Business is a complicated game that has the power to make or break both your personal and professional dreams. It’s an endless field of opportunities that you can seize to become a more successful entrepreneur and a better person in general.
Although a lot of people don’t understand and don’t appreciate it, the fact remains that competitors are the ones who force you to improve and do your best to succeed. A healthy competition will encourage you to boost professional credibility while gaining important insights about yourself as a person.
This type of self-improvement is fundamental. According to Brian Tracy, an author and a motivational speaker, personal development is a major time-saver: “The better you become, the less time it takes you to achieve your goals.”
But what is it that your business rivals can teach? How they can help you to become a more accomplished individual? Keep reading this article as we are about to show you 20 valuable life lessons you can learn from your competitors.
Table of Contents
1. Planning is key
The first lesson you need to learn from your more experienced competitors is that planning makes the difference between top-performers and underachievers.
If you can organize your team in a way that allows everyone to do their maximum, you can expect to build a profitable company.
The same lesson goes for personal life as well. Although it is sometimes necessary to follow the feeling and play the way your guts is telling you, most of the time it is much better to stay prepared and plan your life rationally. Doing so, you can avoid a lot of unpleasant surprises.
“Without goals and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.” –Fitzhugh Dodson
2. Analysis is a starting point
This tip goes hand in hand with the previous one. You can hardly launch a productive business without thorough preparations and analysis.
It is particularly important to analyze competitors, their offers, advantages, and weaknesses because it gives you precious insights into market conditions as a whole.
Personal life is by no means different as it also forces you to think before acting. Analyze the opportunities your life is giving you and grab the ones that suit your interests. Don’t wander around chasing rainbows but rather try to focus on realistic goals.
“The successful man is the one who finds out what is the matter with his business before his competitors do.” –Roy L.Smith
3. Nothing comes easy In life
When you see some of your biggest rivals, fame and fortune are probably the first things you notice.
But you should be more insightful than that and understand that your competitors worked extremely hard to earn their current positions and stay there long-term.
Nothing comes easy in life, so you have to keep giving your best day in, day out. It is the basic precondition for success in the professional and personal environment. This is not easy, but rest assured that hard work pays off in the end.
“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic. It takes sweat, determination and hard work.” –Colin Powell
4. Passion is the biggest driver
You can hardly find a successful entrepreneur who is not passionate about his/her business.
Passion is the biggest driver in all areas of life and work, which is the lesson you should never forget. If you don’t feel comfortable doing your job, you are most likely to stop doing it sooner or later. This is why it is way better to concentrate on activities you really enjoy and appreciate.
Life without enthusiasm can only get you so far, but true passion can eliminate almost all obstacles on your road to success.
“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” –Oprah Winfrey
5. Enjoy baby steps
We would all love to take big steps and make a breakthrough instantly, but this is not how business works.
Just take a look at your competitors and ask yourself one question: How long have they been building their empires?
You will probably figure out that it took them years or even decades to become market leaders. The lesson is obvious – be patient and enjoy baby steps. The road to success is filled with many small victories, so make sure to appreciate and celebrate each one.
“Don’t think about what can happen in a month. Don’t think about what can happen in a year. Just focus on the 24 hours in front of you and do what you can to get closer to where you want to be.”
6. Not everyone will like you and your deeds
Another critical lesson you have to understand is that not everyone is going to like you, your goals, and your actions.
It’s a natural consequence of becoming a prosperous business person – some people will admire you, but some will be jealous and envy you for being so fortunate.
What can you do about it? The simplest answer is: Nothing.
You don’t have to do anything about individuals who disrespect you. The only thing you need to do is face the fact that there will always be people who don’t enjoy your success. If you don’t hurt anyone intentionally and you feel like doing the right thing, there is absolutely no need to react.
“Silence your critics. Ignore your haters. Delete your cynics.” –Robin Sharma
7. Listen to the people around you
You might be the smartest person in the world, but it still doesn’t mean that you know everything.
For this reason, it is crucial to listen to the people around you, consider their suggestions, and make use of the best suggestions.
This is exactly what your competitors are doing – they listen to the audience and try to put customers’ ideas into practice when they see a good opportunity. The moral of this story is clear: no man is an island, so you don’t want to work in isolation and neglect feedback coming from the people in your close proximity.
“The quieter you become. The more you can hear. Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking.”
8. It’s okay to make mistakes
This goes without saying, but we just have to emphasize the fact that it’s okay to make mistakes.
If you carefully analyze your business rivals, you will soon notice that each one of them made smaller and/or bigger mistakes in their careers.
You cannot avoid it, but rather try to learn from failures and do your best not to repeat the same mistakes again. It is a valuable part of the learning process, so don’t fall into despair when you do something wrong.
“A mistake should be your teacher, not your attacker. A mistake is a lesson, not a loss. It is a temporary, necessary detour, not a dead end.”
9. Respect your opponents
We already mentioned that healthy competition is what keeps you evolving and progressing.
Bearing that in mind, you should stop seeing entrepreneurs in your niche as enemies. Instead, you should accept them as natural competitors who are working as hard as you to win over more customers. Although you fight for the same target audience, you should respect each other and acknowledge good moves made in the process.
