September 2, 2007

Judge Your Competitors!

If you believe the thought, "There is competition," then you will have thoughts about those with whom you believe you are competing. This could be someone in the same or similar business as yours...the sports team playing opposite yours...other single men besides you desiring the attention of the same woman...the other students in your class...other contestants vying for the same prize...people whom you think are better looking than you are.

Here's a piece on some of my "competitors."

Belief: They are selling something worthless.

Is that true? No. Many people buy what they sell, so it must be worth something to them.

How do I react when I believe that thought?

Inner eye-rolling occurs as I harshly judge what they're offering. I deem their product inferior, ineffective, derivative, lame. I see them as used car salesman, misleading people just to make a buck, all flash and no substance. I undercut their prices and self-righteously see their fees as too expensive. (I undercut my own prices when I do this, so that strategy's not so good!) I try to find and broadcast ways that my credentials trump those of the competition. (This could be seen as smart marketing, except it doesn't feel right to me. Honestly I can't think of a single credential I have that makes me better qualified than anyone else. If you are happy with someone's work and you benefit from the transaction, they're qualified.)

I feel separate from my competitors (I hate calling them that). I look down on them. I don't respect them. I don't attempt to form mutually beneficial partnerships with them. I don't steer business their way even when it makes good sense to as a service to my clients or to people I'm unable to work with; it might mean people would see more value in my competitors' products and services than in mine.

The first time this thought occured to me, I was a young woman, working for a respected and growing publishing company as the promotions manager. The new public relations director (she was my age, and we resembled and were frequently miskaten for each other) was getting a lot of attention and kudos from the higher-ups for ideas that were similar to ones I had previously presented myself. It felt like having a twin sister who was just like me, except our parents preferred her! I was very jealous of and intimidated by her status as the new department golden girl, and I stopped putting forth my best efforts, seeing our superiors as fools for falling for her "schtick." I got out of the department and into another one as soon as I could, so that I could be the star again.

"They're selling something worthless." What a stressful thought! When I think it, I'm looking for a superiority payoff, but it only keeps me in the uncomfortable position of opponent.

Who would I be without this thought? I would realize that there is room for me, for them, and for everyone, and that all of us are offering something of value to someone.

I'd be more curious about their products and services, in a way that could turn out to be very educational for me, in terms of understanding where people spend their money and time, and why.

I'd be more of an innovator, without having to see my offerings as better than anyone else's.

I'd admire and respect my "competitors" as colleagues, and I would be in community with them, trust them, encourage them.

I would be out of their business, literally, and in my own...more interested in developing my company out of my vision, my expertise, my creativity, my integrity, as opposed to comparing myself to others. I would charge what feels right to me, whether it's more or less money than my colleagues charge.

Turned around: "They're selling something worthwhile." This could be just as true if not truer. They are providing something that some people want, and charging what the market will bear. I am often blown away by the brilliance they exhibit in packaging their services the way they do, creating more value through all sorts of incentives and extras. It's not my way, and it's a perfectly good way.

Another turnaround: "I'm selling something worthless." I've had that thought; selling an image is worthless. Selling a promise is less than worthless! Workshops featuring new ways of applying The Work are just fine, as long as they really serve my clients and are not merely capitalizing on trends that are meaningless to me. Doing my work with all my heart is the only thing of value here. Realizing this helps me to craft marketing messages with integrity, communicate cleanly, and create new products and services that I love and feel good about putting forth in the world.

"I'm selling myself something worthless." That would be the ideas, which I've bought for a long time, that "the competition" isn't good enough, that they are luring unsuspecting innocent people with worthless or overpriced stuff, that their bonuses are bogus, and so on. These beliefs, unquestioned, serve me not at all.

Deepening Transformational Inquiry: Judge the Competition

Fill out and work with a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet on the person or people you feel threaten your status, your love life, your livelihood, your "place" in the world. It would be a great gift to our readers if you would like to post your realizations here in the comments.

©2007 by Carol L. Skolnick; all rights reserved.


Anonymous said...

Hi Carol,

Thanks for this posting - you inspired me to take a look at a belief I had around coaching - that coaching is bullsh*t - turns out that it's not true :-)

(Well, it's no more or less than anything else, including The Work).

I've posted it on my 'work' blog here.

With love and thanks - keep doing your thing,


Anonymous said...


I just realized what you entry on my blog meant about the bonus thing - I'm a bit slow today (come to think of it, today is no different than any other day).

Just thought I'd add this special bonus, never to be repeated, must end soon, only valid with a promotional code comment to let you know that I got the joke :-)

With love, Jon