Competitive Honesty: A Thing of the Past?

Updated: Apr 13

I have a business friend who gets food delivered to her from someone who lives in her building. I’m not sure if she receives the food because they are friends, or if it is the result of a business arrangement. No matter — the food looks great. I have often wished she lived in my building. Anyway, my friend has a large posse (my word for those you have influence over, those who follow you and believe in your life). She has followers on LinkedIn and Instagram. I am one of them. She often posts things that make me smarter or more thoughtful. She is an active member of a number of organizations that do good work. I respect her, which is why I find this difficult to write.

A few weeks ago, there was a post on my friend’s LinkedIn and Instagram asking us to vote in a contest her food purveyor entered for the best “chef.” The person who receives the most votes wins. There are levels to the contest, so it lasts for a while. I’m not sure what the prize is, but for the purpose of this post, it doesn’t matter.

So, the chef who serves my friend made it to the next level, and congrats went out all over various social media platforms along with a request to vote for her again. For best chef. For food she creates that none of us have tasted.

I did nothing. But I was stunned by the open support of this request. Many commented on the posts, saying they were happy to comply. Really? Does your word, or vote, mean so little to you?

Let's review it again: We haven’t tasted the food. Going in and voting for her as a fabulous food creator is a lie. Vouching for that which you haven’t experienced is fraud.

And the fact that this is out in the open, for all to see, is what concerns me the most. If my sister had entered a contest, I certainly wouldn’t have posted about it, asking people to vote for her as being great at something they had never experienced. Attempts to affect the outcome of an election that isn’t at all about how great a chef someone is, but all about how large their posse reach is, should give us all reason to pause.

Winning when you have actually accomplished something, or competed on an equal playing field, is the bomb. I have experienced that kind of win. It’s fantastic. Winning because you have friends in high places, or friends with large posses, or have donated tons of money? Not so much. I have experienced that kind of win too, and it’s hollow.

Here’s my point: A large part of what is wrong with the world is false information, the lack of authenticity around your presentation. A contest that awards someone the title of best chef cannot be won by receiving the most votes from those who have never met, let alone tasted the creations of, that chef. Nope. No más.

It’s time to win fair and square, to level playing fields and celebrate when you have done something well. We must take money and the number of our friends and their connections out of the mix. For the love of God, take some pride in casting your vote, and make sure you have a legitimate reason to do so. We are not sheep, people. We are individuals who should consider all that we do and the repercussions those actions have for others. We should take pride in what we vote for, what we post, what we say, and what we think.

Let’s lift up the ceiling of expectation we have for ourselves and others.

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