Contests are about Power!

This month is all about contests. Good or bad we all are aware of the contests around us, but what purpose do they serve and what needs are met through entering in contests.

Today there are a couple of big contests going on and people will be paying attention to what is happening with the Blue Jays and the Kansas City Royals and they will be watching for the outcome of our election contest. Who will be our winners?

As a member of Toastmasters, I am the chair for the evening at Riverview Canusa tonight and our theme is contests. In toastmasters we have contests twice a year. When I first joined Toastmasters, the contest was the last thing I wanted to enter but with more information and a good coach, I decided to give it a try. I have entered several times now and each time I do, I push myself through my comfort zone and I learn something new. Toastmasters is a great training ground!

Then there are all the other contests that we can choose to get involved in. When we think about our five basic needs of, love and belonging, power, fun, freedom and survival, most often it is the need for power that is satisfied. We all have a need for power but we do not all have it at the same level.  Power is greatly misunderstood as a basic need.

Power comes in three forms as far as I am concerned. First there is the most destructive form of power, which is power over. In this case, it is when someone tries to control someone else. Second there is power with, when two people work together and build something powerful, like a good team working together without having to be over taking someone else.  Third, there is personal power, where we go inside and find personal empowerment.

Yes, the power need is at play in contests. When an athlete loses control, it is about trying to get power over someone or some situation over which they have no control. This is a destructive use or abuse of power. When teams work together and support each other, this is a very productive use of power. Leadership is about teamwork. Respect and recognition are two behaviors that help to satisfy this need for power. Most workers minimally want respect and recognition in the workplace.

When we have an awareness, that we have a choice about how to satisfy this need that is mostly dependent on other people, we become personally empowered.

Do you want to learn more about these ideas?

Maureen has been teaching this ideas for over 35 years. She is a Senior Faculty Member with William Glasser International, A Licensed Counselling Therapist and Certified Personal and Executive Coach.