Competitors or Challengers?
Competitors are great gifts from the “business gods.” Let’s face it, if there were no competitors, how would you be able to rate yourself? For that matter, how could you rate the organization that you dedicate your time to? Women, like men, are competitive in nature. It all started in third grade when you noticed Becky’s hair was thicker, curlier, and longer. You begged your mom not to give you the Dorothy Hamill bowl cut that she preferred so your locks could be longer.
Let’s face facts. You need other people in your industry to compare against as it relates to goals, motivations, metrics, and success. Without a competitor, how would you know if you needed to be better? Or the mirror side of this question, how would you know you’re the best? In order to compete, you need a competitor. The Olympics would be absolutely boring if we were watching a bunch of people compete against themselves.
I’m asked frequently “how is it that you are admired by your competitors?” My answer is that I love them. They make me look fantastic! We don’t leave are children, spouses, boyfriends, etc. every day to go out there and be mediocre. Well at least I don’t. My motivation is to be the best I can be. Your competitors are trying to do the exact same thing. Who stands out in your industry? Make no mistake; no one wants to compete in a vacuum. It’s no fun sitting at the top alone. Here’s the other astounding thing that happens: They start sharing their ideas that will more than likely improve your own personal thought process. It will encourage you to be more creative.
Let’s say at this very moment your sitting behind your desk feeling stressed and unmotivated. If you can’t call on a customer, call on a competitor. Invite them to lunch. Chances are they will take it. Why? Because they are as curious to meet with you as you are to receive knowledge from them. Tell them you want to deliberate on what’s happening in your industry. It’s not a forum for complaining about your current boss. Rather, it’s a gutsy strategy to find encouragement and motivation. It will also help you stay well informed and on the inside track.
I’ve entertained some of my biggest competition. It’s shocking to see the look on their faces when you pick up the tab and say thank you. Even out of the worst meeting there is light. Look at your competition as challengers and you will view them in a completely different way. Why, because you need them to help you discern the level of the bar. It also determines who is the best! If you want to be valued, respected, and stand apart, do something creative and bold to reach and stay at the top of your game.