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  • Writer's pictureKimberly LaBounty

Competitive? Bloom Anyways.

The flower does not think of competing to the other flower next to it. It just blooms. -Zen Shin

There are so many ways to read this quote. Today, it is my competitive self who responds. One of the first rules in business is to study the competition. What do they do? How do they do it? How often? What are they wearing when they do whatever it is that they are doing? We study their every move. But here is the difference – the quote challenges us to merely observe, take what we need, and let go of what doesn’t serve us (just like our time on our mat) so that we may bloom in our own way. It’s a tough lesson, really, because we want to fit in. We’ve been told by the world that we should fit in. To be a cool kid we have to be like the cool kids. Admittedly, I had my own personal style in middle school (I have been known to wear different colored shoes, layer and mix patters as if they came off the runway that way. Just ask my mom!) But I was the outcast, the oddball. And after a rough 8th grade, I made sure in high school to dress like the others, my hair was the same, etc. Fast forward 15 years and I’m building a business the way I’m “supposed to” or at least the way I thought I was supposed to, according to similar business models, what the latest books said, and what my competitors were doing. Ironically, I would sit every year, wanting to do things differently, but I never acted on it. I just continued.

I appreciate my yoga practice because it gives me an opportunity to observe what my authentic self might truly be, and where I thrive. It also gives me an opportunity to ask why I don’t listen to my self. I remember one class, when Paula said that the more we ignore what our heart tells us, the louder our heart becomes, and the more difficult it becomes to ignore what it has to say.

Consider – we don’t walk into a field of flowers, or walk up to a bed of roses and point one out, saying it is ugly, or smells funny, or that it doesn’t possess its own beauty. No! We see each as beautiful, colorful, unique in its own right. And so we must also allow ourselves to bloom in the way that best suits our authentic self. Just because the flower next to us is red does not mean we can’t be purple.

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