Friday, July 13, 2007

Pimping the So-Called Competition

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In March 2007, I took it upon myself to share some thoughts in "No Such Thing as Competition." It was about how we are trained to believe in competition whether we're in business for ourselves, seeking to climb the corporate ladder or get ahead.

Tonight, I have an another opportunity to touch upon this subject. I stumbled onto a very informative blog called "A Newbie's Guide to Publishing" by JA Konrath. Even though Konrath happens to be a mystery-thriller author, his material applies to everyone who dreams of getting published. But I'm getting ahead of myself here. While I realize some of you may not necessarily want to be an author, I am sharing one of his articles because it touches upon the competition issue. We'll get to his piece in a moment.

Many of us have cultivated a set of erroneous beliefs that we need to be stronger, faster, smarter, prettier or thinner in order to get our hands on the "prize." Remember the opera singer in that YouTube video? Even though he was surrounded by others who were also vying for the top prize, he was truly in a class all by himself. If you missed it, you can see it here.

Society teaches us that there are only winners and losers. We're also taught that there isn't enough to go around. But the truth of the matter is we attract what we are thinking. If you think you will experience competition, that will be your experience. It's the same thing with the idea of scarcity or winning/losing.

You might be thinking, "Well, Stephen, what about those people who didn't win?" "Isn't it a fact that only one person got the top prize, while everybody else lost?" "Isn't that by definition competition?"

It's all a matter of perception. The ones who didn't get selected were not meant to get it. The universe had other plans in store for them. Perhaps they will succeed at another event, leading them to even bigger things. Maybe they will be led down a path they were supposed to be on in the first place. It could be that the timing wasn't right. From a cosmic, spiritual point of view, everything happens for a reason and therefore, there's no such thing as competition. Take my speaking career as an example.......

I've not, to my knowledge, had to "compete" for a speaking engagement because I've never had to answer to a bunch of decision makers sitting around a table, trying to decide who to hire because I haven't attracted those kinds of clients.

The universe attracts the right kind of clients to me because my life's experiences cannot be claimed by anyone else - they are my unique signature stories. There are certain corporations, colleges/universities, nonprofit organizations that are looking for what I have to offer. They find me in an easy and effortless manner. They are drawn to the unique blend of my life's experiences along with my speaking voice (go to my website and see the clips if you haven't been there before and you'll see what I mean), which puts me in a class of my own. Now, while not everyone will like my style, my personality or even my voice, there's still plenty of business to go around because there are those who believe in their heart that I am right for them.

Almost all of my speaking engagements have come through word of mouth, networking and/or through the presence of my website. I've not had to "fight my way for a speaking engagement" for the fear of being beaten out by another speaker. Either people want to hire me or they don't. It's that simple!

It is because of this way of thinking that I have absolutely no qualms about promoting other speakers, even if they talk about the same kind of topics that I speak on. In "No Such Thing As Competition," I wrote about Wendy, a speaker/writer from the Creations Thought blog and have mentioned numerous other speakers before and since that article. And you know what? Virtually all of them have reciprocated in one way or another. Either they gave directly back to me or someone else did.

Let's turn to Konrath's cleverly titled article, "Pimping." Here is an author who actually goes out of his way and "pimps" other authors' books, giving booksellers and book buyers a reason to buy them!

Why?

Because it is smart business. Think about how you would feel if someone you originally perceived as a "competitor" was out there promoting you and/or your products/services? Wouldn't you feel grateful enough to want to return the favor? Of course, I'm assuming you're like the majority of human beings with sufficient emotional intelligence and not some cold, heartless uncaring person. Most people would be so grateful they'd bend over backwards to reciprocate. It can't be helped. It's the old "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" kind of thing.

The pimping concept has merit because it is applicable regardless of what you do in life. You could pimp your co-worker by heaping praises on that person in front of the boss or a big client. Or you could pimp a fellow speaker, author, blogger, business person, pilot, teacher, sibling, etc. You get the idea.

Here's an excerpt out of Konrath's article:

This isn't a competition. We're all in the same boat, and helping each other is smart business. It reminds me of an old church sermon about heaven and hell.

Hell is a huge banquet, with every possible delicious food imaginable. But everyone seated at the table is miserable, because the only way to eat is with forks that are ten feet long, and no one can feed themselves.

Heaven is also a huge banquet, with delicious food. And heaven also has forks that are ten feet long. But in heaven, everyone is happy, because they're feeding each other.

Feed each other. Pimp your peers.

Food for thought: Are you pimping for other people, helping them get what they want?
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2 Comments:

Anonymous Carolyn Manning said...

Forever, we've heard "one hand washes the other" and "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours", but now that you've put it as "pimping" each other, it's sure to make people sit up and pay attention, Stephen. Geez, if only I'd thought of it first :)

2:32 PM  
Blogger Stephen J. Hopson said...

Carolyn:

Thanks for your comment. Yes, "pimping" is certainly an interesting way of putting it, isn't it? I'm glad you enjoyed this article!

3:50 PM  

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