Zoning out the murmur of my mom’s Indonesian sinetron, I sit in my bedroom with Google Hangouts opened on my phone. A swarm of messages from my adviser spam my screen as he announces all of the contest winners from the Chicago JEA/NSPA convention. I expect him to say my name, but before it can happen, he says, “Congrats to everyone who placed!”

It’s clear by now that I am an overachiever. I constantly push my limits, accomplish more than I ever expect myself to and earn awards for my work. Since I’m so used to this trend of winning and recognition, I sometimes get too cocky and expect myself to do well in whatever I compete in.

Something changed, though. Over a week ago, I participated in a write-off and didn’t receive anything. For the first time, I didn’t even take home an honorable mention. Although I wasn’t surprised by my loss because I was tasked to do a music review, which I have never tried writing before, my ego was still bruised.

This sense of failure didn’t last very long. As my adviser sent out a list of all the awards my classmates received, my heart felt warm as I read the names of my newspaper staff come after “honorable mention,” “excellent” and “superior.” Actually, knowing that they all won awards made me feel more like a winner than the time I was chosen as room representative for the Las Vegas Sun Youth Forum.

Not to brag, but I work for the best journalism staff there is. They may or may not know this, but they’re hard working people who have a passion for our publication. I believe that as long as they put their minds to a task at hand, they can achieve great success–and their accomplishments prove me right.

As co-editor-in-chief, I’m starting to realize that I need to be selfless in order to be a good leader. I shouldn’t sulk over an award that I didn’t receive or feel envious of my staff members. Instead of obsessing over awards, I should just focus on helping my staff work towards their goals as journalists. By doing this, I won’t have to over achieve to feel like a champion anymore–I’ll already be one.

What is the most important leadership skill?