“We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained. – Marie Curie
If you look at the most successful businesses in the world, top athletes or performers, or even brilliant musicians, they all have one thing in common – they dominate their sector. Amazon doesn’t plan to just compete or be number two in their space, so why should you. At his peak, Tiger Woods wiped the ground with his competition in order to stay on top. Google wants to own a piece of every interaction on the internet. Unfortunately, many people take an ‘average is good enough’ approach to their work and careers. They may be inhibited and don’t want to stand out from the crowd, or perhaps they are fearful of success which will separate them from their tribe, or maybe they never had an exceptional role model. Who knows, but for many people, average is good enough. In the long-run this is a death spiral strategy for your and your business.
Don’t make average your goal, instead plan to dominate your sector.
The world is rapidly changing from a technological, demographic and economic perspective. Global competition is everywhere online, millennials are smart and motivated to work hard, and the middle class is being squeezed to the lower class by taxation, regulation and inflation. Plan to dominate. Even if you shoot for the best, but fall short, you will be much further ahead of planning to be average and achieving it.
Dominate, not compete. If you plan to dominate the sector, and hit an obstacle, you still have safety margin to bounce back. If you plan to compete, and hit an obstacle, it will likely put you out of business. Domination thinking changes your mindset. It moves you into a much higher psychological position, since it takes way more effort to be the best in a sector, then just be good.
Prepare for hardship. The earliest homesteaders faced the roughest of conditions, but also settled the best lands. Those that came later had an easier time but were left with the rocky soil. We usually substantially underestimate the difficulty of achieving something great, and give up to easily. Get yourself ready for the grind. Set massive goals:
Make your goals bigger than anything you have ever conceived before, and much bigger than those around you. Then break them down into bite sized pieces that are reasonable. But start with the unreasonable goals.
Become an expert in your field. Attaining expert status in your field will ultimately enable you to dominate the competition and create a long-term and valuable proposition to your employer, parties, and customers.
Build a reputation as the go-to person. To dominate market position means that you are, without any doubt, the go-to person for that particular skillset and that your reputation means you consistently deliver value, well above and beyond your competition. This means always saying yes to a project, then figuring out later how to deliver it. Always following through. Always being known the person that delivers.
Avoid competitive situations and seek out niches you can own, and then make it very difficult for anyone else to enter your territory.
Eamonn has a B. Eng. (Electrical) from Lakehead University, MBA (Finance) from University of Toronto, and has completed Executive Education at Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He lives in Vancouver, Canada. Follow him on twitter @EamonnPercy.