Entrepreneur, Community

Boss Talk: What are Your Thoughts on the Phrase "Community over Competition?"

Episode 222: Show Notes

Today we are welcoming you to a brand new series that we are kicking off right here, right now! The monthly series is called Boss Talk and it’s an unscripted, uncensored, roundtable, brainstorming session between Abbie, Emylee and our lovely visiting guests. We’ll be diving into hot topics in the industry right now and will kick off every episode by posing a question to each of us in the discussion, which we’ll flesh out throughout the show. Today’s question is, “What are your thoughts on the phrase "community over competition?" And here to help us answer it, is the delightful boss babe, Steph Crowder of Courage & Clarity.

Today we are welcoming you to a brand new series that we are kicking off right here, right now! The monthly series is called Boss Talk and it’s an unscripted, uncensored, roundtable, brainstorming session between Abbie, Emylee and our lovely visiting guests. We’ll be diving into hot topics in the industry right now and will kick off every episode by posing a question to each of us in the discussion, which we’ll flesh out throughout the show. Today’s question is, “What are your thoughts on the phrase "community over competition?"  |  The Strategy Hour  |  Think Creative Collective

Here in this series, there is no holding back, no sugar-coating, no censoring. It’s just us, cracking open beers and navigating important questions that you’re probably wondering about too… So, are you someone who is all for community, or all for competition? Or is it about striking a healthy balance between the two? But how do we do that and are authentic communities really possible? This is an important and topical debate across all industries right now and one that we’re not sure people are speaking about as honestly as openly as we’d like. This series is all about real, off-the-cuff, honest opinions and if that’s your jam, then come and join us!

Steph’s Initial Reaction To The Question and Why It Is Counter-Intuitive

So, what are your thoughts on the phrase "community over competition?" It’s a loaded, juicy question, right? Is this phrase true? Are we honoring the phrase as creative online business owners? And what does the phrase mean for us? Firstly, if you think this phrase is counter-intuitive – Steph believes that this is very normal. When Steph first heard this phrase, she was kind of like, “Ooh, that would be cool if it were true, but you almost can’t believe it!” What it comes down to at its core for Steph, is a very necessary shift from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset. In order to embrace this mentality, you would have to be of the mind that there is more than enough of the pie to go around and that is a really difficult thing. Many of us have been raised in a world where there is only so much wealth and resources and sometimes the natural instinct is to think, “Well if she’s getting more of hers, I will get less of mine.” The more Steph moves away from that thinking, the more expansive and free she feels. Overall, Steph has experienced so much more growth in her business when adopting the community over competition mindset. So, Steph is all for community over competition. But of course, there is a way to be smart about it.

Do Authentic Online Communities Exist and Why Do So Many Of Them Fall Apart?

As much as this mentality is something to strive for, Abbie on the other hand is so competitive by nature and the poverty mentality is how she was raised. So moving toward a sense of community is not natural for her. Even when scarcity is at the core, it manifests so differently in each of us. For Emylee, if she thinks about the phrase and how it relates to her own business, TCC, and the community they serve, she sometimes wonders, “Is it all fake?” We have resources and free stuff for people and a lot of people reach out to us to say that it has helped them so much, but if the goal is to create community, have we actually done that? This is what Emylee thinks about because on a lot of days, she feels like she hasn’t.

So what does community even mean? If our aim is to create community and foster connectedness, that’s one degree more difficult, more meaningful and more important than just creating kickass courses and content. Because frankly, anyone can do that. So why do “communities” never seem to last? Whether it’s a pop-up coffee group, or a once-a-month business dinner night, or an after-work creative lab – communities come and fade so fast. We don’t have the answer but we have some pretty decent guesses... 1) It’s probably a logistical nightmare managing that level of information and admin and 2) The true essence of community over competition has to be grassroots. It has to start from the ground up. That’s often where these things fall apart. Everybody in the community has to feel equally a part of it and committed. It cannot just be spearheaded by one person. A lot of people sit around in a community and wait to be led. If you want to be part of a community over competition, you have to put yourself out there. You have to seek out your community.

