Building Connection and Avoiding Competition

Guys, I want to get real for a minute. Sometimes, people will be threatened by you. Sometimes you will feel like there is this giant competition and you are either winning or losing, THIS IS A GIANT LIE! There is no competition as far as personality goes. You will not be the right person for everybody and that is OK! 

You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.
— Dita Von Teese

Today, I had a great reminder of this. A reminder of why I am so eager to promote The Cultivate Connection and why I am so honoured to be leading my small business group.

Today, I was kicked out of a local networking group for responding to a post. The post asked people what they were launching and to share their excitement. I shared my excitement for The Cultivate Connection (without linking or tagging anything) just sharing my accomplishment that has been months in the making and congratulating people on their achievements as well (The other business that was mentioned in the post is my host for The Cultivate Connection). Immediately after, I got a PM from the group leader asking if I was promoting my event. I responded politely, telling her I was sharing what I was excited for and asking for clarification of the rules, saying that I know there is no linking or tagging of events, but I assumed I would still be allowed to share my victories in with my fellow business owners (a number of those are my clients as well). I wasn't replied to, just immediately blocked and removed from the group.

This common scenario is sad for a few reasons...

The first being I genuinely enjoyed the group and the ability to share information and expertise mainly in graphic design, branding and social media. The second reason that it saddens me is that this is a prime example of a person who only promotes connection and openness when it benefits them, their group or their events. There is no competition between our groups, mine allows zero self promotion and is specifically a place for people to ask questions and get answers for their small business questions, a lot of people are members of both as they have very different purposes. The Small Business Owners of Southern Ontario only runs events as a way to meet other business owners while learning about each others skills, and our events are by no means how I earn my income. BUT there will always be people who see competition where there is none, and guys, there is NOTHING YOU CAN DO TO PREVENT THAT!

A wonderful woman in my Inner Circle sent me a post saying, “The next time you doubt your idea (or your business) because someone else is doing it (or something similar), walk down the bread aisle!”

Everyone wants something different and in my business especially, I want to only work with people who want to work with me and who are excited about sharing and genuinely connecting. I don't ever feel threatened by other designers because by them doing well and promoting the need for graphic design, the industry grows, creating more opportunity for everyone.

The reason the Rising Tide Society is as popular as it is is because we as a people are tired of competition where there doesn't need to be any. So I encourage you, go to as many other networking events as you can, connect with as many designers, brand coaches and small business supporters as you can. Grow your business through authenticity and honesty and I will gladly cheer you on. Even if I am not the designer for you, I still want your business to succeed, because when small businesses grow, the economy grows, and my potential client base grows. It is petty and pointless to find jealousy in a group, or try and smash down someones excitement for their business, EVEN IF IT COMPETES WITH YOUR OWN.

So today, I challenge you to email your “competition”, make a friend, make a connection and be open and honest about how sometimes growing those relationships (and growing the industry) will benefit your business (and your personality) far more than any competition ever could, and in the meantime, I'll save my competitive drive for the Muay Thai mats.

Do you struggle with the competition mindset?