Japanese Gymnasts and Oliver Twist

It has been said that ‘competition brings the best out of individuals’, whether in sport, business or social situations. I happen to think it can also bring out the worst.

However my definition of ‘the worst’ is based on my perception of what the rules of engagement are which inevitably are influenced greatly by my MVS.

My Blue MVS has on more than one occasion in my life influenced me to take a back seat when I have wanted to do or say certain things because I have not wanted to draw attention to myself, or because perhaps my request would deny someone else of something they value.

There’s a question that’s been buzzing around my head since the Japanese gymnasts were dissatisfied with their scores at the Olympics and requested a recount. Their appeal was accepted and resulted in additional points being awarded, with the British team consequently dropping from the Silver position down to Bronze and the Japanese from fourth position to Silver.

I have to admit my early reaction was to become very British and defend ‘our boys’ on the grounds of fair play. It was impossible but I wanted to put right this seeming injustice to alleviate their disappointment.

However, our business is not about taking sides. It is about asking questions in order to discover more about the ways we all relate to each other and manage our emotions and behaviour.

So, given that the challenge was judged to be valid, what was it that stirred everyone up? The disappointment? The giving and then taking away? The effort put in not being aptly rewarded? Someone not playing in our code of conduct? Even, perhaps, that we simply did not get what we wanted?

It seems that there are a couple of major elements at play here:
1. My expectations of what the end result should be
2. How I expect the game (process, business etc) to be played.

So my competitive side says I have a desired goal but my MVS says the way I filter ‘how’ to achieve that goal will have a set of rules. And yes, there have been times when in business and in sport where my Blue MVS has denied me.

Whilst watching the Olympic gymnastics teams give it their best I was taken back to a Karate competition at the National Championships held at Crystal Palace. I was competing in the Men’s Kata. At the time I was (note use of past tense…) a reasonably talented Junior Grade but was competing for a place in the National quarter finals having won each round throughout the day. My opponent was well-known and more importantly a Dan Grade. We both gave it our best shot but the decision went to him – Kata is very technical and we both had dropped points however my Sensei (Master) objected on the grounds that when a Dan Grade makes a mistake he should be marked down more than a Junior Grade.

What was going through my head? Feelings of injustice? I didn’t get what I deserved? Was I pleased to have someone fighting for my corner?

None of these. As competitive as I was I thought the competition was fair, and I trusted in the judges’ decision. It was not my place to challenge. How different would this have been if my MVS was placed in the different parts of the SDI Triangle, or even if this situation was a Conflict Trigger for me?

It was this perception that enabled me to be pleased with my achievement. In fact the only time I was getting aggravated was when those around me were convincing me that I had been robbed of my rightful place.

My conclusion and genuine hope for our British gymnasts (and in fact every competitor) is that they value their time in this incredible competition. Win or lose I hope they can step back and learn that whatever environment we find ourselves in the link between what we expect as an outcome and how we expect to achieve that outcome will greatly influence the quality, not only of our performance but also our experience and our attitude to future situations.

Our expectations are our choice
Our choices are influenced by our MVS’s

The more we challenge and understand the way we are influenced by this hidden power in us all the more we will be able to create the best, most productive, highly energised and creative experiences available for ourselves.

p.s. To everyone who shares my Blue MVS… sometimes it is not only right but good to ask for more!