Is being too competitive hurting the relationships you have?

I get my competitiveness from my mom, and it was certainly compounded growing up with two brothers. It started early in life for me, competing with my brothers playing yard soccer and “rough-ball.” This competitiveness continued throughout my schooling, and it showed up in my work as financial planner and training consultant. Being competitive is a good thing, having an I must win at all costs mentality is not such a good thing. Society has taught us that competitiveness is a good thing and essential for our success. While it is good, it can at times also work against us. 

When people become competitors in all aspects of their lives, it can show up as mean, or even ugly especially when we tend to one-up others all the time. This could be with our colleagues at work, team members, our loved ones and family members too. Life is not always a competition; we need to leverage the strengths of people in the team around us to win together.

How do we know if we are being overly competitive? Take a moment and ask yourself the following:

  • Do I feel that I must have the last say in an argument?
  • Do I get upset when others get recognition, or do I celebrate their successes with them?
  • Do I feel a sense of jealousy on the inside when a colleague or friend does something great?
  • Do I get excited when a friend has success or do I start doubting myself, feeling a little insecure?
  • Am I able to listen to a story a friend is sharing completely, or do I find myself sharing how something similar happened to me and end their story with parts of mine?

Saying yes to the above examples may be a sign that you are too competitive. When we are overly competitive, we may start feeling as if we are losing at work or in a particular friendship. This sense of losing brings out a feeling of jealousy and highlights our insecurities. This feeling of insecurity may cause us to undermine our colleagues, albeit unintentionally. We may overlook a task, not prioritize getting back to them on something that we need to do. Perhaps we chose not to take part in their team meeting or accept an invitation to a barbeque. In truth we are allowing the feeling of jealousy to over-rule our sense of comradery. 

How can we combat this feeling of jealousy? Firstly, we need to remind ourselves that we rarely achieve success on our own? Very simply, we need to find ways to celebrate in the success of others. When a friend or colleague is sharing a story, resist the temptation to tell your story. Rather open the dialogue by asking questions and being genuinely interested in what they have to say. Asking these questions will make them feel important and valued. Doing this will not only build your likability, but those people will also enjoy having you around more. The result is that you will be more welcomed, and this allows more opportunity to grow your sphere of influence.

Please know that being competitive is a good thing.  Mat Frasier is widely recognized as the most dominant male athlete ever to have competed in the CrossFit Games. I recall hearing the announcers say how in the year before a particular event he was terrible at running but spent his off season working on his weaknesses. Now he was a formidable competitor in an event others felt they could gain points on him. What did Mat Frasier do to become more effective?  I have no idea, but I would guess he found a friend or a coach he trusted that could train with him to help make him better at running. I imagine he found a training partner that would complement his work ethic so that he could have a better performance. He found someone that would complete his training regimen with him and build him up to be an even better athlete. Mat was not jealous of his friend or trainer that was better at running than he was.  He leaned on his friend that was better so that it would help him be even more successful. This is what we need to do in our work and personal lives. If someone is better than you, has greater success than you, celebrate their success with them!  Lean in and learn how their success can be a motivator to making you an all-around better human being.


Neville De Lucia has been in the people development business for over 20years.  He started his career as a certified financial planner and joined Dale Carnegie as a performance consultant in October 2000. Over the years Neville has applied his trade globally and supports the development of organizations by delivering customized training to clients in the USA, Europe, Middle East and Africa.  Neville is a Business Coach, TEDx Speaker Coach and has a passion for youth development and is currently engaging with young adults on job readiness initiatives that will prepare them for the workplace of the future.

As a people’s person, you will find that Neville is fit for purpose in this industry.  His focus on others allows them to grow into the person that they want to be.  Neville and his wife Caryn moved to Cary North Carolina in January 2021 with their three daughters and are excited to build a successful business in the USA.  To work with Neville or to just have a conversation reach out and connect with him here.

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