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Why should you cooperate with the competition

From an evolutionary perspective, altruism remains somewhat of a mystery. Why would wild animals help a peer at a cost to themselves? Some types of monkeys, for example, call to warn their peers when predators are nearby even though the noise exposes their own location and increases the chances of them becoming the target. Other animals may care for their offspring or cooperate with a completely different species. While understanding the evolution of these traits poses many problems for researchers, understanding their benefits is another matter altogether.
Throughout my career, I have encountered resentful people seeking blocking my ability to progress in my business or even destroying what I had built. Despite those people, and maybe even because of them, I own a successful business 20 years later.
Related: 5 Ways to Get Back After Someone Tears You Down
They taught me an important career lesson:While you'll likely be shocked and disappointed by people who try to tear you down, supporters will also emerge from surprising places.
Keeping things “cooperative”
Competition is by no means a bad thing. It's often what motivates people and pushes them to improve, but it's important to recognize when cooperation is actually better for your career. Yet rushing to collaborate with your competitors the instant you need their help will never work. Trust is built in very small moments that build up over time; you can only reap the rewards if you sow the seeds of cooperation well in advance.
Cooperation also keeps bridges intact that selfish competitors might burn.
Related: 10 questions to ask yourself for a successful collaboration
One of my peers in the field of property management, the CEO of Property Meld, Ray Hespen, has often explained to me the benefits of cooperation. Not only is his platform a total game-changer for my brick-and-mortar business (and reducing errors, stress, and miscommunication), but Ray's friendship has also been even more valuable than his technology. From day one, he was interested not only in my business as a client, but also in how he could help me develop side projects. We've introduced ourselves to each other, which has increased benefits and exposure for both of us, enriching our careers in ways we haven't even realized yet.
These relationships are ones that can transforming careers, but forming them can sometimes be difficult. To help you, follow these steps.
1. Research to find a mutually beneficial peer in your space.
You know who she is. You've watched her speak or read her books, and you may feel a twinge of jealousy thinking she has a superpower that you don't. You want to absorb as much of her as possible and feel like she's out of your league. Good news:it's not.
The competitor you're watching may eventually become your mentor. Beyond that, the relationship can become mutually beneficial. By choosing your competitors' brains, learning their (willing) trade secrets, and sharing what you know of your experience and asking for theirs in return, a relationship can blossom between you and your new competitive partner. And it's important to remember that more is achieved when teaching and learning are involved than when information and good advice are not disseminated.
Recognizing this is what Ray has ultimately become for me:a wealth of knowledge and a reliable support system in our shared space.
2. Ask for expertise and spread that gospel.
Another great way to complement your competition is to conduct an interview with them. Learn all you can. It shows that you appreciate its presence in the market. It's a great way to take the first step towards consolidating a relationship as a respected competitive partner. Then, spread its knowledge to anyone and everyone you think could benefit from it, and cite the source every step of the way. If you're turned down for an interview, change your approach and try again. If you still can't reach it, it wasn't meant to be. Until next time!
Related: 8 ways to create a killer relationship with your mentors
3. Give away your great idea for free.
If you have a great idea for a competitor in your space, release it and watch it grow. I had an idea that sounded like a potential breakthrough for Ray's business, so I immediately called him to share it. The idea would create more visibility and credibility for his team nationally, and it would cost next to nothing once his tech team developed it. He was floored, and the fact that my intentions were pure helped solidify my lifelong mentor.
4. Are they really your competition?
After being featured on a Jason Hull podcast with DoorGrow (which, coincidentally, I once perceived as my competition), another competitor in my space walked out of work wood. Stacey Slayer, whose property management company is just 45 minutes north of mine, approached me to ask what I had achieved so far in my space. She needed a mentor. Because of our proximity to each other, anyone else would see us as direct competitors. But once I met her, I loved her immediately and had to help.

Just as detractors will emerge from people you thought you could rely on in your career, supporters will emerge from your competition to help you move it forward.

Like me, Stacey was a hardworking single mom and at that point, I couldn't hold anything back. So, I gladly shared the platforms I was using and why, steered her away from potential pitfalls, and celebrated her successes. Today, we're good friends and each other's cheerleaders and advocates — she was even one of the first clients to sign up for my developmental coaching program. If I had considered the Stacey competition from the start, this beautiful friendship would never have flourished and we would never have reaped the rewards. It's empowering to celebrate the successes of others, and it's also key in business. When we support each other, we begin to see real results.
Just as detractors will emerge from the people you thought you could count on in your career, supporters will emerge from your competition to help you move it forward. There are amazing, kind people everywhere who can help you achieve as much as possible, and the best way to find them is to reach out and help others without a second thought.
En relationship: How to attract amazing people into your life