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From PART 1 : Discovering is a dynamic process of uncovering new (unexplored) or existing (underutilized) potentials/skills/ resources that had been hitherto unrecognized as meaningful or productive. While Competitive edge or advantage is an intentional nonstop method of efficiently positioning yourself against the competition. According to Eric Thomas, “what will you do if a thousand people want the same thing you wanted?” or “what will you do if a thousand others are dreaming exactly what you are dreaming”. I often ask people “how many of your ideas turned product have you seen on TV or even had to buy?”.
PRINCIPLE 3: Right investment in yourself
Investment is a strategic process of allocating a portion of your resources for a certain level of expectation in terms of returns. One of the greatest investment in the world is to invest in yourself because it pays the highest returns/rewards. Learning new/ unique skills, achieving an appreciable level in your personal and professional development is a critical key to having competitive edge. There is a saying that “if you are loaded, you will be needed”. According to Royale Scuderi, “Investing in yourself may be the most profitable investment you ever make. It yields not only future returns, but often a current pay-off as well. The surest way to achieve quality life, to be successful, productive, and satisfied is to place a priority on investing in both personal and professional growth”. In fact, it has a way of rubbing off positively on your children, colleagues, generation and everyone connected to you. The energy you put into unswerving investment in yourself plays a vital role in influencing the quality of your life now and in the future. Invest right in yourself could be in the area of Exploring your creative side, developing your skills and Nurturing your mind and body.
PRINCIPLE 4: Be ahead of change
Did you know shift happens and we are living in exponential times? Did you know top 10 jobs in 2010 where not in existence in 2004? How much more in 2017? Some countries are already preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist using technologies that haven’t been invented in order to solve problems the they don’t even know are problem yet. The U.S department of labor estimates that today’s learner will have 10-14 jobs by the age 38. The amount of new technical information is doubling every 2 years, this means that for anyone starting a technical degree, half of what they’ve learned in their first year of study will be outdated by the third year of study. Where do all these leave you? The world is a global village, meaning that the level performance expected from a graduate is in USA or Singapore or India or UK or Germany is expected from a Nigerian graduate. The idea is that you must be able to stand side by side or even shoulder high in the league of professionals who profess to do the same thing you do globally. Whatever field you choose, you must flow with and even ahead of the change so that you can have competitive advantage/ edge.
PRINCIPLE 5: Keep a company that keeps challenging you
You’re a product of two things the company you keep and the books you read. You smell the smell of your company. To this extent, the capacity of the people you surround yourself with will determine how much urge you have to grow your capacity to have competitive edge. You have to surround yourself with people who will mentor, challenge and task you on expectations and requirements the will keep you on your toes in the race for competitive edge. Remember that all your attainment means nothing when you don’t progress. Success is meaningless without dynamism. Success plus dynamism will give progress. When you imbibe the spirit of excellence, whatever stage you find yourself will always challenge you to press forward. You cannot dwell with giants, eat what they, drink what they drink and remain a dwarf. Success in not an end in itself. When you check deeply there are still many grounds to cover and more opportunities to optimize.
PRINCIPLE 6: Optimizing every opportunity
Optimization is the continuous process of finding the best, most efficient or highest achievable performance under any given constraints. There’s a saying that success is inevitable when opportunity meets preparation. However, how your chances of optimizing the opportunity is a function of the depth of your preparedness. Prepare and make the most of every opportunity when you meet people, next interview, next seminar or conference, next church service etc. You must be able show records of meetings or activities by collecting complimentary cards, certificates, videos, pictures, newspaper articles, letter of reference etc. as evidences of engaged opportunities.
PRINCIPLE 7: Competitive edge understands and respects time
Time is the indefinite continued progress of existence and events that occur in apparently irreversible succession from past through the present to the future. Note that time itself is indefinite but human time is definite. What makes it worse is that it is irreversible. Therefore, in order to optimize your life’s productivity, you have to make every moment count. To achieve this, you have to value every time you have, set intention to value every moment, set goals per time, audit how you have spent your time daily, invest your time don’t waste it (you can only optimize time but you can’t save time), you must develop time-optimizing habits, you must make every moment count, see the good side of every negative moment and remember time is the currency of life, you must really understand what you are exchanging it for. Time is life; when you waste it, you waste life.
PRINCIPLE 8: Competitive edge appreciates risks
People don’t like talking about risk and most time times its misconstrued as uncertainty. Anyway, the difference between risk and uncertainty is the level of information. For risk, there is level of information available while uncertainty does not present any conceivable information. Whichever you are faced with, you stand a chance of rewriting the course of your history and build a competitive edge. Imagine you were asked on an interview “what was your greatest challenge and how do you resolve it?”. You stand a better chance if you had on some occasions took a quantum leap into making critical decision at the moment when people don’t not seem to go with your choice and the prevailing circumstances seemed not to be positive. You need to ask yourself “what will it cost me if I take (not take) the risk. Sometimes it cost you little to nothing to take risk. Most times the higher the risk the bigger the reward. Why not apply for that job that you think you have at least 10% chance of being taken; what does it cost to approach that company you felt your skills might be relevant to their operation or why not make that call or what does it cost you to resign from that appointment? Every major breakthrough comes with risk(s). However, your experiences and your breakthroughs also form a significant part of your competitive edge.
PRINCIPLE 9: Consistent checks and reviews
Remember “overtaking is allowed”. The issue here is that you are trying to be your best self not trying to be better than someone else. Consistent checks and reviews give you a sense of self accountability. Eric Thomas said “You owe yourself an explanation”. You must be able to tell yourself what you are doing well and things you are not. I believe examination is not design to make candidates fail, it is a process designed to give just, fair and objective appraisal of a candidate. Therefore, examine yourself. You might be on a job and still send your cv/resume out just to check the relevancy of your profile not necessarily for job hunting. The idea is to check if you are still marketable. Find a place to test your new skills to check your proficiency level (in fact, you can do volunteering work to test and improve your proficiency level). Consistent checks and reviews will give credence to your current status and will serve as a platform for strategy to achieve competitive edge.
PRINCIPLE 10: The principle of favor
Whatever favor means, it will naturally respond positively to competitive edge. To receive any act of kindness beyond what is due or usual, you must be connected and committed to the of uncovering new (unexplored) or existing (underutilized) potentials/skills/ resources that had been hitherto unrecognized as meaningful or productive but is visibly, positively and productively active in you no matter how seemingly little. The Bible says “do not despise the days of little beginnings”. What you called that little effort, project or volunteering hours can attract favor. I ask someone about her activities in School as aside her first degree and she said that “I did nothing except for being assistant drama coordinator”. I said fine; nobody will want to take that serious for corporate appointment however, you can’t be a drama coordinator or assistant drama coordinator without having concept development, creativity and communication skills. Your creativity and communication skills are the competitive edge that will attract favor to you. So, on her CV, she puts Assistant Coordinator Drama, Concept and Creativity Unit. When you positively and productively engaged in impactful activities whether free or incentivized, there are some skills that are developed in the process, that might just be the competitive edge you need.
Everyone is open to opportunities, everyone has unique abilities. The question is if a thousand people (including you) merit the same opportunity, what competitive edge do you possess?