, how -- and we spent a lot of time in Season 6 of Theme Thursday talking about the "me" versus "we," and I think Competition sometimes gets labeled as that "me." But I want to challenge us to think about it in the "we" context. So how does Competition, and how can it be used to support others?

Jaclynn Robinson 07:05
I think it's, you know, when I see people with Competition on teams or in a management position, and they've just shaped it in a way where it's used to inspire other people, it's beautiful. So I love that you're talking about "we" versus "me." If you're a manager or you're leading a team, you could drive performance and success by incorporating friendly games and competitions that can help, you know, keep team members contributing and striving towards team success. So it could be directed at a team goal. I've also seen people high in Competition that use this just to bring the team together for a sense of camaraderie -- that is the goal is let's come together for some fun. And that's where I think people high in Competition can really shine, because they have a knack for identifying contests or games that can excite people. I think from a teams perspective, let's say they're, you've got a person that's on a team with Competition, for, you know, they have a talent for scouting out competitors. So with that knowledge of knowing what the competitor's blind spots are, they could leverage that and help the team consider ways that they could do even better. They can identify those blind spots -- what's missing in the market, based on what we're doing and what we know competitors are doing? And let's ideate and come up with something greater -- bigger and better. And then from an individual perspective, I think it's when you have your own personal leaderboard for life and mind; that's what I think about for Competition. You might feel at your best, because then you, you really have a clear idea of what you're striving for, you know, professionally, physically, financially, socially and so forth. Is there anything more that you would add as we think about those three?

Jim Collison 08:44
Yeah, I, I really do. When we think about this in the context of wellbeing -- and I love your personal leaderboard idea, because, you know, maybe in some cases, we've gotten, we've been put in a situation where we're isolated or isolated from the teams or we don't have that daily contact like we used to. And I think there's some great opportunities, there's a mention in the chat room, we'll talk about it in the midshow, but there's some, some possibilities then on a daily basis to kind of get those wins, right, whatever that win is. And it may even be like backing up expectations a little bit to say, like, OK, it does, you don't have to be crazy with this, but a couple of wins every day, finishing -- we talked about this during Achiever, but -- for me, kind of sometimes finishing projects was enough; but maybe, for someone high in Competition, finishing them faster. Right? And, and it, it could be, it could be a daily walk; it could be at which, maybe you have a daily process, a daily work process. In my case, I have the same routine every morning, where I make a pot of coffee and I empty the dishwasher. That's like something I could turn into a competition, where I tell my digital assistant to start a timer, and then I see how fast I can get it done, right. Just some of those wins, right -- I don't know, does that spark anything for you?

Jaclynn Robinson 10:05
Well, I love what you're mentioning, because oftentimes when I'm speaking with someone high in Competition, they have that internal tracking system or point system in place for themselves. Other people might not be aware of it, but they are. And so I think that's a great example of what that could look like.

Jim Collison 10:18
Yeah. And I don't even think -- I don't, I don't have, I'm not high in Competition, but there are moments when I might even be able to use that as just a distraction. Like, Hey, this morning, I'm just going to time this and see, see how long it takes. And then maybe once a week, have a little bit of a competition, I think. Again, it doesn't recharge my batteries, but it may be a great opportunity from a wellbeing -- sometimes wellbeing can be like drops of water: It's not one big stream that takes care of things, but it's little tiny bits throughout the day, right, that kind of help with it. So I think in this area of Competition, I think others, too, as we think about this, when you're on a team, others being able to create -- you said this -- fun competitions to just like do things as a team. I think there's some great ideas of some examples there where they can improve wellbeing on teams, yeah, I just think so. Jaclynn, in Appendix 2, we have this framework that that we can work through, right, this idea of Asking Yourself, Asking Team Members and then Taking Actions. As we think about this, can you walk through Competition for us through that framework?

