I read a great post yesterday over at Rosalilium, and followed some of the conversation it sparked on Facebook.
The general thrust of the conversation was: competition bad; collaboration good.
Wouldn’t it be lovely if bloggers could support one another without question, celebrate others’ successes as we would our own, and view each other as peers?
And I’ve got to be honest – my gut reaction is to say no.
Put it this way – have you ever read an article that wonders why men in business can’t support one another, and be more brotherly? Have you ever seen a man in business be criticised for being too driven, too focused on success? When a man loses out on a contract to a competitor, do we expect him to smile and say, “Having you win is almost as good as winning myself!”
It’s a conversation we have about women.
And that’s why I refuse to join in.
I’m a woman, and I’m competitive. I’m competitive when I play scrabble with my Mum. I’m competitive (in my head) against the other women swimming in the pool each morning. And I’m competitive in my work.
I refuse to apologise for this.
Being competitive means I look around at what other people are doing, and what I’m doing myself and I’m always asking, “How do I do it better?”
Being competitive means I look for things other people aren’t doing, and try to do stuff first.
Being competitive means I absolutely do mind when I miss out on an opportunity to a competitor. I want to know why I lost out, and how I can win next time.
I am competitive and I want to raise a competitive daughter. In fact, I lectured my daughter in the car on the way to school this morning
Does that mean I don’t think women should support one another? No, of course not. Many of my best friends in blogging are people I collaborate with, sometimes. I think together, women can and do achieve amazing things. Plus, collaborating is often just really great fun.
If I can celebrate one of my friends who blogs, or writes, or runs a small business, then I am all over that.
But we also compete fiercely – and I suspect their drive is part of the reason I respect and like them so much.
Here’s the thing: women can support one another while also challenging each other to be better, to achieve more, to reach further.
When a friend writes a kick-ass blog post, when she’s named a top blogger by a newspaper, when she wins an award, or gets a mention on TV, I’m excited for her, but it also motivates me.
I want that achievement too. I want to be acknowledged for my work, too. It drives and inspires me.
When my friends are at the top of their game, it pushes me to be at the top of mine. And when a friend achieves something amazing, I don’t think it makes me any less of a friend to send them a card or a note saying how proud I am (but I’m TOTALLY gunning for that accolade next year). And I hope they’d do the same for me.
Would you? Let me know your thoughts!