Your Success Is Mine and Mine is Yours

spotlightAs an artist, I walk a path that has been smoothed by others. If I take an easy step, it’s because someone before me has been kind enough to move a rock out of the way. And each rock I move on my journey leaves the road a little clearer for you.

What if we all stopped and really embraced this idea for a moment? What if, instead of feeding the fear, the jealousy, the insecurity, and the competition, we wrote ourselves a new story of mutual success?

Unfortunately most of us operate from a vantage point of scarcity. Writers live in a very real world where publishing houses are folding, or merging, a gazillion books are being written and published every year, and every year we are faced with a new study about how few people read books. We’ve been conditioned to believe that by this time next year there will be only one reader left on the whole planet…and she’s dying.

So if I’m living in the scarcity paradigm, then your success is a direct threat to my own.

But what if this isn’t the only story?

We’re storytellers, after all. We are writers and artists and painters and musicians—our job is to create ideas that weren’t there before. So what if we created a new story? A story that says there are enough readers/fans/audiences for all of us?

What if we created a story that said every reader you recruit is a reader for the collective? What if every book I sell is a potential reader for you? What if, as a collaborating community, we can rebuild our dying readership and infect the world with our love of words?

If I step out of my fears, the ones that say there isn’t enough for us all, then your success can only support mine and my success is in service of yours. And like a perfect partnership we take turns: I teach, you learn. I learn, you inspire. I surprise, you applaud. I applaud, you dazzle.

We are traveling a well-worn road, and every one of us owes our successes to someone before us. In return, we share our successes with those who follow. Applause is contagious, after all, and when one of us wins, we all win.

Together, we can create a new story.

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