Four Lessons For The Underdog On How To Win In Business


The biblical story of David and Goliath is one pondered every day by many in the business world who face adversity and adversaries that seem unconquerable. As stories go, this one is captivating because it pits a seemingly weaker opponent, David, against the almighty Goliath, who is self-assured in his size and power and is self-touted as the “invincible one.”

This parable applies to everyone who, at some point in their business trajectory, has had to face someone or something that appeared to be bigger, stronger and better. Let’s face it: We’ve all had that moment of sheer terror laced with anxiety where we thought, “Am I good enough to meet with this person, or do this project?”

The buildup of fear and doubt can be sometimes paralyzing, thus diminishing our light and the voice we once thought we had. So how does one go about regaining their strength and verve, their ability and talent to take on anyone or anything and get things done? Here are my suggestions.

1. Being authentic in what you do will make you a force to be reckoned with.

Do not forget that in every circumstance where you meet someone, you are being scrutinized on how authentically you speak and present yourself. We are all engaged in sizing up everyone we come into contact with. The conclusion of a pass or fail is drawn so quickly, sometimes you don’t even see it coming.

Remember: Be authentic in what you say and what you mean to be known as someone who is dependable, reliable, truthful and most importantly, trustworthy. Show those qualities, and people will know that they are facing a valuable and worthy person. This translates into you being able to handle anything that comes your way, and being the last one standing, as those with lesser motives will fall by the wayside.

2. Being underestimated is an opening to watch, listen and learn in front of unsuspecting eyes.

In my experience, if you bring a quiet and observant disposition forward, you have an excellent opportunity to assess others’ strengths and weaknesses, and then be able to best position yourself when facing them in business. The art of observation and information is in the how and when you apply what you’ve gathered in your wheelhouse. You will be amazed at how flattered those who are your focal point become when they realize you’ve actually taken them under study.

3. Being in servitude will ensure an open invitation to whomever you wish to access.

Being of service is something that is cultivated over time — something of a reputation builder. If you adopt humility as an approach, and are earnestly in service first and focused on yourself second, the number of people who will want to do business with you will grow exponentially.

And that is ultimately what we all want: to be in a position where we have opportunities and choices about who we do business with, and how we get to execute the business at hand. If the reputation that precedes you is that you are in it for the good of all, you become the one who chooses rather waiting to be chosen, thus solidifying your position in the business world as a thought leader and someone others seek out.

4. Knowing when to assume risk and when to avoid it is key to winning.

The following questions are important when evaluating risk:

• Is this the right time to engage, or do I defer to a later date?

• Is my fear based on past experiences, or on not being able to predict the outcome?

• Is there some other opportunity that I should be focusing on at this time?

• What do I risk if I do nothing?

The greatest rival when assessing whether to take a risk or not is fear. Not someone or something, but rather mind over matter. Fear is this invisible force that we all have, and it is in the permanency of its presence that we are forced to realize that we are greater than this intangible thing that limits us. If the want and belief that we can win is a constant companion and at the forefront of our thoughts, then we have the perfect preparation for the duel. The good news: We have control over which side wins.