It’s Okay to be Friends with Your Competition.
I recall a podcast where a man said if someone is stealing your clients you shouldn’t view them as competition, but rather you should want them on your team. Also, something along the lines of (if people are stealing your clients) your system is weak + it needs improvement, so who better to befriend than your competition right? We shouldn’t be mad at other people for doing something BETTER than us, instead we should want to learn how we can improve our systems. Do you genuinely agree with that? Here is the link to the podcast/video and I highly recommend you all listen to if you own a business. Be prepared, it is an hour long, but you will finish feeling inspired and ready to take your business to the next level.
So let me get to what my real point is here for this blog.
I was having a cup of coffee with a friend of mine, and the discussion of competition – in the realm of our work – came up. (She is a lifestyle photographer, and I consider myself a fine art wedding photographer). We found it extremely hard to find friendships with other lifestyle photographers in the Baton Rouge area because everyone seems to be on edge with “competition” in the industry. In the last year I have met several photographers and it’s either one extreme or the other, for instance – We are either going to be friends, learn from one another, totally love/support one another, and genuinely hope others businesses succeed OR I can’t be your friend, I don’t like you, you are a threat to me, and you are competition.
The later opinion, is a very negative and common way of thinking. It puts you in a corner and limits your mindset to continuously being on the defense.
The biggest issue I have found with this way of thinking, when I have allowed myself to slip into this mindset, is that instead of running towards a goal, you are looking around + end up tripping on how someone is doing something better or more successfully than you. How can you dominate in your field if you are so busy comparing yourself to others? Is it possible to be inspired by other creatives, instead of threatened? Yes it is. I highly recommend changing our mindsets to be open to learn more, be inspired by people who are better at what they do, and challenge ourselves to be the best that we can be in life & business.
Here are a few quotes to conclude how comparison & competition is not how you will grow your business.
“I cannot say this too strongly: Do not compare yourselves to others. Be true to who you are, and continue to learn with all your might.”
― Daisaku Ikeda, Discussions on Youth
“Personality begins where comparison leaves off. Be unique. Be memorable. Be confident. Be proud.”
― Shannon L. Alder
“Don’t always be appraising yourself, wondering if you are better or worse than other writers. “I will not Reason and Compare,” said Blake; “my business is to Create.” Besides, since you are like no other being ever created since the beginning of Time, you are incomparable. ”
― Brenda Ueland
If we are truly confident in what we have to offer & are comfortable in where we are headed, we can lift others up instead of putting others down. We can learn from one another, instead of being afraid of being taken down by someone else’s success. Focus on your goals, dominate in your space, and let the pieces fall where they may. If someone gets in your way, don’t try and steal their crown, but instead admire their persistence + research how you too can succeed just as well as them. Happy Friday!
Here are a few photos from a group I meet with once a month called Tuesdays Together that encourages community over competition! Hit me up if you are interested in coming and you are in the Baton Rouge area.