Since starting Her Journey, I've discovered just how many other empowerment efforts are out there. There really is an endless supply of experts, companies, and groups dedicated to empower women. I am often excited about these other efforts, thinking that if we're on the same page to a common goal, we can somehow work together. I have grown to truly understand that "the whole is greater than the sum of it parts." I have seen how collaborating forces can lead to results even greater than each individual party planned.
However, what I have also discovered is that everyone else is not always as excited about these collaborations. Some are more driven by the idea of competition. Please be clear, I understand the idea of building a brand and completely support one wanting to be the best in her given industry. I am not criticizing anyone for that. What I am saying is that I don't find it necessary to slam others in order to build yours. Call me naive if you want, but I believe there is room for more than one of a similar type of business or idea within an industry.
This became clear to me during a conversation on this topic, when my mother asked me "do you go to McDonald's and Burger King and Wendy's?" Some people have a preference and choose to remain loyal to one over the other. I personally love McDonald's chicken biscuits and chicken selects but prefer Wendy's spicy chicken sandwich and could go for a Burger King whopper with cheese every once in a while too, depending on the given day. When it comes to music, I enjoy Alicia Keys and Beyonce and Jill Scott, depending on the mood I'm in. Each offers something unique that satisfies a specific need in a specific moment.
I believe that is what is important when building your personal brand. Maybe I have a similar mission to hundreds of other women. I may even have some of the same ideas as a handful of them. But my experience and what I bring to the table is unique and that will specifically resonate with someone. For example, someone may be able to relate to my experience of feeling like the odd man out because I was always the youngest of my friends. That same person may also be inspired by another woman's experience with overcoming an abusive relationship or disease.
It is my belief that we are each given a unique gift, and there is room for each of them to shine. I encourage you to bring your unique light to whatever it is that you do, and you will stand out among the rest because of it.
This makes me think of Katy Perry's "Firework":
"You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine..."
Photo credit: http://imagecache5.art.com/p/LRG/27/2741/AKPND00Z/woman-holding-light-bulb.jpg