Jaclynn Robinson 11:23
Yes, so if you have Competition, you could ask yourself, "How can I align each individual's developmental goals with team projects?" I would say, remember, when they succeed, you also succeed, and you can be a part of that overall winning team. One thing you could ask your team members is, "Of all the things you do well in your job, which ones do you do best?" And then ways to take action, I would say, participating in activities where you can use your strengths every day. And I would also add just ensuring, you know, how to measure your success within those activities so that you can really feed that competitive side, whether it's informally, through your own tracking system, or formally and you've had conversations with your manager to be aligned on what's expected of you and what that, that bar of excellence looks like if you're striving to be the best at it.

Jim Collison 12:10
What have you seen, or from the folks that you've coached, when we think about these tracking systems, these measurements, what have you seen work for individuals? Just for those maybe who are struggling a little bit still or trying to have high Competition or trying to figure this out. Have you seen anything, Jaclynn, that would, like best practices when it comes to measuring or to gathering measurements, any thoughts on that?

Jaclynn Robinson 12:33
I've seen, so this example just comes to mind for me. It's a financial piece. Sometimes you don't think about, How do we track financial goals? And it's, one that we also consider for Competition is having a smartphone app where you can track your progress and you can see, How close am I to hitting my short-term or long-term financial goals. Am I at the $500 mark, and I have this $2500 goal? You can celebrate along the way. Some people, if it comes to a career like editing or you're doing something related to writing or research, I've seen some teams define quality by saying, Let's have a 99% accuracy rate and then they'll have a way of measuring that through subjectivity. So they'll have the, they'll have one person that writes it out. Another person will then review what they've read, cross-check it against references to see if those stats are correct. That's how they get their 99% accuracy. So I like to share that one too, because that can be hard, if it comes to writing or editing -- How do you track quality and what excellence looks like? So if someone is high in Competition, you have 99% accuracy and someone on your team has 96%, then hey, you're, you're feeling pretty good about yourself. And then beyond that, some roles, it's just, it's more easy because you, you have, you know, quantitative metrics in place. And if you don't know it, I would say, ask -- ask and see what tends to be the best practice.

Jim Collison 14:05
I've, for the month of December and early January, I've kind of committed to checking my financials daily and just jumping in, like, and, and for me that's enough competition -- in other words, can I get it on a daily basis in a way? Because this is the time of the year where that kind of, you know, taxes are going to start coming due here, as we think about January. Pay is different next year. All of our benefits reset. Those kinds of things, right? And it's important we track them. And so for me, setting that up, setting that up as a kind of a daily competition for myself, of jumping in and saying, OK, I'm gonna track this every, it's, that has made me feel so much better about my financial wellbeing of having kind of that daily automatic routine of -- now I missed it this morning. I came into the office this morning and I missed it, and I kind of feel bad about it, so I'm going to need to,

Jaclynn Robinson 14:59
The guilt is there.

Jim Collison 15:01
It is. I didn't do it. I was, I was, I was kind of rushing out the door to get. to get into the office. But I think setting up things like that to compete against yourself, with a wellbeing emphasis in mind, like this makes me feel better from a financial wellbeing standpoint -- I think that's a great opportunity. I don't know, Jaclynn, before we close it, any other thoughts?

Jaclynn Robinson 15:22
No, I would just say, I would reiterate what you kind of reinforced earlier about Competition, is it's one of those themes where they can be very much about "we" as opposed to just "me." Stereotypically, it might come across in the themes world as them just wanting to compete against others. But there's a lot of value that I've seen with people high in Competition on teams, where they love developing their own people, they love developing the team so that they can all win together. So I would just leave people with that last thought.

Jim Collison 15:52
Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of the CliftonStrengths Podcast. Make sure you like and subscribe wherever you listen, so you never miss an episode. And if you're really enjoying this podcast, please leave a review. This helps us promote strength globally.

Jaclynn Robinson's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Achiever, Strategic, Maximizer, Positivity and Relator.

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


Gallup https://www.gallup.com/cliftonstrengths/en/390323/how-to-improve-your-wellbeing-with-competition.aspx
Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A
+1 202.715.3030