Competition - can’t live with it - really can’t escape it!
Today I’m exploring why obsessing about the competition can be SO damaging to your mental wellbeing AND your business, sharing a few surprising truths which might just help you reframe how you see the online world - and helping you focus on what’s REALLY important in your business.
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Competition: one of the first places your mind can go whenever you’re feeling a bit stressed or like things aren’t going to plan in your business! And even when we ARE really successful, we can still struggle with feelings of unease and anxiety about losing it all - so we can still be hypervigilant to who else is out there, who’s going to steal our crown?
Now competition is something that we ALL have to get comfortable with in business. It is ALWAYS going to be there, and even if you’re super-niche and super-specific about what you do - you can bet that there will be somebody hot on your heels, watching everything you do and copying your every move.
Or, at least, that’s what your brain would have you think!
You see, subconsciously we’re great at protecting our territory. We’re super-aware of threat, constantly tuned in to anything that might affect our chances of survival.
And of course we equate money and business with survival! So we’re always on the lookout for anything that might challenge that.
And far from being just a bit annoying, being copied can really shake our sense of safety and confidence to the core.
So the temptation when we’re feeling threatened can be to hold back, to keep all our good ideas to ourselves just in case anyone steals them… and of course we secretly worry that they won’t just steal them, they’ll do what we’re doing BETTER than us. So we tell ourselves that it’s safer to play small, to NOT put everything out there, just in case.
And often, when we’re feeling a bit triggered, we’ll start to really look out for those copycats, too. We’ll become hyper-aware and notice every little comment that sounds similar to something we’ve said, or thought. I’ve even known clients to waste hours scanning Facebook groups, or joining lots of new ones so they can literally stalk their competition and make sure they’re not being copied.
It feels in the moment very much like the right thing to do, to protect your brand - your territory. But in reality, it wastes HOURS. Putting all that emotional energy and time into something so negative and draining has a massive impact on not only your mental wellbeing, but also what you can achieve in your business.
Which, when you think about it, ironically gives the competition MORE chance of overtaking you and going one better!
Now of course plagiarism and brand copycats are something that should be taken very seriously, and it’s really important to take steps to protect your intellectual property if you have a brand you’re very attached to.
But what I want to dive into today is protecting you mentally from that constant worry, that constant stress about the competition. Because most of the time, it’s just not worth it - and it can seriously sabotage your success.
As we’ve seen - one negative side-effect is it can eat up hours of time and energy which might be much better spent focusing on developing your business and services.
Another consequence of caring too much about the competition is that our perception of the world tends to get very skewed… and all of a sudden we can actually find that we’re really struggling to come up with new ideas and insights. We can EVEN find that we end up so focused on what other people are doing, that we end up unintentionally mimicking THEM!
Because that’s one other little quirk of how our brains work.
We are constantly taking in and assimilating information, consciously and subconsciously, from whatever we’re exposed to in the world.
And if our exposure is ALL about the person or people we’re most worried about - then we’re going to end up unconsciously bringing their stuff into OUR world. It becomes our frame of reference. Meaning that rather than coming up with great, new ideas of our own… we all slowly become carbon copies of each other.
And what do we need to do in our marketing, to get noticed and get clients? We need to be DIFFERENT. We need to be UNIQUE.
You’ll notice this with pricing, we’re always checking what everyone else is doing because we don’t want to stand out!
Something else we really need to do in our marketing is to share lots of VALUE, to illustrate to clients just how good our services are! Because sharing value is really what provides the bridge between people thinking your service might be ok and knowing they can trust you.
So when we’re not able to freely share our tips and ideas for fear of someone else stealing them - we’re also cutting off the link that invites clients to take the next step into our world. Retreating into that scarcity mindset breeds more scarcity in our reality.
This is why it’s so important to be able to give freely and be generous - it’s absolutely true that the more generous you are in business, the more it comes back to you.
It’s so important to stay open and abundant in our thinking to attract more abundance - it’s not just some ‘woo woo’ theory, it’s the way our brains work!
Now the truth is that most of the time - there’s actually far less threat and far less competition than we think there is.
I’m going to take you on a little journey now to help you understand how your perception is warped, not just by your brain but by the online space.
So firstly, from a brain-based point of view - our brains filter our reality, as we’ve kind of mentioned.
Now that’s because if they didn’t, we would just be in constant sensory overload and we’d never be able to make a decision! Our brains HAVE to filter our world to make it liveable.
SO we think of ourselves as very broad-minded, but actually we have a very narrow filter of experience. And our brain matches our reality to what we’re expecting to see.
You may have heard of something called confirmation bias - that basically means that our brains seek to confirm what we believe to be true. So if we are worried about the competition, all of a sudden we’ll notice them WAY more because our brain will be primed to pick up every little detail about them that enters our world.
And when you’re in a particular industry this happens anyway - your brain knows that your work is really important to you, so it is hyper-focused on supplying you with more information about work. Which unfortunately means you tune into what everyone else in your industry is doing way more than you notice what’s going on in other fields!
Not always so helpful and definitely likely to make you think the competition is everywhere.
Now this is absolutely compounded by the internet and its wonderful algorithms. Social media companies, Google, even the news - everyone is intent on showing you content that they think you will click on. Because showing us ‘relevant’ content is how they keep us going back for more!
Guess what comes up as ‘relevant’ for you? All those other coaches, therapists, businesses doing similar things to you. So your newsfeed gets flooded with posts from that person you’ve had your eye on who’s really annoyingly similar to you.
I had this on Facebook - still do. My newsfeed is absolutely saturated with ads from coaches telling me how I can get more clients, more money and sort my mindset out! NOOOO Facebook, just no!
So we have to be aware of this, recognise what’s happening with the algorithms and recognise what’s happening in our brains - and almost choose to opt out of that information.
What do we really WANT to see. What is REALLY useful to us in driving our business forward right now?
Once we’ve made that choice and decided to pour all that mental energy into creating our OWN best stuff rather than worrying what everyone else is doing - we can really start to fly and create something that is so much more personal to us and, of course, our clients.
If you have any specific questions on this or anything to share, I would love you to join me over in my FREE Facebook group, Unblock Your Business to continue the conversation!
And if you’d like to check out some free resources to help you build confidence and focus, take a look at the FREE stuff section over on my website www.unblockyourbusiness.com. There’s a free guided meditation you can download, confidence and money blocks cheat sheets and a free guide to imposter syndrome. Enjoy!