Why I Train My “Competition”
Let’s talk about cultivating an abundance mindset.
One year ago, on a weekday afternoon, I sat in the offices of Wharff-Lackey Accounting and Technology to discuss my latest proposed business venture, RN2writer. I always get my accountant, Robert’s, advice and input on important business decisions, because I value his knowledge and expertise. And I’m the type of person who likes to understand the big picture before I plunge into something.
“I’m really excited about this project,” I told Robert. “I first launched it in 2014, then put it on hiatus, and now I feel very motivated to bring it back. But I want to understand how it might affect my financials and my taxes before I make a final decision.”
“Tell me more about what this is, exactly,” Robert replied.
“Well, it’s a website, basically, where I plan to offer coaching to other nurses so they can become successful freelance writers, too,” I said.
“So, basically, you’re going to be training your competition?” Robert questioned me.
I laughed, because that’s now how I see the world at all.
“I see it more as ‘training my colleagues,’” is what I remember saying in response, though the actual words are lost to memory.
What is an Abundance Mindset?
Before I answer this question, I want to make clear that “abundance mindset” is in no way related to the so-called “Law of Attraction” – a concept I do not subscribe to (and, in fact, have little time for).
No, “abundance mindset” (or “abundance mentality”) is a worldview that sees limitless possibilities. The concept may first have been articulated in the popular book The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People by Stephen Covey.
Under this theory, an abundance mindset is the opposite of a “scarcity mindset” that views the world as a place with a limited number of opportunities. A person with a scarcity mindset tends to look at the world as a pizza, with a finite number of slices to go around. A person with an abundance mindset sees unlimited pizzas with plenty of slices for anyone who wants one.
That Time I Got My Head Bitten Off for Requesting a Fellow Freelancer’s Editorial Contact – and the Marvelous Thing that Grew Out of It
During my 20+-year career as a freelance writer (in case you didn’t know, I started freelancing on the side way-back-when, even before I became a nurse), I’ve encountered a great many writers with a scarcity mindset. In fact, I remember the very first time I timidly approached a veteran writer to ask if she would be willing to share an editorial contact – because I had a dynamite pitch that I thought was a perfect fit for a publication she frequently wrote for.
You would have thought I had asked her to throw a kitten onto a bonfire.
She wrote me back and not-so-tactfully informed me she did not share editorial contacts with others and that, frankly, my request was out of line.
Clearly she operates under a scarcity mindset.
Now, let me say this: I also do not willy-nilly share editorial contacts with people I don’t know. When I share an editor’s email address, it puts my own reputation on the line – and some writers have been known to abuse these types of situations saying I “recommended” them to the editor, when I did nothing of the sort.
But at the time I made this request of the writer mentioned above, I was not exactly a “novice” writer anymore, nor was I unknown to her. I certainly would not have abused the situation, which I made clear to her in my request. So, her response was disheartening to me, to say the least.
However, one good thing came out of this – a huge thing, actually – because I told myself then and there I never wanted to be like her. And that’s when I began to purposefully cultivate an abundance mindset.
The Rewards I have Reaped from Abundant Thinking
If you chat with nurses who have contacted me on an informal basis for advice about freelancing, you will quickly learn that I freely share information. I don’t hold anything back. I don’t try to keep anything secret.
In fact, during my appearance on Lisbeth Overton’s wonderful Divine Downloads podcast, she said to me something like, “Without giving away the farm…what can you tell us about how to get started as a writer?” – to which I laughed and shouted, “Oh, no! Let’s give away the farm!!”
I truly believe that. I truly believe I lose absolutely nothing by sharing everything I know about freelancing.
But back to how an abundance mindset has affected my writing business.
As soon as I began more freely sharing information with writer friends about various opportunities – or even helping them get work with my own fantastic clients – I noticed a strong uptick in inquiries from new prospects. I noticed that other writers began reaching out to me with leads. My revenue began to climb.
But those weren’t the most important rewards I reaped from developing an abundance mindset.
No, the most important reward was this: I felt good.
In the past, I’d been sucked into the abyss of scarcity thinking. When I started freelancing full-time, I jealously guarded my contacts and opportunities. I didn’t share anything. Ever.
And I felt an undercurrent of stress all the time. I mean, guarding things and keeping them secret takes a ton of emotional energy. Sometimes people try to gain access to your trove by asking for contact information, and then you have to wrangle feelings of selfishness and guilt for saying no.
I never felt good in the scarcity mindset.
Now, though, I feel good every day when I go to work. It makes me happy to help others and see them succeed.
That’s why I laughed when Robert, my accountant, asked me why I “train my competitors.” Because, honestly, I have no competitors – only colleagues. There’s plenty of work and business success for all of us. And it makes me so happy to help my colleagues succeed.