It’s easy to believe that the competition is made up of other companies or people who want the same thing that you do; to land the new client, to get share of market, or wallet, or mind. It’s compelling to think that they are out to beat you.

But sometimes it’s not them, it’s you.

In The Art of War (which you can find here), sixth century B.C. military strategist Sun Tzu says,

“Know your opponent, know yourself and know the terrain: one hundred challenges without danger.”

Competition is everything that stands in the way of success.

Yep, your competitors are certainly out there, working hard to get over the line before you.

Absolutely, it’s critical to understand, plan and organise for the terrain where you operate.

Spend time looking out the window, yes, but don’t forget to look in the mirror too.

A few months ago I stood on the start line of my marathon training for Boston 2009. I’ve done plenty or marathons before so I know how to run, how to train and how to race. Two months into my program and my training came crashing down. I haven’t run since.

I was focused on the finish line, motivated to train, clear about my plan. I was disciplined.

So focused, motivated, clear and disciplined in fact that I completely forgot to know myself, to listen to my body. I pushed through the pain and limped into an overuse injury that stopped me running for the last two months. I withdrew from Boston this morning.

What attitudes are in your way? What long-held assumptions are tripping you up? What issues are you ignoring or tiptoeing around every day? What must you change, what should not be allowed to wait? Listen and do.

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Focus Managing