If you’re like anyone else in business, you face some competition. If you aren’t ready for it you might want to consider getting out of the ring. That being said, it’s important to stop focusing on what competition is doing and run your race. Play more offense instead of defense.
This is kinda funny, but true: I still hold school records for track, and I’ve been out of high school for 20 years. When I would run, I loved the competition behind it. I ran mid to long distance. When you run that kind of race, there is only so much energy you have. If I started out too fast to try and keep up with my competition, I would run out of steam when it really counted: coming down the homestretch. I got worried if I was leading the pack around the first turn because everyone started out too fast….they would lose steam because they didn’t run their race. I would have to focus my mind and say over and over, “Run your race, Becky. Run your race.” Running on offense is what got me and my team to state competition.
In business, it’s the same things all over, but on a more complicated scale. I’ve been noticing lately that when I put out content, I’ll see other coaches use that same content, but put a spin on it. Differentiate themselves. And for a hot second, I was getting caught up in it. I got annoyed. I work really hard to come up with original content that can help other people. And then someone just uses that?!?! I wanted to counter back. But then I realized I need to keep my blinders on and play offense. Playing defense wins championships in sports, but playing offense wins you business. I have to practice what I coach.
I help my clients stay in their lane. The world is full of good ideas and impressive-looking people. For most sales people and business owners, though, they have skill sets, goals, and resources that are very different from their competition and others they watch and learn from. It’s important to focus on their own strengths, goals, and create a schedule that amplifies them. Just because something works for someone else doesn’t mean it’ll work for you. The shiny new idea can become a major distraction.
What does playing defense in business look like? You see everyone else as pawns that get in your way. And because its about you and the ego and not your goals and customers, you become obsessed with out-performing your competition. But the thing about playing defense is that you might win the short-game, but lose your reputation. And a reputation is really all you have to go on. (Brand Builders Group, are you proud of me?!?! I’m hearing what you’re teaching about reputation!!)
Here is what happens when you play defense in business:
- You play small.
- It creates a scarcity mentality.
- It sucks all the energy out of you and you have nothing left to give your clients and customers. (This leads to burnout.)
- You get a reputation for being a bully.
- You turn off your current clients and they start looking for someone who focuses on them, not what will feed your ego and make you more money.
I grew up in a competitive family….and we had a scarcity mentality. I was the middle of 7 children. You had to do something impressive to stand out. We received government food sometimes and Dave Ramsey even featured our story on his annual giving show last December. (In 1981, our old landlord had given my parents the rent check back. That’s the only reason we were able to have presents that year for Christmas.) My parents worked hard, received a random small inheritance when I was in elementary school, and were able to pay off debts and get caught up. They were able to retire in their 50s. All 7 children are college graduates, with 3 having advanced degrees.
So the feeling of competition and scarcity has served me well by forcing me to work hard, but I’ve also had to do a ton of internal work to overcome it. There is plenty to go around and what my family and I need will be provided to us in time. As a mom, wife, friend, and volunteer, I simply can’t expend the energy on an ego battle and play defense in business. There is a limited amount of time and energy I have and I need to use it strategically. And this is what I try to communicate to my clients.
So I play offense and leave defense to the young bucks. Here’s what playing offense looks like:
- You know exactly what you want and stick to your plan.
- Abundancy focused.
- Creates positive energy because you do what you love to do that you’re good at while providing value to others.
- You earn a reputation for authenticity
- The clients and customers you are meant to serve are attracted to you
How do you play offense in business and in life?