John F. Kennedy is credited with saying, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” I like the saying because it is a call to action. It is a call to let go of scarcity thinking and a call to embrace the benefit of someone you might see as a competitor.
In Simon Sinek’s book ‘The Infinite Game’, he shares how Apple welcomed IBM to the PC market in 1981 when Apple could have seen them as a big unwieldy competitor. In the full-page ad they ran in The Wall Street Journal the headline read, “Welcome, IBM, seriously.” They explained how they saw the competition between IBM and Apple would push both to excel, helping both companies to achieve their goals and benefitting the consumer in the end.
Locally, I know this happens in the Craft Beer Scene. Locally, if a brewery is short on an ingredient or a packaging item, they will share with other breweries. This ‘co-opetition’ comes from an understanding that if all breweries are successful, it makes the whole industry successful. If one wins an award, it is celebrated, because it gives validity to the whole local scene.
Do you have a Worthy Rival, as Sinek calls them?
Is there a colleague who you see as a competitor for top position or the best projects or the next promotion?
Is there a company you watch so that they don’t get ahead of you, or beat you to the market or in a bid?
What would it look like if you embraced them and the benefit that the company or the industry experiences because you are both striving for excellence, and they push you to reach higher?
There is a lot of unnecessary energy that is spent on worrying about defending against a perceived competitor. What if you spent it just getting better and being excited by the race?
My wish for you is peace and it can come by seeing the value and benefit of competition.