How to Question Competition and Embrace Collaboration as a Business Model
What would your next project look like if you embraced the spirit of collaboration with like-minded people rather than as a competition for a limited market? Competition is all around. It is the business strategy embraced by most of America, and the world, even. It has been hailed as a motivator for success and a way to increase productivity and quality- at least that is what we are told. Recently I have come to question this idea. At the Yoga Healer Retreat in Mexico, I experienced being in a group of people who came to collaborate. We all had a common goal of creating dynamic programs to help our clients experience greater health outcomes, but had unique visions of what that looked like. What made our retreat experience so powerful was the lack of competition among us. This got me thinking about collaboration, and the way collective leadership, and mastermind groups work.
These are terms that have been thrown around a lot in recent years, but what do they mean? Collaboration. Collective leadership means that leadership powers are distributed throughout the group or organization. In a model of collective leadership all the people involved feel responsible for the success of the whole group- not just their own. In this model, instead of asking, what’s in it for me?, we ask, how can we all make this work better and reach more people?. In a mastermind group, individuals work with one or more people from different organizations to help and support each other in attaining goals.
During our retreat, everyone came from different backgrounds like yoga, massage, and business, had different life experience and points of view, and came from all parts of the country and world and had different target audiences. Yet we realized that we could all could teach the 10 habits of Body Thrive in our own unique ways. As a yoga teacher, I was able to share how I teach the breath and body practices habit to those who don’t have experience teaching. The massage therapist gave great tips on how to teach self-massage. The nutritionist had insights to presenting Healthier Eating Guidelines that I hadn’t previously considered. Those more skilled in marketing and social media helped me to choose the best online marketing products to better reach my target audience. We collaborated together to best name and package our services and businesses. Whatever our sticking point was, we could find support from someone in the group who could more objectively look at our challenges and see possibilities not previously seen.
There is Not Only One Prize
Competition assumes that there is a prize that only one or a few have earned. At the retreat, there wasn’t just one prize to be gained. There was no need to determine the BEST idea, who made more money or got more views on Facebook. We were instead aligning to the best version of ourselves. The spirit of collaboration in the air at the retreat created a safe space for me to open up and share. I walked away with not only a transformed business, but a new and updated view of my role as a healer.
Your Zone of Genius
We are all trying to find our ZOG or Zone of Genius — when we are truly working and living “in the flow state” – doing work that we love where our background, personality and natural talents are best used. In the process of uncovering our own ZOG, our views can be tainted by our own fear or self-doubt. When we work on this process in a group, we get to test these limiting beliefs. Others can often see our assets and strengths more clearly than we can, unclouded by our own unprocessed baggage. Our vision of ourselves and our ideal work, becomes more clear.
Give Collaboration a Try
Want to give collaboration a try on your next project or course launch? Here are a few tips for great collaboration:
- Set competition aside. Look at the strengths you have to share, what skills you need help with and see how you may be able to work together with others with advice, referrals and maybe even collaborating on a project.
- Be willing to listen and share your ideas on the forum, with your accountability partner, or with a group of like-minded people in your community. Many communities already have small business association or you may get up a group on your own.
- Let go of preconceived notions of lack or scarcity. Stop believing the outdated idea that there is not enough to go around and you won’t get your fair share. Releasing this limiting belief and be opening to the idea of abundance will help you build trust that there will be enough.
- Be ready to ACT on your vision. Release fears and self-doubt. You are trying to be the best YOU possible which is always attainable if you let go of the things holding you back. Then take action.
- Move out of your comfort zone and really listen when you collaborate. A good way to lean into your comfort zone is to try eliminating ”No but” from your vocabulary and replace it with “Yes and”. It’s amazing what can happen with this simple shift in semantics. Sometimes an idea that seems out of the question or makes you uncomfortable is just where you need to stretch yourself. Yes, I am uncomfortable with technology and I can set aside a little time to go on Mailchimp, or Basecamp or Google docs and make a start at setting up tools that will help me as I grow.
What would your life look like if you embraced collaboration rather than competition? Try it out and see. 🙂