Know Your Competition

Thankfully this sign was posted on the Wild Goose Trail! I never would have been prepared for a cowboy hat wearing farmer driving a mini tractor across the trail. Phew!


After resting up a bit I was able to complete my training schedule this past week including a seven mile run yesterday! Turns out I had taken all the right measures in my rest and recovery. I could tell I was ready to run.

 How well do you know your competition? I always try to stay on top of what my company’s competition is up to. In my role it is essential to understand the competition’s business as well as what positions they are currently hiring and how they are attracting talent. I want to know what their career website looks like, what their presence on LinkedIn is, what career fairs they are visiting, etc. If there were more hours in the day I would spend much more time exploring these details because it is extremely valuable to know what I am up against so I can navigate forward appropriately.

It’s easy to identify competitors for your business but in running it may not be so clear. I see competition in running defined one of two ways: your actual competition in a race or yourself. One of the main reasons I enjoy running is for the personal competitive drive it offers me. It forces me to listen to my body and to push myself further. Since I define my running competition as myself I must be aware of what my “competition” is up to. I have learned many things about my “competition” since I started running. I know that I do my best when I have the least desire to run. For some reason I push myself harder then. I know that I get IT Band syndrome if I run too far or too fast too soon. I know that I need lots of water. I know that it is next to impossible to get myself out of bed in the morning and even harder if I want to run. I take that knowledge and adjust my approach accordingly. I listen to my competition to plan for my success.

Isn’t it logical then to apply this same principle in everything we do? If one of the ways we strive for success in business is to monitor our competition, we should monitor our own “competition” daily as well. Certainly without failure there would be no success but our success could be so much greater if we take the time to be in touch with ourselves to understand what makes us successful. You can take that knowledge and adjust your approach accordingly.

If you aren’t paying attention to your competition, you will soon find that you are no longer in the race.

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What was Old is New!

This article was a nice reminder that if everyone is doing the same thing, it isn’t “creative” or “innovative” anymore. Always strive to stay one step ahead and if that means going down a path you have aleady traveled don’t forget to take a closer look at what you’ve already seen. Take those things you missed the first time and use them to your advantage!

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A Taste of Humble Pie

My little future runner and I.

I was killing it yesterday on my run! I was averaging 7 minutes 44 seconds/mile. I have never, ever done that when I was running more than one mile much less on mile four! For a change of scenery I decided to run the Black River Trail at Kohler Andrae State Park and my boys came along to do some hiking. I felt awful before I started my run but something seemed to click once I got going. The world melted away as I focused on nothing really, just the bliss of knowing I was pushing myself. Somehow I was still averaging around eight and a half minutes per mile at just past mile five of my six mile run. Just as I was thinking to myself how awesome I was, I turned the corner and BAM! I twisted my left ankle.

After I yelled a few things out loud that I won’t share here, I realized exactly what had happened. I had let myself get arrogant. My ego had allowed me to forget that my surroundings were new and that I should probably have been paying attention to the trail. I’m a runner. I can do whatever I want because it is just so easy for me. Wrong! Every now and then a taste of humble pie can be good.

Since I have been a recruiter for awhile I find myself doing this same thing while at work. I tend to set myself on auto pilot and forget to pay attention to my surroundings. I forget to respect my “competition” and as a result I have missed opportunities. Just as my running scenery changes, so does my recruiting scenery. Recruiting is not the same as it was eight years ago. It is just as important in both running and recruiting to never let yourself get too comfortable or you could get hurt. Life is about learning and part of learning is observation. While confidence is always a good thing you should never allow yourself to become arrogant.

Therefore, you should always remember to check your ego at the door and tie your confidence on with your sneakers (or heels if you are going to work).

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