Design is not a competition. It is not about ego. It is about doing the best job possible for your client. If winning a competition helps the client (or helps you keep your client) that’s fine… but it should never be the primary goal of the work.
I’ve both judged and won competitions, and, although it feels good to be appreciated, the platitudes I am most proud of are the surveys in which our ads were the ones that stayed in the minds of the readers over all others in that particular publication. It told us that we were doing the best job possible for our client.
And that, in the end, is the point.
(this post was inspired by a rather gloating post on Google+)