Growing up, I always felt I was a pretty competitive person. I wanted to be “the best” at anything I did. (Type A, perfectionist, overachiever…what ya wanna dub it, it has it’s pros and cons). Sure, that attitude probably served me well in the college app process. But living in some competitive, high school-esque bubble is only realistic in one setting: high school. Once you hit college and the great “real world” beyond, it’s a whoooole different ballgame. When once you might’ve been a big fish in a relatively small pond, you now realize you’re actually a small fish…in a really bigass pond. For me, going to college was the most humbling experience. And it was a huge time of personal growth, development, and blatant transformation. Then and now more than ever, “community over competition” and “a rising tide lifts all boats” rings oh so true.
If you’ve been hanging out around these rosy parts for awhile, you probably know that I’ve had many bouts with anxiety that made their debut during my time at UPenn. As dramatic as it might seem, I had a quasi-full blown identity crisis when I wasn’t “the best” at something anymore. I hadn’t realized growing up how much of my own personal value I placed in being “the best,” – and how I basically considered myself worthless or a “failure” if I wasn’t numero uno.
Community over competition means acknowledging that the whole point of life is *not* to be “the best” at anything, really, beyond being the best YOU.
Community over competition means using your time to serve others via what you do best, lifting them up even higher than you’ve been lifted yourself.
Community over competition and blogging
One of the most common emails and messages I’ve gotten has been “What’s your #1 tip for blogging success?” Another biggie: “How do you build relationships with other bloggers so that you get _____?”
First thing’s first: you build relationships with other bloggers to have relationships with other bloggers. Stop adding “so that you get ____” on the end of your sentences. Eliminate the mindset that relationship-building is for anything other than just that: building relationships.
My #1 tip for blogging success is to embrace community over competition like it’s your job. Because in a way…it is.
As bloggers, our whole schtick should really be about creating these awesome communities online. That is, if you truly want to flourish and create this awesome, growing, thriving hub of dynamic conversation. If you’re just in it for free stuff and pretty pictures and don’t really give a hoot about it being a two-way dialogue, that’s your call – I’d just bet money that you won’t get as far as the rest of us. 😉 In this digital day and age, it’s the easiest it’s ever been to see behind the scenes and see into the lives of everyone and their mom. Hiding truths to come off as “cooler” actually just comes off as you hiding something to try and get a competitive edge. It’s obvious. And it’s equally obvious when you have the opposite approach – one that is community-centric and really focuses on building others up and helping others out along the way, instead of simply harboring on your own personal, lonely path to “success.”
Building others up does not bring you down. Helping someone out does not inherently hurt you. Light only gets brighter by being shared.
Whether you’re a blogger or not, the more you help others and give of yourself, the more people notice and respect you for just being a good freakin’ person.
The Key: Give of yourself expecting NOTHING in return. Don’t expect people to follow you back, or exactly reciprocate whatever you do for them. That’s NOT relationship building – that’s mooching and trying to manipulate the system. It’s fake. And at the end of the day…it’s useless.
Long term growth and success ONLY comes from genuine giving – building GENUINE relationships. If you have a friendship built solely on tit-for-tat things, I hate to break it to ya: that friendship is not going to pass the test of time.
Community over competition means giving, giving, giving, knowing that karma uuuuusually comes full circle, but not expecting her to right this very second.
Why it’s even more beneficial:
It helps others while simultaneously forcing you to grow and blossom into your bigger, better best self.
I try to give-give-give all the time. There have been so many times where someone in my family calls me up, thinking I’ve “lost money” in my business because I gave something away for free via a blog post instead of turning it into a paid product, cos the deets I’m spillin’ are JUICY AF.
That’s A-OK by me.
Because the second you stop thinking you’re giving away everything you know and start readily sharing everything you know, your world will change.
First off, you’re going to become smarter. Simply because you’re going to realize that considering yourself as full of knowledge as you’ll ever be is a downright dumb mindset. Instead, be in a growth mindset. Always learn. Always develop. Always try new things. And suddenly…you’ll never be out of information to share!
Second, the more you give, the more you’ll sell. Even if you’re not selling a tangible thing, you’ll “sell” more, because you’ll instantly be deemed more valuable by seeming like this endless vat of information – rather than a closed off hub of one or two secrets that pretty much stop in value there. You’re not “losing money” – you’re setting yourself up to make even MORE money in the long run because you’re simply going to become even better and even more worth everyone’s while.
Because building community builds trust.
Building community builds this thing that’s bigger than you.
And honestly, for the profit-hungry naysayers in the room…being community-driven actually *helps* your business model, too. Because guaranteed, people will buy whatever shtick you’re selling when they actually know, trust, and like you.
