I’d Rather Be the Underdog
May 21, 2010Posted by james

Underdog Army defeated Syracuse University in the opening round of the NCAA playoffs last week.  Syracuse was the 2-time defending National Champion and the number 2 ranked team in the country. Many consider it to be the greatest upset in the history of the tournament.

Teams often want to be the favorites going into a game, especially when a championship is on the line. They feel that it gives them a competitive advantage - a psychological edge. The favorite team feels honored to have been recognized for superior athletic skills and their play in the games leading up to the championship. Rather than being placed in a position where they might question themselves or their ability, they are given reason to feel self confident from the get go.

In my opinion, however, this self-confidence is the very reason that I would rather be the underdog.

I don’t like being told that I can’t do something. It makes me feel compelled to prove myself. Perhaps I’m playing scared, but being the underdog makes me want to rise beyond expectations. My competitive spirit kicks in. I want to prove I can win.

Being the underdog doesn’t dishearten me. Instead, it forces me to concentrate. I have to focus on my strengths. I have to analyze the other team’s weaknesses. My underdog team needs to put together a game plan that magnifies the other team’s weaknesses through the use of our strengths. As Army showed in the game against Syracuse, having the underdog moniker doesn’t have to weaken you. It is just as likely to bring out the best in you.

Over the years, I have been able to apply my strength as the underdog to my business - especially in the beginning when I first started. There were often names bigger and more recognizable than mine competing for the same business. I had to prove my abilities against my competitors’ even though I had a newcomer’s reputation and they had reputations in the industry built upon years of experience.

So I built a game plan. I looked for opportunities in the insurance industry, businesses that weren’t being well served such as funeral homes and gave more personal attention to them. It took time, but with steady focus, resolve and a game plan, I saw again that being in the underdog position can bring out your best.