So and so is already doing that…personal branding lessons from Olympians
“I can’t be the —– expert.
So and so is already the —– expert.”
When you hear those words in your brain, puh-lease stop and consider these two things:
Because you spend hours each week, noting where your competitors are speaking, publishing and being featured, you are sure that the marketplace knows exactly what you know – that your competitor is the one who’s famous in your field. You see this other person in your industry as already “owning” a certain expertise, so you think you can’t claim expertise in the same topic.
Here’s a little story that shows how being too far inside the echo chamber could be distorting your business reality.
Translation: she was saying that a competitor already owned that position in the marketplace.
Reality check: there are 8.3 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. More than enough for both of them.
2. Your brand sets you apart.
What if Ryan Lochte said, “I can’t be an Olympic swimmer. Michael Phelps is already an Olympic swimmer.” Totally ridiculous, right? But that’s what you’re saying when you hold back because you think someone else already “owns” the expertise on a certain topic.
Now, that business branding lesson again: Lochte and Phelps, while being nearly identical in what they do, are different people with wildly different images.
There’s another branding lesson in the Phelps/Lochte brand-off that up-and-comers can apply, too. Don’t be fake.
The upshot is this: even when you do exactly the same thing as another business owner, who you are and how you do what you do is makes you unique.
Your fame boosting assignment:
This week, I want you to not do something. Don’t look at your competitors (people who provide a similar service to a similar target market.) Unsubscribe from their newsletters, don’t read their articles, don’t attend their sessions at conferences, don’t listen to their teleseminars or watch their webinars. Focus all your attention on your clients and how you can best help them. What you’ve got to share is valuable – the marketplace needs you.
Love this sentiment! Great reminder….
This is a great reminder to be true to yourself! Love the comparison of the 2 best swimmers in the world. There’s room for plenty more in the pool!
Great analogy, Janine. Dive in!
I love your assignment to unsubscribe from competitors lists. I love to learn from others and by nature I can not feel jealousy, but when the moment comes when I feel that the other one is so ahead and I am not, I feel urged to express my admiration to what the “competitor” have done and to try to be my best. Your suggestion is very valuable – not wasting any time but focusing on what my work is. Thank you!
Great shift from jealousy to learning and admiration, Maria.
HI Lori! This article made me laugh because it’s so true! Your Olympian compare/contrast is so dead on! Also, I love your comments on how “so and so is already doing that.” I used to feel that way and that held me back for far too long. I then realized that as long as we’re really authentic and teaching what we know because we lived it instead of because we read it in a book and it sounded cool, then we’re all set and that we really ARE the expert. People can smell in-authenticity and it stinks. Thanks Lori! Janet
Isn’t it funny, the kinds of things we let stop us from success?
Thanks for the great article….a good reminder about what being an expert means in any field. Like Janet, I laughed at the Ryan/Michael comparison.
This SO used to be me!!! Comparing to other’s both people who have been coaching about inner wisdom for a long time and even new coaches. Until I realized, just what you write about, that my OWN self is what creates that uniqueness of what I do and no one is me (thankfully 😉 Great words of wisdom!!!!
In business, just like in love, there’s someone who’s absolutely perfect for you.
Nice! I think so many entrepreneurs (myself included) fall into this trap of denying their expertise, niche and ever their passion because someone else seems to be doing the same thing. When are we going to get it. It’s not WHAT we offer or do as much as it is WHO we are and HOW we serve others. Who you are in your business, why you do what you do, and how you deliver the goods is what allows you to dominate your field… because there is only one you, silly!
Like you said, don’t be fake. As Judy Garland said, “Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else.”
“It’s not WHAT we offer or do as much as it is WHO we are and HOW we serve others.” Beautifully said, Nancy!
I’ve so been there too, thinking that so-and-so is already doing that. You bring up so many good points too, like the idea that we are all unique and that there’s plenty of room and opportunity for everyone! An abundance mindset is helpful too, for focusing on the best ‘you’ you can be rather than worrying about what your competition is doing. I so agree with you about not paying so close attention to competitors. Better to not be influenced by them in what you’re doing. Thanks Lori!
“Influence” is the perfect word, Linda. That’s one of the major reasons that I unsubscribed from so many marketing/PR newsletters myself – it was distracting me from my own tribe and what they truly need. Thank you.
I think being real is one of the keys to true happiness. Thanks for your post – I can’t unsubscribe from everyone (my guilty pleasure is blog-reading) but staying true to my own clients needs and my own voice? Yes, please.
No worries, Sandi! If reading blog posts makes you happy, do it. But if reading those of people you consider to be competition makes you feel anxious, unhappy or unworthy, cut it out, sister. Sounds like you’ve tapped into your authentic voice.
Lori–this post is incredible insightful AND helpful. I am right at this very moment struggling with this issue as there is a colleague in Arkansas who is doing exactly what I am working on creating in my world. We are the same yet wildly different and your post has given me the fire I need to really look deep and not continue the comparative analysis. I am off to unsubscribe and vow to continue developing my plan with more conviction. THANK YOU!!!
That is awesome, Phyllis! So glad to inspire. Not reading/watching what others do in my same field is key for me – it helps me break away from the habit of doing things the way competitors (or colleagues) do them.
Well written, thoughtful and intuitive! Love this piece… A lesson for all those who claim ” but she’s doing that” . A good reminder that no matter what, we all have our own unique gifts in the market place!
Thanks, Kelly! It’s a reminder for all of us, that in every industry, even every topic, there is room for many “experts.”