The same principle applies to personal life since you do have to respect individuals who are trying to make the most of their skills and opportunities.
10. Crisis management
People have to face critical situations in their lives every now and then. No one is immune to crisis, but you can learn how to deal with it if you closely monitor your business rivals.
Successful entrepreneurs are usually experts in crisis management, which is definitely a special sort of skill.
This is a valuable lesson that can help you in the time of professional crisis, but you can also use it in your private life as well. When you have to confront a critical situation, it is always good to keep composure and avoid overreacting.
“When written in chinese, the word crisis is composed of two characters. One represents danger, and the other represents opportunity.” –John F.Kennedy
11. Become a genuine leader
Some say that leaders are born, but we strongly believe that you can learn how to become a genuine leader.
After all, top managers have a certain skill set and all you need to do is be aware of those traits and try to embrace them.
There is no better place than the business world to learn how leaders behave and react to a sensitive situation. Looking at your closest rivals, you can definitely find inspiration and learn how to guide a team of employees like a true leader.
“Leadership is not a position or a title. It is action and example.”
12. Take care of your family
No matter how great it might be, business success cannot replace your family or turn back the time you failed to spend with the loved ones.
A plethora of professionals fell into the same trap – they focused too much on work and ended up rich but alone. You definitely don’t want to make the same mistake, so you better learn on other people’s mistakes. Take care of your family and don’t let anything get in the way – no fortune is big enough to compensate for the time you spent away from your wife and kids.
13. Take a rest
If you want to spend some quality time with your family members and get ready for new business actions, you need to take a rest regularly.
Everybody in the business world knows it and so do your competitors.
First of all, you must unplug and prevent possible interruptions because messages, calls, and emails can ruin your vacation and make everyone around you very nervous. Besides that, you need enough time to recharge your batteries and get back to work fresh and relaxed.
“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” –Eleanor Brownn
14. Know your limits
If you want to avoid major burnouts and disastrous failures, you need to understand both your strengths and your weaknesses.
This basically means knowing your limits and not biting off more than you can chew.
You can probably find a few examples around you – check out your industry and you will notice people who started strongly but failed to maintain the same level of consistency throughout their careers. This mostly happens because business persons are too ambitious and go beyond their real capabilities.
Therefore, you should not let the first successes distort your reasoning – stay calm and stick to the things you do the best in order to keep the long-term stability.
“Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in your mind.”
15. Don’t be afraid to change
Another thing you can learn from your rivals is to accept reality and change if necessary.
Just think about information technologies for a while: the world as we know it today, with all of its smartphones, social media, and means of communication, did not exist 20 years ago. Entrepreneurs who do not adapt are doomed. The same goes for your private life, so don’t hesitate to embrace changes when you see a chance to improve.
“Progress is impossible without change and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” –George Bernard Shaw
16. Loyalty Is highly appreciated
Standing still is never a good thing for an entrepreneur, but constant changes don’t mean you can forget about loyalty in business.
On the contrary, loyalty is highly appreciated and you can never forget people who helped you become what you are today.
The same logic applies to the private realm – you have to keep your friends close enough and nurture mutual relationships. After all, these are the people who are there for you when you need them the most, so don’t neglect old friends just because you keep meeting new acquaintances.
“Don’t forget who helped you out while everyone else was making excuses.”
17. Money isn’t all there is
After everything we’ve stated so far, you probably understand that money is not all there is.
Older and renowned competitors can surely teach you this lesson because they’ve been in the same situation a long time ago. Personal wealth allows you to live more comfortably, but it is by no means a goal per se.
Many other things are much more important in life, including your family, friends, and colleagues. At the same time, you should keep higher goals in mind and try to contribute to whatever cause you consider to be most relevant – environment, charity, and so on.
“It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy. But it’s good,too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy.” –George Lorimer
18. Don’t let the fortune change you
Following your competitors, you will probably realize that the thing that makes them so successful is the fact that they keep their feet on the ground.
You will hopefully earn tons of money throughout the career, but don’t ever let it change your personality. Always keep in mind who you are and where you come from as it’s the only way toward self-improvement.
“If your pride is bigger than your heart and your ego is bigger than your head, grow up or you will be alone for life.”
19. You don’t have to be perfect
We already told you that it’s okay to make mistakes. You just need to move on and prevent the same mistake from happening all over again.
This is what your rivals do and this is what motivates them to improve and perfect their skills. If you accept failures as a natural part of personal development, you will realize that you don’t have to be perfect.
“You were born to be real, not perfect.”
20. Stay unique
Do you know what separates successful and productive individuals from their less efficient peers? It is their ability to do everything slightly better and differently.
Your goal should be to stay unique and promote the features that make you and your organization different than anyone else in the niche. This is the only mechanism that guarantees excellent results in the long run.
Business people don’t just get the opportunity to earn money but also to polish their personalities and become better as individuals. It’s an important side effect of facing and dealing with your business rivals year after year, so you should know how to make use of this privilege and boost personal development.
We showed you here 20 valuable life lessons that you could learn from your competitors. Keep out tips in mind and don’t forget to use them – it will make you a better and more accomplished person.
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