Tuesday, June 26, 2018

What Watching "Brother vs. Brother" Taught Me About Competition by Beth K. Vogt

Competition is part of the writing game. But do you stand up to the clash with other professionals – or do you avoid it?
Beth K. Vogt

Have you ever watched Brother vs. Brother? It’s so much fun watching identical twin brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott compete against one another on their house renovation TV show – especially when I’m cheering for Drew and my daughter, Christa, is cheering for Jonathan. The odd thing is, I’m not a natural competitor myself.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Scott Brothers and the format of their show, here’s a brief run-down of the format:

Drew, a real estate expert, and Jonathan, a licensed contractor, choose a locale – this season it’s San Francisco – and then are given a budget to purchase and renovate a home. There are weekly challenges for a specific living space, i.e. living room, kitchen, master bedroom. Various judges decide which brother wins the challenge. At the end of the season, the houses are sold, and the brother who makes the most profit is the overall champion. The proceeds from the sale of both houses are donated to charity.

Drew and Jonathan work together – and they also compete against one another – again and again and again. Here’s what two very successful identical twin brothers have taught me about professional competition:

  1. Embrace Competition. Even Better, Have Fun with It. The Scott Brothers are TV celebrities who’ve built an empire on buying and renovating houses. Every occupation includes competition, but they put a spin on that and decided to compete against one another – and they have lots of fun while they do it. They verbally joust with one another and pull pranks on one another. Even better, each week’s competition usually includes a special prize for the winner, as well as a you-aren’t-going-to-want-to-do-this consolation prize for the loser. Think: a behind the scenes tour of Alcatraz Island vs. being locked in solitary for two hours. 
  2. Know Your Competition – and Then Be Yourself. The brothers know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as each other’s quirks. So they’re often trying to guess what their brother is doing. But more than anything, they work with their construction and design teams and go with what they know and like best.
  3. Make a Plan to be Successful – and then Adjust When Things Go Wrong. House renovation never goes according to plan. No matter how much they budget and plan, and despite their individual expertise, Jonathan and Drew learn this week after week.. They plan like pros and adjust like pros – and they admit their frustration, too. 
  4. Don’t Forget to Include Your Family and Friends – Who Can Also Be Your Competition – and Have Fun! Drew and Jonathan’s brother, J.D., coordinates the show and shuttles judges back and forth between the two houses. Judges are often personal friends of the Scotts who are also house renovators or real estate experts, as well as TV personalities in their own right. And at all times, the interaction is laced with jokes, laughter, and good-natured rivalry.

The overall takeaway for me after watching Brother vs. Brother? Drew and Jonathan have discovered ways to enjoy competition and, behind it all, they are for one another, no matter who wins the contest.

About the Author

Things I Never Told You
by Beth K. Vogt
Beth K. Vogt is a non-fiction author and editor who said she’d never write fiction. She’s the wife of an Air Force family physician (now in solo practice) who said she’d never marry a doctor—or anyone in the military. She’s a mom of four who said she’d never have kids. Now Beth believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” A Christy Award winner, as well as an ACFW Carol Award winner, Beth’s first women’s fiction novel for Tyndale House Publishers, Things I Never Told You, releases May 2018.

Things I Never Told You
It’s been ten years since Payton Thatcher’s twin sister died in an accident, leaving the entire family to cope in whatever ways they could. No longer half of a pair, Payton reinvents herself as a partner in a successful party-planning business and is doing just fine—as long as she manages to hold her memories and her family at arm’s length.

But with her middle sister Jillian’s engagement, Payton’s party-planning skills are called into action. Which means working alongside her opinionated oldest sister, Johanna, who always seems ready for a fight. They can only hope that a wedding might be just the occasion to heal the resentment and jealousy that divides them . . . until a frightening diagnosis threatens Jillian’s plans and her future. As old wounds are reopened and the family faces the possibility of another tragedy, the Thatchers must decide if they will pull together or be driven further apart.

Click here for a sample chapter of Things I Never Told You.