I have ZERO problem selling things. Why? Because I put my heart and soul into every single blog post, and I KNOW that it’s not holding anything back. I know that YOU know that. So I know that you know that when I do sell something to ya (like BossPitch, which is relaunching SO SOON OMG)…it’s gonna be the same thing: not holding anything back, completely all out, balls-to-the-wall in value.
When you’re giving things away to your community and making it worth everyone’s while, you’ll be forced to step it up even MORE when it’s time to expand your business.
Can community over competition be hard?
Abso-freakin-lutely. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t totally mentally taken over by negative thoughts or comparison and competition sometimes.
Why does she grow faster than me? She must be buying followers!
How did she get invited on that trip instead of me?
Once I collaborate with them, too, then I’ll be on her level.
No, Erica. You’ll still be on *your* level. And that’s totally okay.
I heard this quote once that just sticks like glue: “Jealousy and resentment of others’ successes may be a “normal human response,” but it does not mean it’s a good response.” Focusing on “the competition” does one of a few things. It a.) sucks any semblance of joy outta yo’ moment, b.) hardens your heart to friendships and collaborations within your own field, c.) slows you down on your *own* path to your *own* success, or d.) all of the above. No bueno!
There’s a difference between “Why not me?” and “Why *her* and not me?”
The first option focuses entirely on *you*. It sets the sky as the limit to what you can personally achieve, and it eliminates any sort of hindrance or boundary on your potential with the idea that there is really truly positively no good reason why you might NOT be able to do something – you have it in you to make it happen.
The second? It positions your success as dependent on someone else’s “failure” – which isn’t good, OR true.
A rising tide lifts all boats…
Competition is healthy when it’s not at the expense of others.
Embrace community. Learn from each other. Celebrate each other’s successes. Realize that it’s not all about you – OR them. A rising tide lifts all boats. There is NO LIMIT to success in this world.
Sit on that thought for a hot sec, wouldja?
There is NO LIMIT to success in this world.
You can succeed…and so can she.
YOU CAN BOTH DO IT.
So why the hell would you root for one of you to NOT make it?
On your journey, “failure” will still happen. But there’s a difference between “failure” happening for more natural reasons (bad timing, lack of resources, poor biz intellect, the market, etc) versus “failure” because of competitive deceptive and manipulative, malicious intervention.
Whether or not you’re a blogger, I’d venture to guarantee that you’ve felt the whole “community over competition” thing at one point or another in your own life. Whether it was (or is) with someone in the office, a classmate in your group project, a fellow mom in the pick-up line, or your next door neighbor, there’s always someone around to play the “grass is always greener” came against. But when you stop comparing your grass to theirs and realize that your own grass is only greener where you water it, your whole world will change.
Stop focusing on how you “measure up” to the them’s of the world, and start focusing on how you can grow and bloom alongside them.
I feel so dang #blessed, because many of my best friends I met…on the internet. I’ve met some of the absolute best friends and best people I’ve ever met ever while “on the job.” And we’re doing something that has a reputation for being this not-so-little bubble of secrecy that just festers competition. But instead of feeling overwhelmed by a sense of “everyone’s out to get me,” I feel so at peace and so. stinkin’. lucky, because I can’t even count on two hands alone how many amazing women I’ve met through blogging when community over competition is the reigning mantra.
To my #Bloguad – Taylor, Chelsie, Amanda, Rachel – you guys have already changed my life more than you know, and I could not be more obsessed with our girl gang. We are squad goals. Thank you for restoring my faith in women supporting women, and for being just the bombdotcom.
To Nina – I swear it was straight up GOD that brought us together. You’re not only one of my best friends on the entire planet, but you’re like my soul mate that helps bring me back to the most important course of all (#Jesus) and live my best life with Him. ‘Twas honored to be a part of the biggest day of yo’ life.
To Kallie, Helene, Taylor, Summer, Samantha, Brittany, Shelbi, Molly, Chelsea, Tiffany – I’m so grateful to know you all, and to be getting to know you all more every day. I can’t wait to see where this year takes us.
To close, “The creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not the desire to beat others.” – Ayn Rand. Dare to achieve and bring others along for the ride. Because…a rising tide lifts all boats. It really does.
How do you believe in community over competition?
And two of my blogging gals, Summer and Chelsie, are also March babies! So continuing on in constant community over competition spirit, wish ’em a happy birthday wouldja?
P.S. THANK YOU all for all of YOUR birthday wishes to me this past weekend! It really made my day to wake up to so many sweet messages, Snaps, tweets, and comments from y’all just being the bombdotcom. Thanks a million. You’re the best.