It was a good and tough match, but I am very pleased that Rafael Nadal won the French Open this morning. Why? I think Rafael is great, but that is not why.
I am glad because we all need good rivalries. If Rafael had lost, there would have been some wind die down from his sails (after all, Djokovic has been beating him all year - but the French Open clay courts were Nadal's sweet spot - lose there, and it would be such a blow). We need that energy to keep everyone doing their best.
The same is true for our jobs and where we work. I want to have good “rivals” – people who make me think, challenge me, and motivate me to do my best. We should welcome these benevolent rivalries and seek them out.
Managers sometimes don’t get this and fail to seize the opportunity during hiring opportunities. Select folks who might intimidate you, might question you, might compete for your job one day. You will get better as a result (you need to keep the evil twins "envy" and "ego" in check, but that is always important).
Intellectual rivalries can be exhilarating. And even at the French Open, the challenge was more a mental one than physical. Both Nadal and Djokovic are in top form and have well-rounded skills. It is only a matter of time until Djokovic beats Nadal at the French Open. Maybe next year. Until then, I will enjoy this energy and pizazz and hope that you experience the same fire in your belly where you work. Collectively, we make our "best work" possible.