When I was a practicing attorney, it felt to me like everyone was in constant competition with one another. I was competing with other attorneys for billable hours and clients. There was a feeling of competition for jobs and accolades. And of course, there was competition for “stuff”. You know- cars, clothes and friends.
I was fortunate to practice in Washington DC and have lots of wonderful colleagues and friends around me. So the impact of competition wasn’t so bad on me. Yet, it was the nature of the game. Or so I thought. It wasn’t until I had left the practice of law for several years that I started to really see things differently.
Fast forward 10 years later. Now, as part of personal brand development of professionals, I take a very different stand on competition. I want all clients to stay in their current careers. I reexamine competition for them to be able to do so effectively.
I believe that if we really know how we are unique and different, then no one is competition. Everyone is complimentary. This serves to reduce the stress of competing. It also serves to elevate our self-confidence and open our eyes to creative thinking and “being”.
One of my favorite quotes on competition comes from environmental scientist, Donella Meadows. Meadows profoundly stated, “…Yes, the earth says compete. But leave enough for your competition… Don’t annihilate….We are not in a war, but in a community…”
Case in point is the privately held company Patagonia. It was profiled in Fast Company Magazine recently. Run by CEO, Rose Marcario, a practicing Buddhist, the company is referred to as a paradox of sorts. Why? The company has ad campaigns stating, “don’t buy our products”. Yet in recent years Patagonia’s profitability and operations have grown. How is that possible? Well, in order to save resources on Earth the company values consumption based on your needs.
Guess what else? Patagonia freely shares it’s expensive R&D findings with its’ competitors. Why? As Marcario puts it so eloquently in her Fast Company interview, “Here, you can have our intellectual property because at the end of the day this will be better for the planet. If you guys (competitors) adopt it you can scale more, because you’re way bigger than us.”
And that’s called co-existing in a community, profiting AND having a fabulous personal brand (Marcario) and business brand (Patagonia). That’s what integrity in business looks like.
So what does this mean for you? Well, stop and consider:
– How much does competition drive your life? Does it feel healthy or obsessive?
– If you are ultra competitive, how do you show up as a personal brand to others- attractive or otherwise?
– What’s one step you can take to shift your way of “being” to view competition differently for yourself? Don’t wait to do so. Start now so you can transform your life, career and brand.