Fragmented Communities and What We Can Learn From Churches

Perhaps true communities are really only possible in smaller settings. Perhaps the more people you get, then the more complicated and inauthentic it gets. Either that, or there ends up being fragments. You get little pockets of people within that bigger collective who find each other and run with it. Emylee is sitting here wondering, “Hmm, what can we steal from how successful churches are?” If you take religion out of it, churches have created the most intense communities ever. Is there anything that businesses can replicate from this model? Abbie attends one of the biggest churches in the county and she believes that what builds a great community is A) A very strong leader. B) Common belief systems and values. C) A sense of openness and a lack of judgement of others. Can the mega community that churches offer be replicated in any other type of business? Well, where it might start to go south in the business world is where money comes into play. Let’s just say here that churches in this scenario are not about any individuals personal wealth and gain. Maybe it is really about trusting that the personal gain will come as a result of being truly of service to other people. When you are really giving a quality service to others, elevating others, shining a spotlight on other people and genuinely trying to make other people’s lives better. Maybe that is when communities really flourish.

How Do You Keep The Blinkers On To Your Competition and Stay In Your Own Lane?

For us at TCC, we believe that if someone else can help our audience get where they need to go, we are going to get you to them. Because you come first and you are free to participate in anyone else’s jam! We have our strategies and methods, but that doesn’t mean they are going to necessarily work for you. So we have no problem tooting someone else’s horn, like Steph’s for instance. Because we appreciate and value what she does and what she offers. The three of us are in a Mastermind together and we are all educators of women entrepreneurs. If Steph had let the worry of sharing her “secrets” with other women in the same field, she says she would have missed out on so much, and vice versa for us. You don’t have to do this all by yourself and there is so much to be learnt from your “competition.” And that mentality does take a sense of maturity.

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I am all for community over competition. But of course, there is a way to be smart about it.
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But what happens when there are outright copycats? For Emylee, imitation is not the highest form of flattery – it is illegal and it should be punished! But all stealing aside, if we talk about healthy competition and bouncing ideas off of each other, that is a great space to be in. And you can’t be so insecure that you are not willing to share anything with anyone in the fear that they might steal it. Comparison is the thief of joy and when you get stuck in comparison mode, you block yourself off from receiving and from having fun. Community over competition does suggest that you have confidence already in your unique differentiator. So, when we do come together, we bring our unique flavor to the group and that is when things get powerful! We’re not saying blend in and be the same as your competition. We’re saying recognize that you are different and find cool ways to come together. There is space for everybody to play in the sand box and have a great time while doing it!

Bring The Beef: Remember Who It Is You Are Serving

You just have to decide who is your cup of tea and who is worth spending your time and your thoughts with. Because there are of course people in your industry that you just don’t like. So hit unsubscribe sister! The community over competition mentality does not mean that you have to like everyone and support what everyone does. You do not have to be nice to, or friends with, assholes. Community over competition is not to be confused with the “work.” Your peers are not your people aka the audience you are serving. So, make sure that you are not spending most of your time talking to your peers about your plans and marketing etc, make sure that you are talking to your people! Community over competition is a great strategy but it is not a replacement for your audience.

Study Those You Wish To Become and Remember It’s All On You

Going back to the poverty versus abundance mindset; Abbie read a great quote from Madison Binding that reads, “Study who you want to become.” Is this a helpful strategy or is it too closely linked to the comparison game? What comes up for Steph is a podcast she is obsessed with called The Robcast. He has an episode titled “What To Do With Your Ambition.” Rob has these little red flags to watch out for to see whether ambition is taking over your life and one of them is your response to your competitor’s success. An overly ambitious response is jealousy. When your ambition is in check and is just a part of the show and not running it, you can look at their success and be excited. Because it shows you that it is possible. If you are in a healthy place to study your competitors it should elicit a response of “That is so cool,” when they are successful.

But sometimes the success of others will manifest in jealousy and so you need to measure where you are at with that personally. You are only human, so be aware of your reactions, the space that you are in and check yourself on your feelings. It is up to you to change the way you react and feel towards others. Observe your responses without judgement, but with curiosity because it’s all on you boo! Find this topic interesting? Then share your thoughts on the Facebook community and let’s continue to chat it out.

Highlights

  • Steph’s Initial Reaction To The Question and Why It Is Counter-Intuitive. [0:03:49.1]
  • Do Authentic Online Communities Exist and Why Do So Many Of Them Fall Apart? [0:05:44.1]
  • Fragmented Communities and What We Can Learn From Churches. [0:15:56.1]
  • How Do You Keep The Blinkers On To Your Competition and Stay In Your Own Lane? [0:23:32.1]
  • Bring The Beef: Remember Who It Is You Are Serving. [0:30:40.1]
  • Study Those You Wish To Become and Remember It’s All On You. [0:34:50.1]

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