The other day I shared a video on my Facebook business page, A.Wright Fit, of an interview of one of my favorite actors, Will Smith, going into a pretty in depth explanation on his work ethic, motivation and ultimate success in his life and in the movie making industry. To see the video and to see what I posted, click HERE.
You can see by watching the video he is deeply inspired and seems to be rooted in a very strong competitive mindset about who he is and what he can do.
As I explained on my Facebook page, because I like Will Smith so much, I wanted so badly to be inspired by this great actor, but I realized in the last couple of weeks since first seeing this interview, that I was not inspired by it at all. In fact, I disagree with the source of his motivation and mindset toward success.
Specifically, when Will Smith says of himself and his success, “The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me, is that I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be outworked. You might be smarter than me. You might have more talent than me. You might be sexier than me […] But if we get on a treadmill, there are (only) two things that are gonna happen: you’re getting off first, or I’m gonna die.”
Even without watching the full interview, just by reading that quote, you can probably feel his conviction and strength of mindset. I wanted so badly to pump my fist in the air and say, “Yes! That’s me too!! I will outwork everybody else too!!! I’m going to work my way to the life that I have dreamed by outworking everyone around me.”
But then I caught myself and remembered, ‘Nope, I’ve actually already learned this lesson. A few times in fact.’
I think my natural reaction is to think, “Well, Will Smith is a man, and men typically use different motivations for success, especially for their careers.” I know my husband said he relates very strongly to what Will Smith is saying. I completely understand why!
But, then the more I think about women and competition, I really think we’re equally as competitive (if not more!), but it shows up in different areas of our lives.
Here are 5 areas I see women have a tendency toward a competitive mindset (generally speaking):
- Our looks/actions
Guys have this too (especially those in Hollywood) but it is nothing to the degree in which women are judged and persecuted for their looks. Trends seem to come every 7 minutes and we are in a constant frenzy to keep up with them. Especially for all my single ladies out there, there is tremendous pressure and a feeling as though you are competing with all other single women out there to find the “good men.” So much so that women are compromising their bodies, morals and values to dress and do things for men because of the fear that one must keep up with what “other women” are doing out there. So, if you don’t do “x,y, and z”, a guy will just move on to someone else who will.
- Trying to Have It ‘All Together’
Call this the Kelly Rippa or Beyonce syndrome, but we see women that seemingly have all it “all together” and we start putting pressure on ourselves to do the same! Perfect body, perfect wife, perfect house, perfect job, perfect mother, perfect friend. This is the comparison trap of “Our Life” vs. “Others Lives” that destroys our ability to feel at peace and good about doing as best as we can.
- “Keeping Up With The…..”
In my lifetime it has been the boobs of Baywatch, to the abs of Britney Spears, to now the booty a la Kardashians/J.Lo/Beyonce. It’s this “perfect” body drive. With the advancements of plastic surgery aiding and imbedding these competitive trends, we are seeing a ridiculous rise in butt implants these days, also more millennials are now getting plastic sugery in order to keep up with this “competitiveness”. True story! I caution all of my readers to be a severe skeptic as you troll your social media pages for those coveted big booty, small-waisted women trying to convince you that they squatted their way to that figure. Insecurity combined with competition has lead to massive, and dangerous, trends in vanity.
Women are some of the fiercest competitors I know! Chalk it up to our innate ability to bear children, but women can push through pain in ways I believe men cannot. We see what female CrossFit competitors can do, what gymnasts suffer through, ballerinas, bikini/figure competitors, ultra marathoners, and the like. Injury can be a result—in just the 5 months of my bikini competition dieting and training I managed to cause major disruption in my hormone cycle (resulting in amenorrhea which can cause a serious decline in bone density), and I paved the way to some significant digestive issues as well as a 10mm bulging disc in my lower back (L5/L6) likely caused by overtraining, both of which that I’m still battling 2-years later. Women can jack up our bodies for the sake of athletic competition, no doubt.
- A Woman’s Work
Praise God that we are seeing more women crushing the “glass ceilings” above their heads, but I see that often times in spite of women knowing that we are “all in this together” there is something about us that does not allow us to be as “happy for her” as we should be. It must be something about a fear-based competitive mindset that makes women believe that if we see another woman succeed in business, we now think there is a less likely chance that we will be able to succeed too. So we disparage, gossip and judge them out of jealousy. The opposite is actually true; women succeeding actually INCREASES our own chance of success. But again, the nature of our competitive spirits lead often to these juvenile reactions.
I’ve realized, every single one on this list of female tendencies toward competition absolutely applies to my current career path in this world of the Woman’s Fitness Industry. In the business world, after graduating from a university course, you will want to start considering the available mba career paths to you. Starting this business and website have absolutely sparked a natural inclination for me to want to take the “Will Smith” approach to this career path. Meaning…
… my human nature wants me to try the “work harder than them” approach to success.
My secular, competitive mindset, wants me to slave hours at the gym trying to look the “part” of a fitness professional, keep up with every social media trend out there (including posting risqué photos to get the most “likes”), write intelligent, perfect and poignant articles that try to raise eyebrows, compete with all the other women in the fitness industry for your attention and business, and do all of this while still playing the role of perfect wife, step-mom, daughter and friend.
*LUCKILY* I am not actually feeling pulled (very often at least) in many of these areas of competition anymore because I have been blessed with a significant shift in my very own mindset about my life. This is what I was writing about on my Facebook page.
