I've been reading a lot about John Wooden lately, UCLA's head coach that led their basketball team to 10 national championships in a 12 year period. He was a phenomenal coach and had a very unique style. A style that I really admire and look to mimic. His values stem from teamwork and being a team player overall, hard work, integrity and precision. I look up to anyone who puts their integrity before personal gain no matter what the cost. In this day and age, I think it's rare.
Since we are headed into dance competition season, I want to touch on the idea of trophies and what winning really means as a competitor. I get it, we're all competitive and I think being competitive is a very good thing. Having a competitive drive pushes us to be our best, challenge ourselves and achieve greatness. I definitely want to be considered a winner in all aspects of life, but what that means to me is not measured by a 1st place trophy. More than a trophy...I want myself, my staff, my dancers and everyone really to keep pushing forward and growing everyday. Trophies don't necessarily measure personal growth or excellence, especially in a sport/ art such as dance that is subjective to it's viewers. It sounds cliché but you should really only be in competition with yourself, and here's why...
Say you have a friend who's naturally flexible who pops into the splits with no problem, but you struggle. Everyday you stretch, strengthen, take yoga, get to dance early to warm up, etc. to work on your flexibility and you barely have your splits. To the naked eye your friend may look like the achiever because she has long straight limbs that effortlessly glide into a split, while you have a different build and take a little longer to get that same line. In my eyes, the person who works hard to achieve their goal is way more of a winner than the one who effortlessly does the same thing. They aren't reaching their maximum potential because they didn't have to work to achieve their goal.
If you put in the time, effort, energy and commit to your team..you will grow AND your team will grow..it's a win/win. Everyone grows at a different pace, in a different way so comparing yourself to someone else isn't going to help you, but by being your best and surrounding yourself with like minded people you will all achieve together and there's enough room at the top for everyone. A great question (or two) to ask yourself is "Are my actions leading me to long term success, the success of my team and how am I adding value to those around me?" Your mental attitude matters as much, if not more, as putting in the physical work to become better. Get up, show up, be a team player and NEVER give up. At the end of the day, the adrenaline you feel from winning a trophy will fade, but the pride and confidence you will feel by continuously showing up, being a hard working, honest individual that wants success for your team AND yourself is a feeling of achievement that will last a lifetime.