In the beginning years of my business, I was afraid to reach out to other business owners, particularly in my niche. Mainly because I was afraid there weren't enough customers for both of us or my competitor would steal my ideas.
I had felt this feeling of fear and distrust before - when I started coaching high school volleyball. I assumed that every time my team stepped on the court, we would be united against the common enemy: whoever we were playing.
It didn't take long for me to realize that the enemy lived among us (infighting, jealousy, parental interference, etc.) and there was always one other person in the gym who knew exactly what I was facing: the opposing team's coach.
I was so fortunate that a veteran coach took me under her wing and became a friend. And she was the first of many. I looked forward to coach meetings more and more every year because they became my support system. And even though I don't coach anymore, I apply these concepts to business.