A Rising Tide Raises All Entrepreneurs Stop focusing on competing. Instead your efforts should be directed toward creating the best product or service.

By John Brubaker

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Every night in Nashville, there are 300 to 400 musicians performing live, for free, in the hopes of getting discovered. The most fascinating thing is they all want to see each other succeed.

This is a foreign concept to a lot of business people and definitely to a lot of coaches. They are too focused on competition instead of creation.

There's an old saying: "A rising tide raises all ships." That concept isn't limited to boats in the harbor, it applies to the work we each do. It's about embracing an abundance mindset rather than having a scarcity mentality. Iron sharpens iron and winners help other people win.

Related: 5 Reasons You Need to Work With Your Competitors

The musicians in Nashville all want to see each other succeed because they know that when country music as a whole is stronger, they are each stronger. Creating more fans of their genre benefits the entire industry. They don't think there are limited pieces of the pie and have to angle to get their share. They aren't about competing. They're about creating. Their competition isn't the artist across the street on music row. Instead they view their competition as the person looking at them in the mirror each morning.

Entrepreneurs can all benefit from embracing this same philosophy.

Years ago, one of my first consulting clients was a beer company. The vice president informed me that the company's employees don't drink other brands of beer -- they'd be fired if they were ever caught drinking a competing brand. They're expected to be 100 percent loyal to their brand at all times.

I quickly learned that the beverage industry is basically a turf war and Bud, Coors and Miller are the three biggest gangs in the neighborhood, so to speak. They view one another as the enemy and are each constantly competing to gain additional retail shelf space at the other's expense. At times, sales reps even sabotage competitor's in-store displays and product placements. If they had it their way, I think they'd each give their right arm to be the only brand on the shelf and essentially own the entire category in grocery stores. It's a scarcity mindset.

Related: What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Pro Hockey

This remains such a foreign concept to me. Authors don't compete, we create. Most everyone in my profession has an abundance mindset. We actually like each other and read and promote others' books. We share readily and believe more readers of more books is a good thing for all of us. It is the same with speaking. Professional speakers operate on the belief that good speaking begets good speaking.

If you're performing exemplary work, it's good for the entire industry.

Can you imagine the president of Budweiser recommending a Coors product to his colleagues? The beer industry might be in better shape if they embrace the idea that more aficionados of beer, whether it's one company's beer or not, is good for everyone's business. I bet your industry could too.

In the spirit of this subject and to lead by example, I want to encourage you to read the columns of fellow Entrepreneur contributors James Clear and Lisa Evans. If you like my writing, you'll love theirs.

Winners help other people win, so go help someone in your industry get a "W" this week.

For more game changing strategies to turn your potential into performance, join my free weekly newsletter.

Related: 3 Reasons to Be Grateful for Tough Competitors

John Brubaker

Performance Consultant, Speaker & Award-Winning Author

John Brubaker is a nationally renowned performance consultant, speaker and award-winning author. Using a multi-disciplinary approach, Coach Bru helps organizations and individuals turn their potential into performance.

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