Collaboration Over Competition

When I started my Facebook group for participants of the Initiate Design Challenge, one of my goals (and fears) for the group was communicating the importance of two things: 1) there is space for everyone, and 2) collaboration over competition

It can be really easy to feel like you’re falling behind, in a group where everyone has the same goal: find the confidence and learn the techniques to publish designs. The green-eyed monster of envy starts to creep out when you notice that a fellow aspiring designer’s pattern has hit number one on Ravelry’s Hot Right Now. You wonder to yourself, “Why can’t I do that? I’m such a failure. I’m not cut out for this”.

This type of thinking is dangerous and a form of self-sabotage. We are our own worst critics.

One of the earliest lessons I had to learn was recognizing that not only was I my own worst critic, but I was LITERALLY my own worst critic, because I was wrong! I can create my own beautiful designs. I overcame a challenge, therefore I am a success and I am definitely cut out for this line of work.

When we have a competitive mindset, we see the pie as limited: when someone takes one piece, that’s one piece less for me. Resources are scarce so I need to get ahead of everyone else, in order to snatch it all up and ultimately push them out of business. This will ensure my prosperity.

 This is a really ugly way of seeing things and I highly encourage and challenge those who are struggling with this to shift your mindset from competition to collaboration.

In a collaborative mindset, we are sharing our knowledge and resources with each other. We encourage and truly support one another’s efforts. It doesn’t mean we should become complacent and stagnant with our own work—no.

We can find other’s efforts and growth inspiring. Use that inspiration to put yourself outside your comfort zone and really challenge yourself to create the best version of yourself.

And if you really want to break the numbers down, the pie is big enough for everyone. There are over 6 million Ravelry users, with about 5,000 at the high traffic levels, daily. Certainly we can see that out of those numbers, there’s an audience and fan base for everyone.

So now fiber bosses, I would love to hear your thoughts! Has this been something you've been struggling with? How are you dealing with it? Are you currently living in a collaborative mindset? Share your thoughts below and I would super appreciate it if you would share this article and spread the good will around.