People worry too much about winning meets when they're starting out. Eventually, it should be about winning meets, but when you're starting out where you place does not matter. One reason is that you never know who is going to show up. You could total your bodyweight and win...or you could put up a huge total and get completely stomped.
Doing a meet gives you an objective way of judging progress. You know that between a certain date and another date that your squat did this or that under specific circumstances. Many people who just lift and don't do meets end up waking up years later realizing they've put 5lbs on their bench.
Not to mention that most people will perform a lot better under meet conditions than they will in training.