How Trying to Win Can Make Us The Biggest Losers

Competition Can Make us as extinct as the dinosaurs

Competition can render us as extinct as the dinosaurs

Marketer Lynn Serafinn discusses how flipping the antiquated model of Scarcity and Competition on its head can help us avoid lost Collaboration opportunities and receive unexpected Abundance.

I belong to a number of MeetUp groups, mostly in and around London. These groups have proved to be a goldmine to me, professionally and personally.Through them, I have met hundreds of the beautiful and talented people, many of whom I have had the pleasure to forge many awesome collaborations. I even formed a MeetUp for the 7 Graces Community.

I have learned so much about the Grace of Collaboration in working with these people. The most important lesson I have learned is that true Collaboration is NOT when we say,  “If you do this for me, I’ll do that for you.” Collaboration is not a barter system where we count  point-for-point against each other.

Our Collaborations have arisen quite spontaneously, without any strings attached. What we all share in common is a mutual feeling of freedom, generosity and a genuine desire to co-create, as well as an inner knowing that there is enough for everyone in this world, as long as we keep the energy flowing in a healthy, nurturing way.

Looked at this way, we can see Collaboration is a law of nature. It’s also a vital principle of good business, but many business owners don’t understand this.

A prime example of this misunderstanding showed up quite unexpectedly yesterday.

Here’s what happnened…

MeetUp is very clever. It allows you to tag your interests, and whenever a new MeetUp group starts in your area with those interests in the tags, it alerts you by email. Because I have joined several groups, I have a lot of tags. Therefore, I get a LOT of notices about new groups starting around the UK. I don’t always join them, but sometimes something catches my eye.

This week, I got a notice that a new MeetUp group had started around the topic of publishing books. In my “day job”, I work with authors (often self-published) to market their books. I’m told I’m pretty good at it. I’m also pretty generous with my information about book promotion, as anyone who has had a free consultation with me or has read my articles on my Spirit Authors site can tell you. The reason why I give so much away is that
I know there is no “Scarcity” of knowledge or clients in the world. I know that no matter what information I share with others, there is always someone out there who will want to know more, and who will hire me as their consultant.

In short, I know there is an unlimited supply of Abundance in the world.

Ok, so back to the story. When I received the notice about this new MeetUp group, I joined it and sent a short greeting to the person who founded it, saying something along the lines of…

Hi _____,

Great to see this new group. I help non-fiction authors with their marketing and I’d be happy to give a talk for your group some time about platform building. Would also be great to connect and explore what we can create together.

Warm wishes,
Lynn Serafinn

I also offered a “perk” of a free 45-minute consultation for 10 group members before the end of the month.

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It could not have been more than 5 minutes after I clicked “send” that I received an automated message from MeetUp saying,

“You have been removed from this MeetUp group.”

And within a minute of receiving that, I got an email from the woman who had started the group saying,

“That’s what I do. I’m a publisher.”

She didn’t even bother to address me by my name.

I wrote back an email saying,

Hi again ____,

No probs. Had no wish to step on your toes. Just so you know, I’m not a publisher, but a marketing consultant. Not all publishers offer marketing support, so I thought I’d reach out. I wish you great success with your group.

Warm wishes,
Lynn Serafinn

I received no reply from her, but a minute later I received yet another automated message from the MeetUp site saying,

“Your perk has been rejected by the owner of this MeetUp group.”

Geez loweez! I could almost FEEL her hostility seeping through my laptop. I have to say, it made me laugh because it was so absurd. But if I look at the bigger picture, it kind of makes me cry—not for me, but for society.

In my book The 7 Graces of Marketing, the last of “The 7 Deadly Sins of Marketing” are Scarcity and Competition. If you analyse them carefully, you’ll see that you cannot have one without the other:

  • Competition can only arise when our Scarcity mindset leads us to believe we live in a limited Universe.
  • When we believe there is a limited amount of money and limited customers, we compete for space and seek to dominate the so-called “Competition”.

But what is so sad is that if we have a Scarcity mindset, we also believe we are scarce as well; we believe we do not have a wealth of knowledge and inner resources to give the world, and therefore we are constantly afraid we will not have “enough” to survive.

The last of “The 7 Graces” in the book are Abundance and Collaboration. Just as you cannot have Competition without a Scarcity mindset, you cannot have Collaboration without an Abundance mindset. Abundance, as I define it, is the fundamental belief that there is indeed enough for all:

  • Enough genius within each one of us
  • Enough wealth in the world
  • Enough resources in the world (when we live in balance)
  • Enough clients and customers to go around for all of us.

When we know this to be true at our core, we can then open ourselves up to the beauty of genuine Collaboration.

Imagine what might have been possible if this woman had responded to me differently? What might we have been able to co-create and provide for aspiring authors? How might our Collaboration have resulted is something that was far more lucrative than what either of us might be currently doing?

Now, we’ll never know.

And THAT is the real loss–the loss of what might have been had the Deadly Sins of Scarcity and Competition not taken over.

Everything Happens for a Reason

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While annoying at the time, this experience was the catalyst for a major mind shift of my own. All this was going on as I was preparing for the 7 Graces conference in June 2012.  This shocking scarcity response propelled me to make a sudden leap of faith, and open up the conference to the public at a ‘pay what you can afford’ basis. To that point, ordinary business logic had been keeping me in a mindset where I had told myself I needed  to follow the balance sheet and make sure I at least covered my costs on this conference, or I would go out of business.

But after the incident with the ‘publisher’, something told me that this thinking was holding the whole process back, and I got this urge to turn business ‘logic’ on its head. After all, if I was out to invite in a new paradigm for business and marketing, perhaps this was the time to start.

Truth be told, I never made back the MONEY I invested (not even close). BUT I gained something much, much more Abundant–a community, a social enterprise and a vision. Oh yes…and friends.

That’s Abundance for you. In the Graces of Abundance, profit doesn’t always mean money.

I said it when I wrote The 7 Graces of Marketing, but this experience reinforced my belief:

  • Scarcity always results in more Scarcity
  • Abundance always results in more Abundance.

If you are as fed up as I am with this stubborn and destructive paradigm of Scarcity and Competition, and you want to meet others who share this same passion to create a world in which business, marketing and life in general is based upon Abundance, Collaboration and all the other 7 Graces, I invite you join our 7 Graces Global Community on Facebook, and come along to our free online community meetings.

As always, let’s continue this dialogue in the comments below.


LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

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