The Myth of Competition and The Reality of Love

by | Aug 22, 2011 | Articles | 2 comments

A few years ago one of my beloved students started hounding me to create a teacher training program so that I could begin training students how to do what I do using the intuitive painting process.

This was something that I had on the list to do “one day” but her dogged insistence brought that day into full, technicolor reality in the summer of 2008.

So I got to work actually creating the program that now exists as the Wild Heart Expressive Arts Teacher Training program. To date I have graduated three groups of students with a fourth on the way.

When I was in the early days of developing the program I kept getting asked the same question over and over again from friends who were concerned for my welfare. And that question was “If you start training people aren’t you worried that you will be creating your competition?”

Which was something that had frankly never occurred to me. And even once it was brought up wasn’t something that I was overly concerned about.

I had a few moments of wondering if it was something I should be paying attention to, given that it was the first thing on many other people’s minds.

But I just couldn’t find that place inside of me that felt fearful or worried. From the beginning this was something that I felt unrestrained excitement for.

Plus it just felt right.

And since I spend much of my life following those gut feelings of rightness, I saw no reason to begin to doubt my intuitive knowing now.

I have just graduated my third group of teachers… women from all over the country who could not be more different from each other in personality and background but who have managed to create an enduring bond of sisterhood that is allowing them to explode as intuitive painting teachers in their local communities.

And I can’t imagine how I could be a prouder mama than I am of this group.

As they have been hard at work creating their own studios complete with gorgeous websites I can only feel excitement and gratitude as they step out into the world as intuitive painting teachers.

And I keep wondering, “Where’s this fear of the competition that all my friends were worried about?”

Which made me start to think about what exactly competition means to me.

The first thing that became clear was that I actually kind of groove on competition. It’s not something that scares me. It’s a force in my life that fires me up and gets me moving.

If I see one of my friends or colleagues in the expressive arts creativity biz expanding and growing in a way that I have not yet done, it stimulates those competition juices. I feel restless and dissatisfied and like I’m being left out or left behind.

I start to ask myself questions like, “Hey, how come they have the ( more students, more attention, flashy e-book, invitations to be interviewed,etc.) and I don’t? And what am I going to do about that?”

Which leads to me becoming extremely motivated to catch up or even surpass the person. It doesn’t mean that I’m taking anything away from them. It just means I get propelled into taking action to try and get what they’ve got.

So competition on this level is actually a source of inspiration.

It’s also happening completely in my own psyche. No one but me often even knows that I’m having those feelings. And it’s really all about my willingness to grow.

What my anxious friends are referring to when they talk about competition is something more external and is related to the perception of limited resources.

In their minds, there are only so many painting students (which translates to money) to go around. And since that pool of students is only so big, if my students who I am training start to draw from that pool it means that there will be less for me.

So my good hearted yet worried friends’ solution to this dilemma is to simply keep other people away from the pool. To stake a claim and keep the pool walled off or secret. And to certainly not invite others to partake of the bounty of the pool.

This version of competition is very much based on fear. And the need to protect yourself from potential loss. It comes from an emotional place that is hallmarked by tension, tightness and contraction.

And ultimately lack of trust.

My experience in creating my teacher training program has really flown in the face of that fear of lack.

By opening myself up and sharing my information and expertise with other people I have actually created more abundance in my life… not less.

Because now I have a group of intuitive painting teachers that is growing larger each year. And these folks have become my companions, compatriots, compadres and NOT competitors.

What is being developed as we all move out into the world is a lively collaborative community.

Which means that we are trying to create something together.  Something that supports and aids each one of us to be as big as we can be.

There is a sense of encouragement and celebration that infiltrates the entire process. Instead of fearing that my expansion will take something from you there is the wondrous feeling my success will actively enhance yours.

Working together as collaborators creates a contagious energy of excitement not only between those people who are the teachers, but it also spills over to the people who come to participate as students in the workshops.

Because of the passion and excitement that we as teachers share for this work, there is a perception all around of something wondrous happening. Something that everyone wants to be a part of. Something that people want to tell their friends about.

And something that continues to grow.

Truthfully, nothing I have ever done in my work life has ever been first and foremost for the money.

I like making enough moolah to eat and pay the rent and finance my turquoise jewelry addiction … sure … but making money is just a very helpful and fortunate side effect of doing this work that I love.

And because this work has always been about love I have never, EVER worried that there wasn’t enough.

Because, seriously…. how could we ever possibly run out of the most endless and lavishly bounteous force of energy in the universe?

So I will gratefully accept my friends concern for me. Because I know that too, comes from a place of love.

But I will continue to churn out Wild Heart Expressive Arts intuitive painting teachers for as long as the energy and enthusiasm is in me to keep making it happen.

Which, given the relentless nature of love, I anticipate will be a very long time.


  1. Wow, this hits a lot of uncomfortable buttons for me! I aspire to your healthy attitude about competition. Even though I know intellectually there is more than enough for everybody, the whole scarcity mentality is so ingrained in me, it is difficult to trust in my own life for things to work out. Thanks for the great post!

  2. I totally agree with you and went through this exact experience as I started my Creatively Fit Coaching Training Program. Every day, at each moment, we can choose to come from a place of fear or love. I choose love! Thank you for all you do. Whitney

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