Gather ’round, it’s story telling time!

Once upon a time, in a land far far away, there was a movie called Hustle and Flow. Starring Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Anthony Anderson and others, it was the story of a brothel-keeper / street pharmacist who parlayed his entrepreneurial skills and knack for rap stylings into a budding career in the music industry. (If you’ve seen the movie, you know that description was a STRETCH, but stay with me. I’m going somewhere, I promise.) My YouTube friend Miss P coins these types of movies as “Hood Classics.”

Anywho, there is a scene in the movie where the main character, D-Jay (played by Howard), is having a conversation with an affluent rapper named Skinny Black (played by real-life rapper/actor, Ludacris). Over fermented grape juice, the two are exchanging stories of their childhood and early career moves.

Nearly in sync, both characters state the quote, “It ain’t the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

Now, there were a few other Hustle and Flow one liners that have trickled their way into modern day America; however I remember hearing that one on the commercial previews.

Penned by 19th century author, Mark Twain, I thought that quote was so deep when I first heard it. I was thinking, “They’re right! It’s about pushing yourself and knowing that you can take out the competition!” (insert muscle emoji right here).

Now, don’t ask why I was getting my early inspiration from Hustle and Flow – let’s just thank God for growth and move on. Amen? Amen.

However, the other day I was having a conversation with a friend about someone who I noticed was trying to compete with me. The funny thing is, I never even knew we were in a “competition.” I casually told my friend, “I’m in my own lane and they are too. We could totally work together on this because I don’t even have a dog in the fight.”

That’s when I finally recognized something: competition can only exist when you opt to have your dog in the fight.

In some relationships, either business or personal, we can become binary in our thinking.

Either I win or you win.

Either I’m better or you’re better.

Note that this isn’t always a negative framework, because it can lead to very deliberate and intentional decision making on your behalf. It also ensures that you can look out for yourself when the situation calls for it.

However, what happens when the scope is broadened? What if it’s not about competition or concession, but about collaboration?

As you go into your week, I challenge you to look for areas where you can opt out of competition. This doesn’t mean wear a shirt with “WELCOME” on your back for people to walk all over you. But, try to become so consumed with minding your own passion project, business, and work that you recognize how much you and others have to offer the world.

It’s a really good feeling when you can walk in your own little doggy park, unbothered, and away from the fight.

(Not to mention, as of 2008, having dog fights is a total felony!)

I hope your Resurrection Sunday was as amazing as mine was. #JesusLives

Until next time.

#iSpeakLife

Each week, owner of MOXIE Nashville Vannesia Darby sends you a little pep talk to kick off your week. Subscribe today and instantly receive a free copy of Hustle Season.

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