Marissa Schaefer Jan 31 2024

{Part 1} How to Overcome Fear of Competition

6 minute read

(Real quick - I created a free guide to go with this article. Don't forget to download it HERE!)

You’re scrolling through social media and see another local practitioner’s post.

A sinking feeling creeps in.. your heart drops.. your stomach tightens.. panic unleashes into spiraling thoughts.

“I’m not enough.”

“They’re better than me.”

“I’m going to lose my clients to them.”

“Why can’t I be that good?”

“I’ll never be as successful.”

If this feels all too familiar, you’re not alone.  At some point or another, all professionals go through it (including me!).

Being threatened by competition is a normal part of human psychology.
And it SUCKS.

Luckily, you can learn to overcome it.  And understanding why the fear of competition happens is the first step.


Being threatened by competition (like most things in life, sigh) stems from fear.  And in this case - a fear of failure.

Your brain views resources (clients/ sales/ success) as scarce.  And so, your brain is terrified of losing those resources to something (or someone) else.

Because you know… then you’ll die (emphasize dramatic voice).

This is the timeless story of evolution - all living things must compete for limited resources. At a primitive level, life is one big competition to survive.

With thousands of years of wiring in place, your brain decides that if someone else is ‘winning’ then they are taking your precious resources.  Which means you’re ‘losing’.

It’s really no different than resource-guarding in horses.  “That horse can’t eat hay, because if they do then I won’t have any! (... and then I’ll die)”

.... Even though there’s a brand new 1000# round bale out. Facepalm.

Being threatened by competition isn’t bad or wrong.  It’s merely your brain operating from the survival brain (amygdala) and trying to keep you alive.

On a subconscious level. you simply believe there is not enough to go around.


Okay, cool. So it’s just my brain’s default wiring!

..Yes.. and no.  Humans are complex, emotional creatures.  So you aren’t off the hook that easy.

Fear of competition is also rooted in low self-esteem - not only a scarcity mindset.

You believe that if you fail then YOU are the failure.

You believe that if someone else has what you want then YOU aren’t good enough.

As a general statement, the more scared of competition you are, the lower self-esteem you have.  The same is true for the opposite end of the spectrum - hyper-competitiveness.

Man, sometimes being a human is hard.


It’s not all dark skies, I promise.  There’s a rainbow on the horizon.

By being a human, you have a superpower - the pre-frontal cortex.  That bad boy allows you to override the armageddon thoughts that stem from your survival brain.

You can learn to overcome the terrible feelings of being threatened by competitors in your area.  You know the ones:

  • Fear

  • Stress

  • Jealousy

  • Anxiety

  • Insecurity

  • Unworthiness


How do you overcome this awful comparison sh*t storm?

Your thoughts.

(Don’t click away! I swear, this is science).

By learning to accept failure as a part of growth, and accept the fact you might fail, you begin to make peace.  Competition becomes a lot less scary.

By accepting you are enough - whether you win or fail - your self-worth and esteem are no longer tied to your business results.

By reframing competition as a good thing, you can actually become excited by seeing other practitioner’s success. 

By creating an abundance mentality and believing there is enough to go around, you no longer feel scarcity or lack.

And by cultivating compassion for yourself, you can begin to move through all of this with ease.


I’d be willing to bet there are tons of horses in your area - more than you can see alone.  So how can you shift from thoughts of lack and scarcity to abundance?

How can you embrace the idea that there is more than enough for everyone?

Even better, how can you embrace the idea that other professionals aren’t your competition?

Finding a way to see other equine professionals as an opportunity, rather than a threat, can be the best decision you’ll ever make.

In the horse world, this idea of collaboration over competition can transform your business and your local community.

You and your fellow local practitioners are different pieces of a puzzle working together for the best care of the horse.


It’s time to sit down and do some deep thinking.

What do you believe about competition?  What do you believe about other practitioners in your area?  Do you believe competition is a bad thing?

What if I said the opposite is true?  That competitors in your are a good thing. 

Other professionals means there is a market and demand for your offering.  And, their success is proof you can be successful too.


Instead of thinking of other practitioners in terms of competition and competitors, I offer you a new concept:  collaborators.

Local competitors really are potential partners for working together to help clients achieve the best care. 

Collaborating with practitioners in your area will help you solve problems you might be stuck on alone.  You have to opportunity to learn from each other and grow.

Plus, collaboration drives innovation.  Two minds are better than one.  

Together, you and other professionals in your area can find creative solutions, new ideas, and work together on those tricky cases you just can’t seem to crack alone.


Learning to give yourself compassion when you’re feeling threatened by practitioners in the area is your first step to overcoming it.  The second step is cultivating a collaborative and community-based mindset (instead of competition).

Continually remind yourself of all the reasons other practitioners in your area are a great thing - not only for you but for your clients and their horses. 

Embrace the abundance around you and all other practitioners have to offer.  

Together, equine professionals can create a thriving community that puts the horse first. Together, we can achieve more than any one of us ever could alone.

One more thing, I created a free guide to help you dive deeper into the concepts of this article.  Be sure to snag it HERE and get to work!

“I wish more women realized that helping another woman win, cheering her on, praying for her, or sharing a resource with her, does NOT take away from the blessings coming to them.  In fact, the more you give, the more you receive.  Empowering women doesn’t come from selfishness but rather from selflessness.”

“Community over competition”

“In an abundant universe, the only person you are in competition with is yourself.”

“In the long history of humankind, those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed” - charles darwin

“You have 2 choices when it comes to competition: you either let it overwhelm you and view your competitors as enemies or you use it to push you forward and see your competitors as friends. I tend to choose the latter.” fred ode

“I’m not in competition with anyone.  I hope we all make it.”

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