There’s an African proverb that says, “Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable.” In other words, we are stronger as a community than as individuals.
I was so excited when I first saw Latasha of Ike & Tash Photography + Motion post the Her Success Is Not My Failure t-shirt on Instagram. What a positive message to embrace and promote! I was doubly excited when I learned that proceeds from the sale of the t-shirts was being donated to G.L.A.M. Camp for Girls, a leadership and empowerment camp for girls ages 12-18. I can’t think of anything better than supporting young women in their quest to lead by example and show that cheering on your fellow sister does not mean that you are receiving less applause. In fact, Taraji P. Henson demonstrated to the world just how this should be done when she unabashedly celebrated Viola Davis’ 2015 Oscar win, even though she was nominated in the same category.
It’s all about community over competition.
So often, we silently praise other artists in the same field. Silently…because we are afraid that publicly doing so will shift the spotlight from ourselves to this other person. How often on Facebook do you see a fellow photographer’s or graphic designer’s or interior designer’s work and “ooh” and “ahh” over it while you stare at the screen, but do not hit that “like” button for fear that it will show up in your stream? “If it shows up in my stream,” you think, “other people will notice their work and support them instead of me.” If I’m being completely honest, I’ve been there. I’ve been THAT person. Thus, when I saw the t-shirt, I had to have it. The message was so clear that it smacked me in the face. We are all unique and valued for what we bring to the communal table. There’s room for all of us. Let’s be the first person to stand up and cheer when our fellow sister has an accomplishment.
When I received my t-shirt, I vowed to myself that I would (1) publicly applaud other photographers doing amazing things, (2) recognize that my biggest competition is myself (cliche, but true), and (3) try to be more appreciative of my own unique journey toward my own definition of success. After all, “her success is not my failure.” What will you vow to do differently?