I have always been fascinated by competition. I especially love elite athletics. I love the Olympics! I’m astounded that some people choose to dedicate themselves to a pursuit and that among those people, some rise to the very top of their game. I’m amazed that some people have the drive to be the very best in the world at what they do.

I’m a born-again runner. I took up road racing in my 20s and then went on a decade-long hiatus to have kids. I’ve recently returned to the sport. I’ve joined a track club. I’m seeing my race times improve from what I accomplished years ago, and I know I can run faster still. I want to be faster. I am very competitivewith myself. I don’t have the desire to beat other people, I have a desire to be better than I’ve been before. It’s easy with racing—you know what time you ran the last race and you know what time you need to run to improve upon that. It’s a goal, right in front of you.
 
I always marvel at my business partner, Danielle, who excels at setting goals for herself and our company. She’s going to do a pull-up at the gym, she will grow a vegetable garden at her farm, she wants us to hit a certain revenue target at Admiral Road—it’s all consistent with what we talk about here at Mom Ink: The importance of setting goals. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know if you get there?
 
This week my daughter surprised me with a little goal setting of her own. Last fall she ran in her first running meet. She placed fourth and was really proud of herself. She had the Spring meet coming up and was deliberating it. As I tucked her into bed the other day, she shared with me her goal: “I want to finish in the top five.”
 
I was blown away. What possessed this nine-year-old, inexperienced runner to set herself a competitive goal like this?
 
But I loved it. I loved that she was thinking about what she could accomplish. I loved that she was challenging herself. I loved that, based on past performance, her goal was specific, measurable, attainable, and realistic.
 
This afternoon I stood proudly on the sidelines as my daughter ran by. She gave it her all. And guess where she placed? Fifth! And she was really proud of herself. 
 
Where does our competitive spirit come from? Are you competitive? What about your kids?