Competition is getting so intense. You can’t sit down and assume that one strategy will take you through your business all week, and you can’t afford to slumber for a second, on the premise that you topped the pack yesterday, therefore, today, you will, also. Competition is ongoing – it’s more than a marathon, and therefore, requires a far more endurance than any long distance athletic competition. So, you need the strategy to compete with your competitors, and outdo them.
In the digital world for instance, it’s become a digital war. Everyday, there are new technological disruptions, and even for the new inventions, there are frequent updates – most apps that were designed a year ago without being updated have been outrun by new ones. The pace at which humanity is developing is quicker than the speed of light – except you constantly adapt, and work harder, you’ll be shoved aside by an overwhelming number of competitors.
Also, in personal development, many people are no longer where they used to be. A lot of people have taken advantage of the technologies that rule the day to learn new skills and become better. So, if you assume that because someone didn’t go through the conventional system of education, therefore, the person isn’t literate, you’ll get a shocker when you see the individual rise beyond your expectation. Just to remind you, the African Javelin Champion and the 2014 Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist, Julius Yego from Kenya, began learning the sport on YouTube. Today, most people self-educate, including many that went through the traditional style of education, because the formal system isn’t at the same pace with technological advancements. Therefore, if you want to remain relevant in your field, you mustn’t wait for the basic school – you must DIY – ‘do-it-yourself.’
What are the 10 things that will put you ahead of your competitors?
1. Love what you do
You must have an intense love for what you do – that’s what will keep you going when the going gets tough. For any choice you make, and for any direction you choose, the going does get tough sometimes, and if you’re just there to make ends meet, you’ll either not last long in it, or you’ll continuously get frustrated. You wouldn’t like to go, everyday, where you get frustrated – if you don’t love it, it will be tough to make it. To compete and emerge, first love what you do.
2. Use your energy
Talents, on their own don’t make you a success, or bring you success – it is what you put into it that does. You must put physical and mental energy into what you do. When I do articles, shoot videos, record audios, or interview people, I put in a lot of energy – I don’t only depend on talent and intelligence. I do a combination of talent, intelligence, and more of physical and mental energy. If I am going to run an interview for someone, I spend hours researching on the person, and making notes, because I need a good background information on the person to be able to ask relevant questions. After that, it takes even more time to convert the audio into texts – I spend hours, and sometimes, days, to painstakingly type out and edit the content. Sometimes, I am tempted to cut off part of the interviews because of the stress involved, especially the ones that run into over ten pages, but no, I don’t. You need to use your physical and mental energy to continue being relevant.
3. Work on reviews
When I posted a video for Udemy Course, I got lots of positive reviews, but just a few were negative, and one or two were damaging, but in spite of that, I have taken a closer look at the things I did right, to continue doing them, and to improve on where I didn’t do well. One of the criticisms I got was reflections on my glasses – until then, I never really noticed. I had to go on YouTube to learn how to position the lightings so that there wouldn’t be a reflection on my glasses. To be ahead of your competitors, don’t ignore reviews – work on them.
4. Be ready to learn
Gosh! I have seen people who aren’t willing to learn. I have also seen organisations that aren’t willing to bend to emerging technologies – they end up in history. You can’t be ahead of your competitors by sticking to your parochial perceptions. There’s a limit to which you can see, therefore, you must listen to other views, calmly assess them, and make a decision. But to not entertain another person’s perception, because you feel you have a certain understanding, is unhelpful to you as an individual, and definitely unhelpful to an organisation. As you learn, ask questions – I love to ask questions in order to straighten the dodgy bits – once you understand the dodgy bits, you’ll know how to navigate those remote areas of life and business.
5. Understand your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses
22 September 2018, Anthony Joshua defeated Alexander Povetkin in the seventh round to retain his unified heavyweight boxing titles. After the match, during an interview, Joshua had this to say about Povetkin, ‘I knew he was going to be strong to the head but weak to the body, so I was just mixing it up. Every jab takes a second of breath out of you and slows you down…’
Being ahead of your competitors involves studying your competitors – watch where they’re strong and weak, and know why they’re strong and weak. You must know the point at which you can cash in. If you think studying your competitors aren’t necessary, let me inform you that you’re being studied by them.
6. Be intuitive
Intuition is a subconscious recognition, realisation and understanding – it’s got nothing to do with mental intelligence. Sometimes, you’re confused, but what makes you pull through is a subconscious guidance – it’s like your inner unusual feeling. Literally, you may not want to make certain decisions on the direction to go, but when your subconscious bids you go, it may not make sense, just go.
7. Have a visionary team
You need a winning team to be ahead, and a winning team is visionary – they know where you are coming from, where you are, and where you’re going. You don’t need a team that argues and fights itself on the pitch during a competition. You don’t need a team that can’t shake off a temporary setback, fight back and win the game. You don’t need a team that gives in to frustration and abandons you on the field. What you need is a people that can see farther than where they stand, and are also able to some extent, effectively interpret what they see.
8. Time and Will are essential
Sometimes, you have to work round the clock to be ahead – that’s the sacrifice you have to make. Beating your competitors will take your time – a number of times, it will take all your time, but if you want to always win, you must always give everything it requires. Making a sacrifice takes something out of you – it is painful but gainful. People have to realise that talent is a passion, but passion isn’t passive – to make it work, it must be active – being active requires everything from within and without. Recently, I interviewed Daniel Okoduwa – a Nigerian born Australian Film Producer/Director, and also a Recording Artist. On the preview of his recent movie, Survive or Die, I saw that they shot some scenes on the Pacific Ocean, Desert, Caves, and Waterfalls. I thought it was a green screen, but he told me they were real. He said to get the exact boat they needed to shoot in the ocean, they had to search for eleven months, and that on the waterfall, they almost lost one of their crew members as they climbed, because it was equivalent to about an eleven storey building. Little wonder, why the film was nominated for Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards (AACTA). Listen, it doesn’t just happen – it happens because someone put in the time and the will. Ideas alone don’t give success – you must have the will to pound those ideas into reality.
9. Don’t always react
To test your level of maturity, some competitors will prick and poke you in order to see your reaction. If you let your guard down, they’ll hit you where it will hurt you most – they’ll probably knock you out. During wars, the way to easily locate enemies is to fire indiscriminate shots – an inexperienced foe will respond by firing back. When you fire back, you expose your location – sometimes, you don’t want your competitors to know where you stand, because you want to take them by surprise, but if you do a premature reaction, you’ll sell your strategy away cheaply. Time your reaction – make sure it goes according to plan.
10. Reward excellence
When your team do well, reward them – rewarding excellence is a great way of motivating your team. Sometimes, reward does not come in tangibility – it may be in form of praise, recognition or appreciation. And who says tangible reward isn’t necessary? Of course, it is. Buy someone that has done well lunch – buy him a wrist watch, or give him a plaque with his name and achievement on it. This goes a long way to inspire the team, and with that, you’ll get their hearts, and then, beat your competitors.