Community vs. Competition
Do you ever feel like your competition is always one step ahead of you? Always the first to come up with some fancy idea or the first to start a trend? Often times it can seem like everyone is always trying to "one-up" one another and it becomes less about showing off your own skills and more about how you can beat out everyone else.
While some ideas are truly are deserving of a creative high-five, let me tell you this, the notion that you have to be competitive with others in your industry is all a lie.
The illusion of competition is so deceitful that it often convinces us that we need to be the best at something in order to be successful, no matter the cost.
But, what if it doesn't have to be this way?
What I believe
Growing up, and even into my adult years I've always considered myself a "competitive person". Most people don't like to be bad at things, but I guess you could call me a "Type A" perfectionist/ overachiever. I worked my ass off to be the best that I could be at everything I did.
There are times I suppose where this type of thinking can be beneficial, but when it comes to owning a business in a small community, I had to deliberately make the decision to alter my mindset. Instead of making a competition out of every photo shoot, or client price battle, I chose to develop a sense of community, and WOW has it changed everything.
Choosing community over competition acknowledged that I am a part of something rather than trying to prove that I am "the best" at anything, because, let's be honest, is anyone really "the best"?!
I consciously make the decision on a daily basis to encourage, uplift and promote other photographers in the Mid-Michigan area. Once I made the decision to do this, I saw others throw some love right back at me, and boy does that feel nice!
Now, I'm not dismissing the fact that friendly competition can be healthy for both photographers and the local market. It can, in fact, be the spark that ignites a bit of growth for a creative individual, however, I don't believe it should trump the masses to the point of creating a toxic ebb and flow.
"A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms." - Iris Murdoch
Learning to embrace the thought of being a part of a community has opened up many new doors for me and allowed me to make many friends that share the same passions that I do (How cool is that?!). This community that I've found myself apart of has not only helped me grow as a photographer but allowed me to connect with other individuals who are facing many of the same challenges that I do as a small business owner.
It truly is incredible to find your "tribe" of people who understand, relate and can help you be the best that you can be. It also invites an opportunity to learn from one another so we can all become successful, together. After all, we are all after the same basic goal- success.
So what do you think? Is it more important to be competitive with others in your industry, or is striving to be a part of a community the way to go?