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Give Yourself an Edge Over the Competition Every Day

Give Yourself an Edge Over the Competition Every Day

June 24, 2008

There's a way to give yourself a competitive advantage before you even begin each day that no one talks about.

I'm not talking about gulping down five raw eggs and chasing chickens in the morning like Rocky would do.

Nor am I talking about meditating just before the break of dawn each morning, although that's not a bad idea.

But there is a way to give yourself an edge over the competition.

It's kind of like giving yourself homefield advantage in a game. You often hear players talk about how the home crowd gives them a lift to play among fans that encourage you and respect you. There's a comfort level playing in familiar surroundings where you know how the ball bounces or how the wind may effect a throw or shot.

Homefield is such an advantage in professional football that the odds-makers in Las Vegas automatically give the home team a 3-point advantage. In basketball, where the crowd is so close a player can land in someone's lap 5 rows back, playing at home is a tremendous advantage and some odds-makers give the home team 4 points before the first shot.

Imagine giving yourself an edge like that? Before you even walk in the door in the morning you're already a favorite over the competition.

How can you give yourself that same edge?

Live and work in your core competency. If you design your life around doing the things that you're passionate about and that can pay you well to do it, everything will come easier for you and you'll always be coming up with breakthrough ideas and better ways of doing things.

Leverage your passion, give yourself an edge

When you live and work in your core competency, you're leveraging your talents and gifts so automatically you're doing things better than most people. You're giving yourself an edge over the competition.

Robert Fabbio did just that. As successful as he was as a senior manager at IBM, Prime Computer, Applix and Kodak, he felt that he could do more. He knew he was capable of doing more than just managing at a major company so he created his own business.

He used his gift of improving businesses by creating Trivoli Systems, a software company that helps companies better manage their infrastructure, operations and IT processes. He did so well he sold the company seven years later to IBM for $743 million.

Working in your core competency doesn't always lead to great financial wealth. Kurt Timken is a great story as told by Po Branson in his book, What Should I Do with My Life? The True Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question. (This is another book I recommend for your summer reading.)

Born into a successful family business, Kurt went on to get the highest levels of corporate training at Harvard Business School. He was groomed to continue in the ways of his father and great-great grandfather and take over as CEO of Timken Bearings.

But, this was not to be. Kurt had other ideas in mind for himself, and did not follow the path that had been laid out for him.

Although successful as a manager at the company, he realized he was not happy with himself or the life he was living. After his marriage fell apart, he started questioning if he was really doing what he wanted with his life.

He felt his true calling was in law enforcement. He didn't even know why, but that was something that he had always wanted to do.

Kurt struggled through some of his most difficult times afterwards searching for a job. He went through the Rio Honda Police Academy Training, which only landed him a one-year volunteer position as community relations officer in an anti-gang unit. A year later, he was hired as a police officer and now works the most dangerous neighborhood in all of Los Angeles.

Despite the danger involved in his job, he's now happy with himself and feels he's having a positive impact on the people for whom he is working. This is what he was really looking to do with his life: To make a difference. He learned this in business school, but is much happier pursuing his goal in law enforcement.

It took a great deal of courage and commitment to make the career change, especially to overcome the initial challenges in his way. But he had an edge - his passion for law enforcement that kept him going and that has enriched his life today.

What's your passion? Are you leveraging your talents to give yourself a competitive advantage?

Always taking you from where you are to where you want to go.

Jon