There’s a passage in one of Pema Chodron’s books that calls one daring if one chooses not to shut anyone out of their heart, or to call anyone an enemy. It goes on to say that if we do this, then we have to accept that we can’t make things absolutely right or wrong, that we can’t find one “true” take on any situation, because there are as many takes on a situation as there are people in the world.
At my Crossfit gym, even though I exercise with a class, and we’re all trying to complete certain exercises for time, or for some number of accomplished sets, we’re not competing with each other. Danny, my trainer and the owner of the gym, says that after about five minutes, you won’t even be able to notice that there are other people in the class, because you’re locked into doing what YOU need to do to succeed. You compete with yourself and yourself alone.
It’s a difficult philosophy, but one that I admire for thinking about business.
When I remember to think like this, business settles back into being about what it should be about: satisfying my buyers and creating value for them. When I accept that others will see things differently, and if I can really accept that and just nod at the sound of my name in their complaints, then I can go back to thinking about the people who’ve gathered around me as a community to seek tools to move things forward in their own lives and businesses. When I realize that my main competition is myself, and that I could’ve done this better, or I could’ve added that value to their experience, then I can work on what truly can be changed: my own efforts.
Competition is Real
Competition is “real” to most people. They worry that I (or you, or Google, or the other plumber) will steal their customers away, that they’ll be lured away by shiny talk and pretty pictures. Competition, to most people, is about fears of an outside source affecting their plans and intentions.
To me, competition is to remember to stay focused on my community and my buyers (not always the same people, by the way). My competition is with doing the research that doesn’t get attention or praise, and then making that research into something that is worth time and sometimes money to my audience. My competition is with struggling when I’m not succeeding, and finding the belief within myself that I’m going to succeed, if I can keep my community first and foremost in my mind when working on things, instead of worrying about myself.
Hard To Do, But Worth It
This philosophy has been quite worthwhile to me. I have been quite successful in my business, when I do this. It’s when I worry about what others think and do, when I worry about pleasing everyone instead of serving those who matter, that I make mistakes. Is it something for you to think about? I’m not saying that. But I’m over here working to make this philosophy my traveling companion.
What about you?