Do You Compete … or Collaborate?

Just today I saw an article about not wanting our competitors to be seen on LI by anyone who would be looking for someone who has the same type of job that we do. The basic premise was that we would only want someone to read our stuff and never even consider looking any further.

The comments that I saw all pretty much agreed, and I was struck by how sad that made me.

A few years ago, as ideas about our mindset being of growth (always learning) or fixed (I know all I need to know), abundance (there’s enough for everyone) or scarcity (there will never be enough), I began to realize what mine is: Growth definitely. Abundance, equally so.

And of course I also realized that many others – all good, loving, caring, kind people – have a different way of seeing life. Maybe it’s due to how they grew up. Maybe it’s because of their internal wiring. Maybe it’s because they’re just comfortable that way and never thought to question anything.

I’m no psychologist, so I can’t talk about the “why,” although I’ll bet my friend, Melissa Hughes, Ph.D., can.

So I wrote a response that I hope doesn’t come across too harshly, one that pretty much sums up how I operate and why.

“And you know what, (article author)? 

“From reading the other comments, I appear to be the odd one here, but I don’t give a rat’s rump if someone sees others who do what I do! I learn from my “competitors” every time they put a post or article out, and I know they learn from me. I don’t expect everyone to want me, specifically; even though there are probably thousands of editors/copyeditors/ proofreaders on LI alone, we’re still all different. We have complementary skills, but often used in a different way. We’re in different specialties (I rarely work on fiction.) We’re in different countries, so we have different ideas about our jobs, how we go about them, and literally how we use language. 

“Heck, several of us have formed an informal LI circle, sometimes even referring a prospective client to one of the others due to availability, time, type of client, etc. We routinely like, share, and comment on each other’s posts and articles. We all appear to have the same mindset: abundance. There’s enough for all of us. We routinely ask each other questions about how they’d handle something. We build each other up, and we’re all better for it.

“I completely understand your viewpoint, though; please believe that. I know for many, it’s a perfect way to keep the focus on them. My life’s mission, though, is to help others learn, and if they don’t think they can learn from me for whatever reason(s), I want them to keep on searching until they find the right teacher! And if they see someone else they think would be a good fit, great! 

“Sorry if this is coming across as moralistic or anything like that. That’s not my intent. I just think there are times when collaboration pays off far better than competition does.”

One book that brings the ideas of growth or fixed mindset to us is Mindset by Carol Dweck. Written in 2006, it’s still full of great info about how what we think we are governs who we are and will continue to be.

And there are hundreds (thousands?) of books on abundance vs. scarcity to read (just check the terms out online).

So, all in all, I wonder how this strikes you. Are you familiar with these concepts? Do you know how you view the world and how it helps you?