When Competition is a Good Thing

As an artist and a dreamer with a bit of a competitive streak, it can be really easy to look around at other photographers and see how I measure up.  It's tempting to say: "I'm better than her" or "She's more successful than me" or "I haven't got what it takes" or "I'm gonna put all these suckas to shame."  (Uhhhh... did I just say that last one out loud?

If I let it, competition can deflate me. Discourage me. Pull me off track and make me feel separate (better than/ worse than) everybody else.

"Almost Perfect"
"Almost Perfect"

There's more than one way to view a challenge... Will the flood of new photographers be the death of the industry (and in fact, my paycheck)?  Or is a world of wide-eyed, passionate dreamers vying for a shot going to push me to give my art, innovation and service skills my all?

Will I let my photog heroes (the ones who can conjure jaw-dropping images without breaking a sweat) make me feel I should give up right here, right now?  Or do I use their example as fuel to stay committed, keep growing, keep pushing?  

My optimistic spirit leads me to believe the only limits in the world are created by our own small minds.

"Cloud Runner"
"Cloud Runner"

Competition has the power to put up walls, but it also has the power to lift us up and help us break through walls or climb right over them.

When I compete with the world, I feel lonely, fragile, guarded.

"On The Edge"
"On The Edge"

When I compete with myself, I feel inspired, hopeful, capable.

"The Pages of My Life"
"The Pages of My Life"

I like to remind myself, I only need to be 1% more awesome every day. That's it.  One percent!  Sounds do-able, right?

  I like to recognize that I'm surrounded by allies, not competitors, and that we can all be successful dreamers and artists together.

Credit where credit is due...

Big thanks to my allies at PPSWF (a PPA-affiliated guild for new and experienced professional photographers in Southwest Florida) for inviting me to push myself and create great art for personal competition.  Lots of love to my SWFL Facebook gang at The New Hotness for joining me in pushing the envelope with monthly projects and support-- some of those projects have inspired the images above.  Big thanks to my mentors who may not even know they're my mentors, especially Sue Bryce. Virtual hugs to my friends online, In Bed With Sue fb group, Hailey Bartholomew Video Group, Take Action StillMotion crew, and SWFL Photogs.

I want to hear your dreams.  What are you going to do today to be 1% more awesome?

How are you going to flip a challenge on its head and see the ally next to you instead of the competitor?

Who do you need to thank for inspiring  and for supporting you?