Collaboration Over Competition. | #MONDAYMAGIC✨

Last week was just chock-full of amazing collaboration in my world. It reminded me how important that collaboration is, even in a competitive world. It reminded me that we live in a world of abundance, but are trained in a scarcity mindset, especially as women. Let’s explore this together.

My LadyBoss Perspective

As an entrepreneur, a professional in the nonprofit and philanthropic worlds, and a woman it can be easy to fall into a competitive nature where it feels like someone else’s success is my (or our) failure. It is easy to see the world in limited resources in these roles. Most entrepreneurs fail and you worry your market is too oversaturated, there is always a lack of dollars in the nonprofit and philanthropic fields which is a prime breeding ground for competition, and it always seems that there are less women at the table making us falsely believe that there is only room for a few of us at the top.

I call bullshit. ‼️

I truly have found that collaborating with other women, other nonprofits, groups of leaders, and other entrepreneurs makes us all more successful. Honestly. If I came from that scarcity mindset, which it’s there I won’t lie, I wouldn’t have had any of the amazing things happening in my life last week. Here’s a quick recap:

Fully embraced my Leadership Fresno retreat (which was completely unplugged – AHH!) and came out the other side as the President of our class.

I really went in with no intentions, no ideas for projects, and no thoughts of “running” as a class officer. I went in realizing what an amazing opportunity to be in a group of 25 leaders and knowing that if I sat back and observed, and didn’t immediately try to prove myself or take charge, I would learn so much more. And that’s exactly what happened. There were so many amazing ideas, collaborators, and strong leaders.

On the second day, we got into an exercise where we had to put a string of over 25 pictures in order but we couldn’t show each other our pictures. We each had 1-2 pictures, no context of how they fit together, and somehow within our group had to figure out how to put them together without seeing anyone else’s. It started with a bit of chaos, and I sat back and listened. I pulled us back to what I saw as “order” a few times, and stayed relatively quiet until I had figured out the connections by listening to others. Once I knew I was onto something, I shared with the class and they immediately pushed me to take charge. And so I did. That quiet leadership, focused on listening and collaborating, is exactly what we needed and we got the puzzle together with just 2 of almost 30 cards off by one place.

By just focusing on being collaborative, my leadership abilities shined and I was able to help our team collaborate effectively and complete the task. From there folks came to me and asked me to step up to leadership in the class. With that support and encouragement I was ready to do so and my class voted me into the position of President. I feel honored and blessed, and completely rooted in the power of collaboration through that experience. It would’ve been so easy to come into those few days with something to prove but instead I pushed that natural “competitive” state away and ending up gaining so much more.

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Sold out our first event, Sipping in Slippers, and received rave reviews.

Sipping in Slippers came to me several months ago as I brainstormed how I wanted to build community amongst badass female professionals. And during that time I didn’t even consider partnering with anyone else to do it. However, I then met Kayla from Her Space. I shared my idea with her and she thought it was great and could be mutually beneficial if we partnered up. She works to provide her members quality community building and training opportunities, and I needed a space to provide that. We teamed up, decided to profit share, and ROCKED the event.

I put together the content of the evening, did the shopping, created the Facebook group, and booked our woman of the hour. Kayla and her team prepared the space, created the marketing materials, and handled the ticket sales through their already established Eventbrite account. We both marketed the event to our audiences, kept each other in the loop, and tried to relax through the process. But of course there were moments that collaboration was hard. I was bugging Kayla and her team every day for an update on sales so I could add folks to the Facebook group which had to be annoying, and sometimes my impatience made me go back to that space that I could “do it easier” myself. Just not true.

Putting on this event together helped both of our businesses, brought 50 amazing female professionals together to really empower one another and learn alongside each other, and inspired all of us. If we had worked separately we would not have had a chance to have the impact we did. Meeting our goal of 50 women wasn’t easy, but together we made it happen.

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There were several other amazing moments of collaboration through my week; a great coffee conversation with the CEO of our Housing Authority of which I serve as a Commissioner on the Board, an awesome happy hour catch-up with another badass female CEO and fellow WPI alumni after much too long, a great planning call with my co-planners for our first WPI Alumni Gathering in the Central Valley, and another transformational and action-packed Fresno Region College Pipeline Planning Session with so many passionate education leaders from our community.

But don’t just take it from me

There are lots out there who have figured out that collaboration is key to success, but not always easy to cultivate. This Fast Company article is short and sweet, but actually reminds us why women are quicker to collaborate than men. Not my favorite reason, but at least there is a positive result.

And this Forbes article dives into the positive effects of physical collaboration. It has it’s pros and cons, but these pros are pretty dang pro-y.

Last, but certainly not least, check out this Business News Daily article highlighting how collaboration is key to what every leader wants: GROWTH. Preach.

So, what now?

Let’s go into this week with clear intentions of finding every opportunity to collaborate with others. It’s not always easy, not always pretty, and your competitive side will want to bubble to the surface but really give it a shot this week. Shut down that competition and just observe what collaboration does in your world.

Share with me in the comments what areas of opportunity you have for collaboration this week. Also, if you have stories of amazing collaboration please share and inspire us all to give this the old college try.

Talk soon 👋🏻

Nikki