Why? What’s your competitive advantage? You have to have one in order to carve out a profitable place for yourself, or your company. For some people, it’s the fact that they’re competitive. If you aren’t competitive, maybe your talent is finding people to partner with who are competitive.
You can compete with others, but even better, you can compete against yourself. Warren Buffet calls it his “internal scorecard”.
Be better than yesterday’s you. I have an internal drive that demands results daily. It’s frustrating at times, because progress is two steps forward, one step back. But it keeps me moving toward my dreams.
12 years ago, I decided I wanted to be an author and professional speaker.
- My first book was self-published when I was still involved in alternative medicine. I wanted to be the next Andrew Weil or Deepak Chopra. I wrote and wrote online. The book didn’t make a huge impact- in fact, the first review attacked my character! But I wrote it, and that was an important step forward.
- I was a complete introvert with zero charisma. So, I spent a couple years in Toastmasters learning the basics of public speaking. Then did I stand-up comedy, even though I never thought I could. I made people laugh. Later I took improv comedy classes. These all developed my performance and communication abilities.
- My first “real” book wasn’t published until last year, and suddenly people looked at me differently. I was a real expert that they should listen to.
- Now I do professional paid keynote speaking and paid webinars. I make them laugh and they get useful info that helps them move their businesses forward.
It wasn’t too many years ago that professional paid speaking seemed as far away from me as the moon. I wasn’t sure I could do it, or that anyone would want me to. Now I know I can do this- I’ve proven it to myself and others. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that it’s working out. But I worked hard for it, for more than a decade!
The point is: don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do what your dream is.
The biggest example recently is Jeremy Lin. He was overlooked because of stereotypes. They told him he didn’t belong by cutting him. When he got the right chance, he revived the Knicks with a 7-game win streak and historic-level performances by someone who’d played as few NBA games as he had. There are only a few NBA Greats that ever did what he has. Now other teams center their defensive plans around stopping him. He’s become one of the most important guys in the league within a few weeks- but it took him years of preparation and ignoring naysayers to get there. He reinvented himself.
Go after your dreams.