We have a very perplexing way in which we view our competitors.

It is an “I” or an “US” versus “HE” or “SHE” or “THEM.”

It is not uncommon for me to hear:
– “I can’t believe they were chosen for that magazine feature over me.”
– “How could that person get hired?”
– “What was that client thinking hiring them?”

Often we will then dismiss the event as if it was a mistake, or that the client does not know any better or made their decision for all the wrong reasons. Sometimes we even go as far as to put blame or critique onto the client.

“They can’t be that great of a client if they would hire that person.”

Perhaps sometimes that may be accurate – but let me ask the question, is this the best process for looking at our competition and when they get hired? Does the frustrated dismissal of the project, the client and the competition benefit yourself or help you get closer to achieving your goals?

In our brand new episode of The Pro Exposure; Jason Black and I discuss this very topic of competition and how to better deal with it – which you can listen to for free here (and I strongly encourage you to check it out of course!)

However in this specific blog post I would like to address, more specifically, the resentment many of us feel when a competitor achieves success. And I’ve been just as guilty of it as those of you reading.

There are only two ways we can look at business and competing against others for work.

The first is that in order for one person to win; someone else has to lose. I witnessed this first hand when the economy went down a few years ago. I saw a lot of photographers struggle in their business. I was embarrassed to admit that my business was growing out of fear of being vilified as the photographer “stealing work” for those who have been doing it much longer than I. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t receive a few unsolicited comments and snide remarks from other photographers for the business I was building.

The other way to look at it, and the way in which I’ve pushed myself to embrace, is that the more wins anyone within an industry has – the more opportunity everyone can eventually share. As an industry becomes more successful – it grows. The more it grows the more opportunities, projects and people become associated with it. Consider the health and fitness industry today to even just five years ago. Thus, one person’s success does not equate to another’s failure.

Now certainly, we all can become territorial with our clients, our projects and our creative passion. But the truth is that competition drives us. It pushes us to be better, faster, stronger, creative, innovative, unique and so on!

Okay so they got hired for this project. What are you getting hired for next?

James Patrick
Twitter @jpphotography
Instagram @jpatrickphoto