How To Create A Competitive Edge
Whether you think you can or whether you think that you can not, Either way, you're right! ~Henry Ford
Barry was one of the fastest guys in school, and he knew it. Actually, he made sure that everyone knew it. Every year, he always took the prize for the 100 yard dash, the 200 and the cross country. If he was in the race, you just knew that he would win based on his history. Not only that, he had a reputation of bullying anyone who took him on, so that limited his opponents. In many cases, people who could have potentially beat him dropped out of the race for no reason at all, often minutes before the race began. Then he'd strut up to the start line, leer at the people who were there to watch and go on to win his race.
In my final year at that school, I, for some unknown reason, decided to challenge him. I had been watching him run for years, and was pretty sure that I could beat him; all that was left was to do it. When my friends found out that I was going to take him on, they all told me that I was crazy and that I didn't have a chance, so I should just quit before I lost. But I couldn't: I had to at least try.
In the practice run before the real one, while we were lined up to get ready to race, he stood beside me and whispered poison out of the corner of his mouth "You think you're pretty good, do you? Do you think you can beat me? You can't even come close. Face it, you're a loser, always were and always will be. So just watch my dust as I cream you into the pavement." And with that he gave me a push, just as the race officials said "go". Off he leaped to beat me to the finish by at least 5 yards. I was furious! After the race, when I caught up to him, I was in his face shouting and pushing him back, and he was just letting me, pretending to be afraid. He acted so meek and mild and timid all the while I was shouting and pushing. Then, as if on cue, a teacher came over and asked what was going on, to which he whined, as if he was starting to cry, that I was mad that he had beaten me, and I was threatening him. I was then promptly disqualified from the race and he went on to win it, smirk dripping from his face like dew.
It was all or nothing for me now. The next race, the 200 yard dash was about to begin. I was trying mentally to get myself prepared to run this one as fast as or faster than I had ever run before. I knew that I could beat him. If he hadn't pushed me in the last race, I was certain that I could have beaten him. Then a weird thing happened. I heard people around me talking about Barry and me, and how they were saying that he was so fast and that I didn't have a prayer. Even my friends doubted my ability to win. Catching a glance of Barry on the other end of the start line, I allowed those doubts to enter into my mind. "Well", I reasoned "He has won this race for years, and he did just beat me in the last race, maybe he will win now. What does it really matter if he beats me now? Next year I'll be gone to a different school and I'll never see him again. So what if I lose?" I was making excuses for losing a race that I hadn't even run.
"Go!" everyone in the race leapt into action... except me. I wasn't ready. It was over before it started, with me finishing at the middle of the pack, watching the back of Barry's head bobbing in time with his pumping arms as he crossed the finish line.
I thought of that race often over the course of my years. I used to keep reliving it and wishing that it could have turned out in my favour. But, as you know, and I discovered, no amount of reliving an event will ever change the results. I lost, because I told myself to lose. It was as simple as that. I had my opponents wrong. The race I was running shouldn't have been against Barry, it should have been against me, and my doubts: that was the real race.
In my business, I often see people give up their position of power to compare themselves to someone else's skills or someone else's experience. When they start from a position by saying "I can't compete with that!" they are in effect, short-circuiting their success. By saying that we can't compete, it's like we open a belief spigot and release it all, thereby giving up our competitive edge and settling for second best when we really should be focused on winning.
It is my opinion that to be successful, you must "be" successful in your thoughts, your plans and your actions. For success is not a one time thing, it is not a destination or a finish line; it is a way of life, a way of thinking and a way of being. Many physical battles are not won on the racetrack, but in the arena of your mind. When you lose a battle, you lose it in your mind first.
There will always be challenges and obstacles that we must face.
That's a fact of life. It's inevitable!
The real test though is how we face up to it. Are we thinking positively about our abilities, are we focused on what we can do rather than what we can't or are we trying to measure ourselves up with the competition? What is important to keep in the front of our minds is this: If we think we can win, we can usually win: faith is necessary for victory.
This week, challenge yourself to focus on what it is that you can do rather than what you can't, and when you do, you will win many of the battles that you face even before you step up to the line.
Make this your best week ever!
A Bit about me...
My vision is quite simple: to make an impact on the lives of the people who have been entrusted to me: You (for reading this article), my family and my clients.
I coach people. Direct, practical, innovative, meaningful.
I coach for excellence.
I love what I do... and so do my clients.
Over the years I've noticed that business coaching that was supposed to make us stronger actually took away our confidence and made us doubt ourselves. Confidence and people skills aren't developed just by measuring and planning everything, they grow through doing and learning from experience and by taking risks. People want to make a difference. Build teams. Be better understood. Live more confidently.
I founded IBC Impact Business Communication Inc. to create a world where business people communicate and act with confidence to create better worlds for themselves. Worlds where they feel powerful and free to express themselves. Worlds where something as simple as conversation creates energy, understanding and impact. Worlds so exquisite, I couldn't imagine doing anything else.
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