No Contest

You might already know this about me, but I really dislike most things corporate. In fact my opinion on the matter is so big and so loud that I don’t think it’s wise to go much deeper than that. I’ll go right off the rails. I despise big business. ‘Nuff said.

But I love small business! LOVE. IT. I love building businesses, I love being part of a little team of people trying to change the world, I love flexibility in my days, I love feeling self-sufficient.

You might also already know that I worked for Amazon.com… twice actually… once when they were still a small business and once as a giant corporation. I think you probably know which experience appealed more to my sense of order, but again, that’s a conversation for another day.

From 1998-2001, I worked in low rent buildings in sketchy parts of Seattle with my fellow 20-something Amazonians who also enjoyed staying up all night, working in pajamas during daytime hours, and cubicles tastefully lit with Christmas lights. We were kind of a big deal. 🙂

Actually we were nothing at all but a bunch of people who really believed in what we were doing. We had all the latitude to create processes and change things. To vocalize concerns or issues and to remedy them as a group. Looking back on it, I can totally see how much those few years shaped the kind of worker (and person) I would be.

I loved working at Amazon in the 90’s.

One of my biggest takeaways from that time was the continual reinforcement of the idea that we were concerned only with ourselves. We actively were not competing with anyone. (OK maybe eBay, a little bit, but I mean c’mon it was eBay)

Our stated mission was to only concern ourselves with what was on our own plate… we weren’t worried about what others were doing, we were going to make history and we were going to do that by being as amazing as we possibly could. Full stop.

The higher-ups knew how that was going to get done on a grander level, and down below they gave us all the space we needed to flourish in our work environment. They empowered us to grow. They made us so concerned with our own thing that all we wanted to do was make that thing the best we could possibly make it.

I love that philosophy. I have carried it with me for over 20 years of my life. It informs a lot of my moves, personally and professionally.

Be so concerned with your own thing, that other people’s things aren’t even a blip on your radar.

You do you.

What other people are doing is none of your business anyway.

The other day I was listening to a podcast that I love, and the guest was talking about this very same concept. The comment she made was that she isn’t too concerned about competition because there’s no other her.

What she’s offering is always going to be unique only to her, and naturally it can only be that way. The more she tries to embody others, adopting their moves, the more she’s going to lose herself… the one thing she truly has… her uniqueness.

Her unique offering to the world from a perspective that only she can give.

That is such a beautiful thing, if you think about it.

No one can take your you-ness.

Even when they’re offering the same thing. It’s really not the same at all.

There’s quite a bit of competition, or so people think, in this little town of Vallarta. I have my theories on why, but that too is another topic for another day. I’ve been here close to 4 years now and I gotta say, there’s a good bit of ego going on.

I see it play out in a lot of different professional and personal situations… there are an awful lot of people who go out of their way to sabotage people and keep them down, and it’s ugly to see.

Particularly when you don’t identify with that behavior, like, at all.

It’s even worse when this combative, egotistical behavior happens to you personally, which it did recently. Luckily I already understand that’s not how any of this works. I’ve already grasped my uniqueness so I see the situation for what it is: a person whose world is so small that they misjudge their own size in it. A person so concerned with what I am doing, that they cannot train their mind on their own thing.  

When you’re the kind of person who pushes people down so you can rise up, you need to understand that you’re no longer concerning yourself with what’s on your own plate. You’re concerning yourself with what’s on theirs.

While they’re honing their craft, getting even better at what they do, you’re not.

I just don’t believe there is any competition between us, not in the traditional sense. It’s a philosophy that’s embedded way down deep in there, in the core of my being. I believe 100% in you, and in me. As individuals. We both have unlimited badass potential and no one can take that away from either of us.

Well, we can take it away from ourselves I guess.

If you want to give me that power, go right ahead.

I already took mine for myself, but I’ll take double.

*****

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