The GIFT of competition (how I learned the hard way)
I know a little story about competition and resentment between two strangers over the interwebs, and it goes a little somethin' like this...
When I started my first blog Modish, way back in 2006, I had a real issue with what I then deemed my "bloggy nemesis".
At the time I had what felt like a really original blog, one around a topic that I couldn't find any other blogs about yet, so I started one myself. Then about two months later, she started a blog that was styled way too similarly, covering the exact same topics and people as I was!
It seemed like every move I made from then on- every new addition, change of focus or new idea for expansion that I would implement- she was hot on my tail, releasing or changing or implementing the SAME EXACT THING a short while later, without fail.
It was as if she was watching my every move, studying it, seeing if it worked for me and then saying, "Cool, now I'll just do that!"
I could. not. let. it. go. It was INFURIATING! APPALLING! ANNOYING AS SHIT!
After a few YEARS of watching this woman "do this to me" over and over again, I became so consumed in my resentment toward her for "copying me", for stealing MY ideas, for taking credit that was due to ME, for edging in on MY community of people and MY niche, that it became a constant source of stress and aggravation in my life, consuming my thoughts.
Between working my butt off to try to come up with cool new ideas for my business and keep it fresh, I was stalking her on twitter and reading every new post she wrote just to see... to see how similar it was to mine, to see what she was stealing next, to prove to myself that she was purposefully doing this to me!
I was obsessive and so angry about it.
Then, probably not by coincidence, A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle landed in my lap, and there was a particular passage in it that shouted at me and made me realize that all of that "MY MY ME ME" stuff was really just my EGO getting in my own damn way.
Our ego is the part of us that wants to be seen.
It wants to be recognized, acknowledged and appreciated.
The ego is that part of us that wants to be FIRST! BEST! ONLY!
So when we start to compare ourselves to others, or get caught up in competition or rivalry, it's our ego that feels the affront. And it tries to combat that "affront" by arming us with feelings of resentment, envy, scorn, hatred, powerlessness, diminishment. Our ego wants us to fight! To claim our territory!
But in reality, the only person I had been fighting with the whole time, was myself.
The person who was receiving the most hurt and pain from these horrible, negative emotions, was me.
The only person who I was stopping from doing anything or keeping stuck, was myself!
We can create our own misery simply by comparing ourselves to others.
When we try to keep score, keep up, get ahead, one up, be the best, be SEEN, we tend to focus all our energies on what our competition is doing, rather than on what we want for ourselves.
We tend to lose sight of our own priorities and talents and direction and get derailed, ending up stuck in the muck and mire of our own negativity.
Once I realized how much time and energy I was putting into resenting this person, who mind you was basically a stranger, I decided I didn't want my ego driving this train anymore.
I unfollowed her on twitter. Stopped looking at her blog. Cold turkey. Just put absolutely no more energy put into it.
I felt so much better. Moved on. Eventually even forgot about my ire toward her.
And wouldn't ya know it, by the time I looked at her blog again many months down the road, it had some new, original things going for it! She was starting to find her own voice. We even eventually worked together a few times and formed a cordial, cooperative relationship as blog buddies in the same niche.
Now, looking back on that time when she was the Newman to my Jerry, I feel grateful for it, because it spurred me on the path of finding my truest, most authentic way to present myself in this big ol' online world.
And being true to myself is something that NO ONE CAN COPY.
Competition itself is not the issue. It will always be there- in business, in relationships, in life.
There will always be people around you who would rather duplicate, than originate. Someone 10 steps ahead or nipping at your heels.
They aren't the problem. They will be forced to either fall off the wayside or find their own paths eventually, too...
It's how you perceive your competition, how you react to it, that changes how it affects your life.
From my experience, I've learned that competition doesn't have to be an obstacle, it can actually be an absolute GIFT.
Competition is a spur for growth and an opportunity for change.
Competition helps you narrow-down, focus-in, refine.
Competition makes you strive, innovate and unleash your best efforts.
Competition helps you understand & uncover what is truly most unique about what you have to offer.
Competition strips superficiality and half-heartedness away, and sinks you down into your truest depths until you discover that what you're putting out there is so uniquely and authentically you, that you have no real competition after all.
Competition can truly be a gift, if you just let yourself see it that way.
MO MOJO Qs for you:
Have you let feelings of resentment or envy towards your competition hinder you in the past?
How are you going to shift your perspective and stop comparing yourself to others to be able to move forward and grow?
Want to learn some simple techniques to find mo mojo during the daily hustle?