(Distinctions are subtleties of language that, when gotten, cause a shift in a belief, behavior, value or attitude.)


To compete is useful. Just as steel sharpens steel, competition can make you (or your team/your company) sharper by honing your skills. When you feel competitive you re naturally looking for ways to exceed your previous best. Competition can make you bigger and better and you get to enjoy winning and even attempting to win.

All that can also be said about being combative, but it includes an extra energy which is not so useful. When you are combative it is not enough for you to win, someone else must lose. It s more about beating them than it is about you winning. In fact, people who are combative rarely enjoy their wins for long and are quickly off to find someone else to beat.

Being competitive, then, is about feeling satisfied through your own efforts while being combative is about needing to best someone else. Therefore, competitive is an “inside” job and combative needs the “outside.”


Coaching Point: Where can you focus on enjoying a win, period?


Copyright 2006 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.