Lions, Tigers, Bears, and Competition

What a headache!

Since you were six you had dreams of being the world’s greatest stand-up comedian…SIX!

No one could be the class clown like you were back in Mr. Harrison’s class. You KEEP your friends cracking up. Let’s not forget to mention family reunions -- there are no dull family reunions when you’re in attendance. Hey, what can you say? You're just naturally the funny guy/gal.

Over time you worked diligently to actually develop your craft by creating your own scripts, branding yourself through social media, and establishing a fan base. No one could deny your innate talents.

So what’s the problem? -- Now you think someone else is trying to steal your shine. In fact, that someone wants to be a comedian too -- a stand-up comedian at that!

Instead of accepting the fact that this person could genuinely have similar aspirations, you turn bitter and feel slightly threatened. Your focus shifts from improving your own craft to trying to stop the development of the “competition’s” craft. No longer are you concerned with succeeding based upon your own merit. Instead you try to formulate ways to cause the downfall of the other person.

“If you continuously compete with others, you become bitter, but if you continuously compete with yourself, you become better.”

The reality is you are not the only one with a particular dream. Yes, you should be passionate about your craft. Wanting to be the best at what you do is not a crime. HOWEVER, when you worry about someone else’s endeavors more than your own progression you subject yourself to failure.

For the remainder of this blog post, try not to think negatively of the word competition -- fellow blogger, Essence Sylvia Smith (founder of finESSe) even uses a strikeout when typing the word. It's safe to say that we are both not too fond of the word. In fact, coming together as two female bloggers to create this blog post revealed the beauty in unity.

The word competition alone carries such a negative connotation. There ARE healthy ways to interact with those who have the same passion as you. Consider these 6 Ways to Deal With the Competition from Essence Sylvia Smith, a blogger that I largely admire and myself:

1. SimplyMei: Actually mingle with your competition~

Now I know some may be thinking, “Has she lost her mind?” – I absolutely have not. I’ve watched many successful individuals fall victim to the “crab in a bucket” mindset. They reach the top and then perceive everyone else as a threat. Why? – because these individuals have adopted this crazy idea that there’s no room for more than one successful person. I despise that theory. By isolating yourself, you miss out on an opportunity to view things through the lenses of others, the possibility of wonderful collaborations, the establishment of a reciprocal support network, the chance to unify on certain issues and projects, and the possibility of creating genuine, new friendships.

Example: This blog post with Essence is the first collaboration that I have ever done with another blogger whom I admire. She reached out to me about a “blogger’s meet up” and I figured hey why stop there? The conversation went a little something like “Hey girl! I have this crazy topic idea, too, on competition. Would you be interested?” and she responded with interest (and even added her own touches to the idea). The rest was history. In the process of collaborating for this post, I realized how much we had in common (both black female bloggers – both members from Divine 9 organizations – both UNCC college graduates). This collaboration urged us to communicate a little more and has opened doors for future projects that I am excited about.

2. finESSe: You realize that you don’t have any-

Realize that you may sell a product or service that’s similar to someone else’s but not the exact same. You are in a lane of your own. Other people are there to keep you on your toes but you are your own entity.

Example: Meisha is a wonderful mom and some of her post discuss being a parent. I really couldn’t write about that topic because I don’t know about it. I can however write about being an Aunt. These are similar topics but from completely different perspectives.

3. SimplyMei: Don’t make it personal~

Accept it. There are different strokes for different folks. In other words, your particular project may not be everyone’s cup of tea. With that being said, don’t spend your time analyzing the competition’s “results” and/or success. Some people may prefer your competition’s work. Others may prefer your work. There’s no need to let this breed feelings of envy or animosity. Again, there’s room for everyone to be successful. Pursue your passion out of love. Be your own validation. Learn to celebrate others.

Example: I can scroll social media at any given time and find bloggers with more followers and views than myself. Some of these bloggers focus on fashion, some focus on food, and some focus on fitness. I have actually subscribed to many other blogs as I love reading them. Even if other bloggers have larger audiences and numbers than I do, I don’t let that damp my spirits. Why? I genuinely love being able to express myself in my own way. I don’t write to win an award. I write to express.

4. finESSe: Never compare yourself to the next person-

Keep competition in business aspect but not I your mind. Worrying too much about the next person is time wasted NOT worrying about you and your brand. Comparisons are inevitable but stop being afraid you’ll lose. Find your niche, perfect your craft, and run with it. Don’t try to be anything other than yourself, which means you have to like yourself first. And Like Jacque Amadi says “be your biggest cheerleader.”

Example: I thought of finESSe long ago but I let myself get in the way. I constantly worried about if I could be different. I wanted to stand out, I told myself that I wasn’t ready. I was the only thing standing in my way. Think about all the content I missed out on. Why did I want to try to stand out when I already do. I am Essence Sylvia Smith, and no one else in this world shares my perspective nor my stories. I don’t have to try to be different because I am different. I am me!

5. SimplyMei: Remind yourself of your “why”:

Even if you are in a field doing the same thing as others, you have to remind yourself that your reasoning is unique. Your passion stems from a place unlike anyone else’s. Sure there will be things many things going on around you, but it is important to have a degree of tunnel vision – or else you will find yourself adopting this idea and that idea. Unless you stay grounded in your purpose, you will find yourself just being a mixture of everyone else’s dreams.

Example: Writing has always been my outlet. I particularly like to channel personal experiences and things I’ve learned (through others) into my pieces. Though others may have been faced with similar challenges that I’ve faced growing up, how we experienced and internalized those situations are uniquely different – because no one person is exactly alike. My “why” may be different from someone else’s “why” but that is what keeps me true to myself. I encourage you all to hold fast to your “why” so that you do not get lost in trying to be like your competition.

6. finESSE: Lift as you climb-

· I can’t stand anyone who becomes really successful but won’t help other people out. My philosophy is this; we are all going to come up together. No, you can’t help everyone but you can do your part. What is the point of being successful if when you get there, you have no one to share it with?

Example: You often see me sharing others people’s stuff on social media. I am always texting people trying to get them actively involved in my dream. I live for a good collaboration. If there is an event I can support, I try my best to. I want to see everyone win. Though that may seem cliché it’s true. That one share on Facebook may help you reach three more people, that retweet or like though seems small could have just landed you 5 more followers. With these brands we own, exposure is key. We each owe it to each other to help one another. Find like-minded individuals who have a grind like you and passion to match. Find you a “circle” and work to keep building it every day. Align with yourself with positive people and help one another succeed.

I hope you've enjoyed these 6 points from Essence and myself. Please take a moment to head over to [ ] to read HER SPIN on this same topic. In fact, she brought up a funny point. Our different posts on the same topic (competition) is kind of similar to Brandy and Monica with "the boy is mine". What do you think?

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