For some reason, a lot of people are under the assumption that in order to win, everybody else has to lose. I’m beginning to realize that this isn’t always true. In sports, yes (except soccer is weird) but in life, no.
The concept was in my mind for quite a while but became blatantly obvious to me one morning in Canyonlands National Park, Utah. I found myself amongst 20+ photographers lined up to shoot Mesa Arch before sunrise. If you didn’t get there early enough, you didn’t get a clear shot from the front row. The early birds win and those who hit the snooze button lose.
After the sun came up and most of the crowd had gotten their shots, they went home. I lingered for a bit, enjoying the arch and the fact that there were less people around.
An older Aussie fellow started chatting with me about cameras, national parks, and travel. Then he offered me a bit of advice. “Stick around for a little while. I hear the arch looks even better after the sun rises a bit. Everyone gets here early to get first light but they leave before the real magic happens.”
This shot is from an hour after first light. It’s probably my favorite from the morning. There were maybe four of us remaining at that point. We shared travel tips and jokes and we all got great shots of the arch up close, something you can’t do with a crowd around (or else you mess up other people’s shots).
This stranger let me have an easy win. And he won too. We spent the better part of 30 minutes taking turns getting photos that we’d never have gotten an hour earlier. Instead of having the place to himself, he shared the experience with me and created a friendship.
How often do we get so competitive that we ruin a potential partnership? We might be willing to help a friend (as long as it’s convenient) but we tend to ignore needs of others when a personal victory is at stake. Let’s make a concerted effort to recognize and act on collaboration opportunities, where multiple people can benefit.
How can you collaborate with others to ensure a win for everyone?