When we break the barriers of competition we discover greater levels of success.

When we begin planning and building our websites and other marketing materials it is pretty normal and common to take a peak at what our competition is doing. There is nothing wrong with this if we are simply looking for inspiration, but when we are looking from a perspective of competition we are playing a game that can ultimately hurt our businesses, reputation and relationships.

Early on in my first business I discovered the ugly side of competition. I had just launched a new visual meditation series which included a weekly workshop and video replay of each meditation. This workshop had great potential in helping others looking for a shift in their life.

I hung up flyers all around town and promoted it on my website and Facebook. There was a pretty good response with quite a few pre-registered. Then all of sudden that good response went cold, and some of my pre-registers unregistered. A little confused and unsure of what to do I decided to make new flyers to post around town. I knew flyers don’t make or break our business but it was action and positive action so I went with it.

As I arrived at the first place to hang my new flyer I saw another flyer had been added right above mine, promoting a meditation workshop of another coach in the area. Each place I went I found her flyer. Sometimes above mine, some times covering it, and sometimes replacing my flyer all together. Not only that but this other coach was offering her meditation workshop for free and it was eerily similar to what I was offering.

As you can imagine I was hurt, and dumbfounded by this.

I was no competition for this coach. She was established and I was a newbie. Yet she chose to make me her competition. And for the next six months continued to take this approach to everything that I did.

Being a new business owner is difficult enough, and having someone purposely try to get in your way can add to the challenge, but only if you let it.

I knew in that moment that if I were going to succeed as an entrepreneur I was going to have to decide how I was going to deal with competition. Especially when it was competition that was purposely trying to overshadow me.

That is when I decided I didn’t believe in competition. 

Here is the truly ugly side of competition that we often don’t talk about.  When we look to others as “competition” we begin measuring ourselves against them, and often only give attention to the perceived faults we each have. We get off balance and lose sight our our ultimate vision and goals. We begin creating a separation of community and a “lack” mind set.  And all of this keeps us from reaching our goals and being the success we are meant to be.

This cycle of competition keeps us stuck, focused on what can hurt our business and keeps success just outside of our reach.

I didn’t like the way I thought or felt when focused on competition so I made the choice to believe in inspiration instead. Today when I come across a “competitor” whether it be at networking meetings, events or even just through my own web searches I focus on how the can inspire me and do al little reflection…

  • What do they do really well?
  • Are there times when potential clients could be better served by this person?
  • What do I do really well?
  • What actions does this inspire in my own business?
  • Am I only trying to copy them, or does this action feel really amazing?
  • Does this action align beautifully with my vision and goals?

This way of thinking shifts my focus from “lack” and begins creating a mind set of abundance, and feel charged by the ideas this other person has inspired.

I also make a point to connect with those who’s values mirror my own. You just never know what opportunities may arise and when you can work with others who’s values align with your own you have the potential to become unstoppable together.

Dealing with the Copy Cats 

I know most people do not see competition the way I do, or approach it from this perspective. So you are still going to run across the copy cats out there trying to out shine you to make themselves look better. When this happens, I suggest you … buy them a cup of coffee! 

For reals, I am not kidding. That is exactly what I did with the other coach who was trying to out shine me. I invited her to coffee, and when she said she didn’t drink coffee, I invited her to tea. I invited her to lunch and made a point to always say hi and give her a hug when we crossed paths in public. (We had been friends before the whole awkward copy cat thing so hugging wasn’t as weird as it sounds.) 

Eventually we found ourselves in the same restaurant one evening each having a solo glass of wine at the bar. She joined me and we had a great chat about life and business.  I learned a lot more about her, and I think she learned more about me.

More importantly we began to see each other as people more than competition. Sure we still had some services that overlapped, but we also both had a talent for helping people. We were just trying to make our own little corners of the world a better place. As you may have guessed, the copy catting stopped after that impromptu wine chat, because we were no longer in competition.

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