There is a difference between fake competitors and real competitors. Not just a difference -- a massive difference. Unfortunately, it's easy to get fooled by a fake competitor when you wanted a real competitor.
At a personal level, it's easy to fool yourself into believing you're a real competitor when your behavior suggests more of a fake competitor. No judgment. I know that might sting to even consider. This is not a moment for fear or self-judgment. It's a moment for honest, courageous self-awareness.
Some primary differences between FAKE and REAL competitors:
FakeCompetitors: prefer arenas where they are the best. RealCompetitors: prefer arenas full of the best competitors.
FakeCompetitors: want a guarantee. RealCompetitors: want an opportunity.
FakeCompetitors: wait for ideal circumstances. RealCompetitors: lean into circumstances as they are.
FakeCompetitors: do it when they feel like it. RealCompetitors: do it whether they feel like it or not.
FakeCompetitors: use adversity as an excuse. RealCompetitors: use adversity as a test.
FakeCompetitors: fear losing. RealCompetitors: fear not giving their best effort.
FakeCompetitors: feel threatened by high-performing teammates. RealCompetitors: feel excited by high-performing teammates.
FakeCompetitors: resist feedback and coaching. RealCompetitors: love feedback and coaching.