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The Myth of the Level Playing Field

The Myth of the Level Playing Field

I have spent many days strategizing with executives on their business goals, milestones and roadblocks. I am a big proponent of looking forward and not lamenting on the hand that was dealt — but my biggest trigger point and pet peeve is when someone says they just want to “level the playing field.”

Today, we are not dealing with a level playing field. The unemployment rate has skyrocketed, companies are laying off 15 percent or more of their staff and cutbacks are forcing the closing of landmark stores, schools and corporations; frankly this recession has caused many folks to tailspin into a depression. If you are looking for a level playing field … good luck. But there is good luck for some; the competition is stiff for new businesses and the ones that are making it are the entrepreneurs who have one thing that sets them apart from the rest … They believe in their own success.

They believe in themselves, in their business, in their product and they genuinely believe that they can help you with their services. They don’t care whether the competition is stiff, or if they were dealt a bad hand or if the playing field is level. They care about their businesses and how it is something so special that it can change a client’s world. The true entrepreneur is aware that the field is never level … the irregularities create competitive advantage.

Measuring Success

So, what is your competitive edge? How do you measure your success? I consider myself successful. I love my life, I’m healthy, and I truly love what I do, so for me I am a total success. I don’t know if I would have been able to say that a couple of years ago, when I was making twice as much money, living blocks from the Marina and had the coveted “corner office.” Nope; that was not success … that, to me, was a misery.

I would venture to guess that many people measure their success by their bank account and their work status.

Amazingly, people don’t bring their family, friends, health or happiness into this equation. So, in other words, “success” is code for monetary means. We can’t help ourselves; we’ve been conditioned through society to admire money and power, and now with our economy taking a beating we are all left with a new definition of success.

I believe we are all successful in so many ways. We have all had to overcome tragedy, hardship, and loss and we have had to be strong enough to move through it and survive. We are all being challenged again. Homeowners are struggling, small businesses are taking a big hit and companies are laying off employees, which is creating stress in the workplace and at home.

Smart Goals

We are all re-evaluating and re-assessing our goals making sure they are specific, measureable, attainable, reasonable and time bound. The acronym for these goals is apropos, also known as SMART goals. Many teachers, business executives and philosophers have adopted the principals of these goal-setting techniques.

Either way this goal re-assessment is our test and the only person grading the outcome is you. I know that whatever stresses and hardships you are facing right now, you have the strength to come out of this with a valuable lesson on your courage, the true meaning of friendship, and the importance of family and health. But most of all you will now have a new definition of your own success.

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” – Booker T. Washington

So this week, I challenge you to find define your own success and find your competitive advantage. Really dig deep and make a list of all the things you and your business bring to the table, then find out how you can take that list and apply it to your business marketing plan or just your everyday life. “Success comes in cans; failure in cant’s.” – Author Unknown.

Alisa Weinstein is a certified coach, business executive and entrepreneur. She supports other entrepreneurs to create businesses with focus, vision and action, and serves clients through individual and group coaching, seminars and public speaking. For more information, please contact Alisa at: