Grow Your Work — By Ignoring Your Competition

gardenThe other day I taught an “Inspired Success Boot Camp” workshop which is all about taking your life’s work to the next level.  Part of the training of “inspired success” is paying attention to where you feel “Alive” in your work, and where you start losing confidence.  A young woman, I’ll call Mandy, asked a question—for all of us.

Mandy talked about her new floral business.  She shared, “I look at the websites of other florists to see what they’re doing, and I end up feeling bad.  They have so many great pictures of their arrangements, and I don’t. Then my energy crashes,” she said.  The room filled with writers, coaches, nutritionists, therapists, and other entrepreneurs of every size and shape groaned in agreement.  We’d hit a universal problem.

Whoa baby, I know all about what I’ll call the “compare –if- you- dare syndrome.”  It’s not pretty.  I looked at what other coaches were doing.  I’d swim in their websites and get lost.  As I marveled at all their marketing, I’d get funky.  Pretty soon I’d be just about to order their grand package and everything they had.  Some days I thought maybe I should just get it over with and recommend all myclients to them, because clearly they had better programs.  It was then I’d realize, that maybe I’d gotten a bit distracted.

So here’s my Inspired Success Tip: Don’t look at your Peers, look at your People.  The more you focus on “your people,” the audience you serve, the tribe (even of one) you have reached, the more you build your passion.  The more you engage your passion, the more you find your voice.  The more you find your voice, you find your brand. Focus on your people.  You have your people.  And you have something sacred, singular, and invaluable to offer them.

This has been one of my best strategies for building my business.  If I focused on “my people,” the ones who did love me, the ones I wanted to reach, I grew in enthusiasm and creativity.  I didn’t focus on what I was lacking.  I wasn’t conscious of the bells and whistles that I should have had.  I was too busy moving forward, growing my talent, expanding my connections, building the heat.  So go ahead, and study “what you don’t have” if you want to, but I’d rather you spent your time offering your love to the ones who want you, finding your vibe, the place where you catch fire, and allowing your audience to tell you what they want and how to reach them.

“But I can learn from others and how they’re marketing,” I often hear from clients.  I agree.  If you do it wisely.  It’s good to see other styles and springboard from someone else’s creativity.  But here’s my advice.  If you want to “steal ideas” from other people’s websites, then go in like a burglar– not a stalker.  Limit your time.  Go there for what you came for.  Don’t start browsing, and flicking through their books, checking out their family photo albums, and sifting through their journals, and reminiscing with their memories.  Stay clinical.  Notice their techniques, their sales language, the way they display things, and if there’s something that might work for you.  Then get out.  Stay clear in your focus.  You’re not there to compare yourself.  You’re there to assist yourself.

You know me.  I’m metaphor girl.  So I have to offer it up–because that’s just how my mind works.  So, if you’d just met the guy of your dreams, what would you think the best way is to keep him?  Shower him with love.  Or study what all the other beautiful women out there have that you don’t have?  Yes exactly.  Best to chain him down completely.  But seeing as it’s against the law, I’d go with the showering of love.

Here’s another metaphor I’ve used repeatedly with myself.  If you’re busy looking at your neighbors gardens, feeling crazed because they grew their roses so plump, you’re not watering your own.  Water your roses.  You can’t pay attention to and nurture the growth of your flowers –if you’re obsessed with looking over the fence.

Stay in your yard.

Water your roses.

Love your life.