Feelings and Competition

Feelings and Competition
Photo by Matthew Brodeur / Unsplash

Picture yourself and a hundred other souls stranded on a remote island. You wake up and jump right into the daily grind of hunting, fishing, and cooking. It's simply your way of life.

But, one day, as you struggle to catch elusive fish, a spark of ingenuity ignites within you. So, you venture back to your secret cave.

You grab some sticks, flint, and rope, and begin fashioning a tool to revolutionize your survival. Some time passes, and finally, you've finished it.

You've created a bow!

Excited about your invention, you proudly march back to camp and unveil it to your fellow islanders. Their initial intrigue quickly turns to skepticism as they trial your creation.

"Sorry, this makes no sense to us, we don't want to use this," they declare.

Defeat hangs in the air, casting a shadow over your ambitions. But, the sun sets, and when it rises again you have a new idea. So, you return to your makeshift workshop. This time, you grab a longer stick and a bigger piece of flint, and in the afternoon you craft something new again: a spear!

A new weapon that connects you to your primal instincts, a tool with the potential to change the game. As you test it out, the satisfaction of a successful catch courses through your veins.

Eager to share your newfound discovery, you rush back to camp. To your astonishment, you find your fellow survivors waist-deep in the water, with a pile of fish laid out on shore.

"What's going on here?" you inquire.

"Oh, this morning Jax made us these poles for fishing. They work really well, we've caught hundreds of fish already," they respond nonchalantly.

Disheartened, you retreat to your cave, grappling with mixed emotions.

Back to the present

Over the past year, my focus on startups has taken a bit of a backseat. I used to believe it was due to a fear of failure. Or, possibly I felt burn't out and simply needed a break. And, it wasn't until recently that I realized this isn't the case.

I don't mind failing.

Just like the island story, I don't mind it if the group doesn't like my bow. If I have to go back to the drawing board again and make something better, then that's what I'll do. That's what I strive to do regardless.

So, what has been holding me back from diving into a new startup venture?

Well, I've realized the crux of my hesitation lies in my aversion to competition. I find it challenging to navigate the negative emotions that accompany the competitive landscape of innovation. It's disheartening to witness other products surpass yours in features, gain more traction, or appear more polished.

And in the world of entrepreneurship, it's impossible to ignore the competition. As an entrepreneur, staying informed about the competitive landscape is part of the job.

So, that makes things extra challenging for me.

My primary drive in creating things has always been the same. I want to manifest my vision in the world, to craft something exceptional. However, to do that there's challenges that come with exposing one's heart to a fiercely competitive world.

Copycat products will emerge. Some copycats will emerge and grow even faster than you will. Somebody might call your product the copycat. The fact is,

There is a product or person in the world that is better than you. Always.
But...But I'M The Best. GIF - Kanye West But Im The Best Best - Discover &  Share GIFs

And, as a first step, I think I need to internalize and accept that fact. Jax might've made the fishing rod for the whole village, but do I accept defeat at that point? Or, do I go back to the drawing board same as I did before?

I need to learn how to follow my own creative vision, rather than the world around me. Instead of viewing competition as a hindrance, I should reframe it as a source of motivation and inspiration. If a competitor is growing faster than me, I should figure out why. Instead of feeling jealous I should feel curious.

Likewise, it will be important to build a support network of like-minded individuals and mentors who've been in this position before. Everyone, even those at the apex of their field, have felt this feeling before. So advice or support shouldn't be hard to find.

Finally, I want to set myself clear goals. I want to create objectives that flip the game from being me vs. them to being me vs. me. By measuring success against myself, I can maintain that sense of fulfillment regardless of external factors. To do this, I plan to put up a weekly revenue chart. I want to keep my focus on Spencer Today vs. Spencer Yesterday, regardless of the state of the competition.

In conclusion, this is something I've been thinking about lately. I don't have the solutions, and likely it will take me a lot more time to find the solutions, but I felt like I needed to jot these feelings down. If you're also an entrepeneur who has felt similar, what works for you?