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Collaborate or Compete, That is The Question

I want to make a post that is relevant to the general public about content creation. Since Facebook… or even friendster and myspace ( God I feel old!), Documenting our lives has been the norm for decades. This has evolved into blogging, Instagramming, and tweeting as some of the the heavy hitters for the globally social. This form of media has integrated itself so deeply that we have created industries. It’s not a mind-blowing fact since we’ve been doing this for a while now. 

Then again, when you think about it, it kind of is. Back then you had to be a published writer or journalist to make your voice heard. Now 1 in 3 people have their own online magazine. I’m Gen X so I knew what it was like to wait for the next issue of Seventeen as I was introduced to the world of Livejournal. I’ve watched friends make a career out of this new platform. It is mind-boggling to see how the world has changed. My point is that all of us are content creators. Every time we post a pic on our stories or feed, it adds to our image. By definition, we are all potential influencers.

What does it take to be an influencer anyway? Wreck-it-Ralph made it sound so simple. Didn't he? Do crazy things and the world can't to wait til you come up with the next gag. In real life, to create a meaningful image, you need substance in your content. You need to have ideas, reach out to others to get recommendations, network while making yourself stand out in the process. How do we do that when everyone else around you has the same goal?

Compete Vs. Collaborate

These days I'm at odds with whether I should be the bigger person and share my thoughts or keep them to myself. Apart from the battle inside my head, I get mixed comments. My brothers and sisters protectively say nay on sharing.  Then there's the younger crowd in Madrid always asking to hang out and pick each other’s brain. So let’s look at my experiences from both sides to see what conclusion we can come up with.

“Competition is always a good thing. It forces us to do our best. A monopoly renders people complacent and satisfied with mediocrity.” – Nancy Pearcy


Competition has always been in our nature. For me, I was raised with never giving away my creations. With good reason because every time I’ve let someone in professionally, I was taken for a fool. From doing translation work with the promise that I will team teach with someone in Dubai ( she disappeared with my work ), I was also told that the aerial apparatus I do was a “stripper thing” (Aerial Sling?! seriously!!) only for said studio owner to offer the same classes I proposed 3 months earlier. First of all, sneering at strippers is something to be ashamed of. It is a job nothing more, nothing less. Secondly, who do you think you are!? And three, the previous two should be enough! t So I don’t think anyone is really born a Doubting Thomas. Life chips away on you little by little. The finished product is up to us. That said, I also think competition keeps us sharp. We become more creative as we make our way ahead.

"Teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability." – Patrick Lencioni


I rarely have collaboration projects because of the experiences I mentioned above. The thing is, I’m surrounded by shiny happy bloggers helping each other out. I want a piece of that too! It’s very lonely coming up with content by yourself. Anyhoo, after getting to know a few key people in the industry, I have teamed up with someone who filled gaps in my style of teaching–of which there are alot. Those worked out well. For me, work with someone who contributes, complements and enriches your projects. Don’t commit to people with the same objectives or style as your  own. That will only lead to butting heads. 

Where I’m at right now

Weary but hopeful. This is probably the best way I’d put it. While I am still on the lookout for colleagues that I can trust, I have grown to be very discerning when I allow people in my professional life. I also know that I shouldn’t take it personally it’s just business— that and every other quote taken from the Godfather. Still, what could be more personal than creating and growing something yourself? If it wasn’t personal why work it as hard as we do?

What I’m trying to say is building your name is personal and it’s your livelihood. Its natural to be protective. We also have to realize that we can’t do it alone. So how do we become a cut above the rest while maintaining a modicum of humanity?

Here’s are the lessons I’ve learned so far

1. Be discerning . Really feel a person or a situation out first before you start brainstorming. Saves you alot of time and heartache.

2. Collaborate with someone who adds value to your offering not someone you will have friction with. You can be similar but not the same.

3. Forgive The ones who hurt you_but don’t forget their name. You can be nice without being stupid twice over.

4. Make yourself standout in your field by being yourself. No one can copy that.

5. Be reserved about your business. Remember you have the power to reveal as much or as little as you want.

6. Never stop researching about your field. This is how you’ll stand out. There’s no shortcut.

Invest in your training. You can scrimp on most everything else but not your education.

7. Re-evaluate where you are annually. You’ll be surprised at how much you have evolved into something unique.

“Creativity may well be the last legal unfair competitive advantage we can take to run over the competition.” – Dave Trott

Time heals all wounds as well as wounds all heals. Trusting someone, standing out from a crowd, forgiving someone who stole your concept, learning things, These don't happen overnight. So it’s on you who you let in or kick out. I can’t say there’s someone out there to be Yoda for you. I can’t say that your on your own either. I can say that there’s a big world out there for you to explore and experience. Hopefully those can teach you something.

Good luck Misfit Yogis

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