I have broken free from the “Will Smith” mindset because I’ve had a SPIRITUAL shift that has freed my mind of the burden of those competitive thoughts. I’ve realized…..
Competition does not actually exist.
There is no “them” or “her” to compete against. There is no need to “die on the treadmill” because I have no one to out-run or out-work.
The real battle is found in me, in my head, battling the mindset that I have to compete in areas #1-5 above in order to be “successful” and “enough.”
The battle is against the intoxicating FEAR that produces those thoughts that I perceive as “motivation,” but it is actually a major distraction away from the calling God has given me.
But I can stand up today and tell you I have won this battle against such FEAR because I have realized this battle is not mine. I have SURREND’hered this battle to God. I win it every day that I’m able to SURREND’her my life UP to God, again. It is and every day choice.
I have won because I have engaged in the true power and motivator in this life. Not by my “WillPower” but my “God Power.”
As I said in my post, this new mindset is a rather trendy phrase used today called having an Abundance Mindset, which is to believe that there is enough for all of us.
I know that this abundance exists only because we serve an abundant and limitless God who is for us, not against us.
The hard part is by “us”, I mean, ALL of us. Even our “competitors.” SURREND’hering to this true source of power means you have to submit your mind to the understanding that even when we “Lose” we actually “Win.” Because when we are following God’s plan for us, we trust and have Faith that “God works for the good of those who love Him.” (Rom 8:28). The key phrase being “God Works” so we don’t have to.
What might seem like a secular “loss” will ultimately serve us and bless us either in this life of after!
But let’s say that you want to believe what I’m saying about the power of SURREND’her, but you actually relate more to what Will Smith is saying and feel the need to “work harder” to feel any *real* motivation.
You think, “What’s wrong with wanting to work harder?!”
Well, there are a few ramifications I see from having the “Competitive Mindset” of trying to outwork the competition.
- Competition Distracts the Real Focus:
Instead of concerning yourself with what is right for you, you wind up worrying if you should be doing what she is doing. In my industry, I see 100 different women entrepreneurs doing 100 different strategies to cultivate an online business. If I only focus on how I can be better than them, I am not focusing on how I can be a better version of me.
- Competition Actually LIMITS Your Real Power:
Instead of pushing yourself as far as you can go, you are only pushing yourself just enough to beat her. When I answer to the power of God within me, I am more motivated to work hard, stay healthy, and put in long hours for the sake of my brand and website. Using this positive energy within allows me to last longer. I still work very “hard” just not “harder”—because there is no one to out-perform. There is no one’s body I have to look like, no one’s blog I have to emulate, and no other wife/mother/friend I need to be like. I rely on my own standard of excellence, which is defined by God, not by what “she” might be doing out there.
- Competition Can Prevent Leadership:
When you’re constantly looking and comparing yourself to others, you can limit your mind to only the context you’re looking at– rendering yourself unable to forge a new path and new way of thinking. When I spend too much time reading and wondering what “other” people are saying and doing out there, I limit my own brainpower and minds expansion to ‘think outside the box.’ Often times I get discouraged that “I thought of that too, now I can’t say it because of fear that I’ll be cheating in some way.” When I turn within, my mind starts to buzz from Gods power to go against the grain and think on my own. I don’t think I’ve innovated any new ways of thinking yet, but I know I’ll be capable of it if I continue to rely on God within me, not others, as motivation.
- Competition Disrupts the Balance:
If you’re stuck on a proverbial treadmill, “willing to die to win to race” against whomever you’re competing against, you are stuck consumed on just that treadmill. Who knows how long that race is actually going to last! It can be a lifetime for some of our competitions. When you are stuck on the treadmill, you have less mental capacity to think of the other areas of your life to balance. The treadmill is the equivalent of being all about your BODY which clearly limits you from balancing your MIND and your SOUL. When I look to God, I still put in my hard work on the treadmill, but I just don’t have to go as long. He tells me when it’s time to “get off” and rest, or start working on something else that equally needs my attention. I find the power of BALANCE.
- Competition Can Cause Inauthenticity:
Instead of playing the role of someone you believe is a successful/beautiful/intelligent/funny woman, you are authentically defining your own life of success/beauty/intelligence/fun. Living authentically cultivates much more love, peace and patience for your life and for those around you too.
I would say the #1 reason why we continue to rely on these sources of “Competitive Motivation” is that we assume if we don’t use these types of sources to motivate us, we’ll just get lazy. But it’s not true! I have never been more motivated in MY LIFE than I am right now. When you truly learn the POWER of SURREND’her, you feel a surge of motivation to go and live your calling and your Greater Purpose! Don’t let that fear trap you into continue to run the “treadmill race to the death.”
Allow your mind to shift from worrying about “them” and instead just focus on God. Use tools like prayer, journaling and daily communication with Him to see if He will start revealing a stronger source of Power within you to keep you just as motivated. This is how you figure out your “WHY” in life which will make you unstoppable!
Start to see your former “competitors” as equal children of God that He loves just as much as He loves you. Even if they are not walking in Faith, God loves them just as much. That can be hard to swallow, but it is an important part in trying to create a better world. This is not just about us. We are all in this world together and can all work to WIN this fight and give all the Glory to God.
Your Greater Purpose may not be in just your lifetime, but in your legacy you leave.
Everything you do now can serve as a way to deepen your relationship with God, develop internal peace, and ultimately be incredibly blessed by God.