'Unfair Advantage': What's Yours and How Do You Capitalize on It?
We all wish we could have that ace in the hole, that sure thing that would set us apart from our fellow team members or potential clients. The truth is that most of us have one; we just fail to acknowledge it or use it to its fullest potential.
Do you know what your unfair advantage is?
First, a definition: Your "unfair advantage" is the skill you have that is your unique talent. Were someone investing in you or in your idea, your unfair advantage might be why you'd win the investment over the competition. On a team, your unfair advantage might be the reason you’re assigned a leadership role for a task. For clients, your unfair advantage could represent why you are the best person for the job at hand.
You might have an awareness of, and experience with, the ins and outs of a particular industry. You might be an effective leader with an ability to balance motivation with accountability. Your written and oral communication skills might be superior, or perhaps you might excel at breaking down complicated systems, ideas or projects into bite-size, manageable and easy-to-understand concepts.
Further, you might be the "glue" that holds a team together when morale is low. Perhaps you excel at remaining calm and centered during a time of crisis or an urgent deadline. Your problem-solving skills might allow you to offer ideas that are outside of the box anyone else would think of.
You can’t use your unfair advantage until you can name it.
Do you ever receive a compliment that you just shrug off because whatever is mentioned is just "easy" for you or something you regard as mere common sense? Do you find that there is a particular theme or topic that people consistently come to you with, or seek your consult about? Is there a type of project or task that ignites your passion, motivates you and is something you could go on and on about?
What exactly comes to mind?
You’re rarely encouraged to toot your own horn or pat yourself on the back. Sharing what you excel at can sound like bragging or selfishness or narcissism. But, rest assured: These questions are not intended to set you up for some grand announcement about why you’re superior to others.
Instead, the intent in helping you to nail your unfair advantage is to improve your self-awareness. It’s important that you know what you offer others and what you bring to the table. Once you organize your own thinking on the skills or talents that set you apart, you can make a concerted effort to start showing people this skill, rather than telling them you have it.
Knowing and using your unfair advantage sets you up for success.
Once you can dial-in on the skill set that sets you apart, start to use it to your own advantage. Make sure you’re demonstrating your ability in this area when you’re making a pitch or selling an idea. Offer examples of times you were successful and how you were able to make something happen.
Your unfair advantage will help you build trust and credibility with supervisors, co-workers, clients and prospective clients. Honing-in on this will also increase your own confidence; and when people are confident, they become infinitely more competent.
At some point, you’ll need to sell yourself: This is how.
When you're selling something, you're never going to leave the best feature until last. You wouldn’t call out all of your product's fine characteristics and then mumble the best feature or hope it will be found in the fine print. You’d say it out loud, right?
Similarly, at some point, you’ll be called upon to name your unfair advantage. You’ll be asked to say what makes you great. You’ll be challenged to answer why you might be better for the job than the person next to you.
Once you know your unfair advantage and can own it, you'll use it to meet the goal you want to accomplish, not just by naming that goal, but by offering details of how you've already accomplished important things using your skill.
No one can see or appreciate your talent, skills, or knowledge -- until you do first.
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