The concept of Positioning intrigues me and is a topic I continue to deeply study and meditate on. More so in my journey as an entrepreneur, as I believe it’s a wisdom to grasp early in building any vision.
I believe that a business should be self-sustaining. We know, by law, that a company is a separate legal person. As a consequence, I’m a proponent that a company should take care of itself. Much like an adult (or so we would hope)! The engine and machinery that supports the business should be well oiled, regularly serviced and strategically applied so as to output a vibration and frequency that sounds in the airspace and calls forth everything that is necessary and required for the business to be fruitful. Whether it be human capital, financial capital, customers, suppliers, influence, impact and technology; you name it. Whatever it takes to operate the business with the desired level of excellence and to produce the maximum results should avail itself and effortlessly find its way to the business. Simply by responding to the call that the business sends out. And while the results of Positioning will be physically evident through an established and flourishing business with a growing brand and goodwill, the process begins in the realms and spaces unseen and unheard, where something takes place to align the business with everything it needs in order to succeed by sending out vibrations and an energy powerful enough to ensure this.
Now, “isn’t this Preparation”, you ask? And the answer is, no. It’s a place more than Preparation. Preparation begins from the start of a vision and seeks to grow to a desirable end on the basis of efforts applied on a daily basis. The focus is on readying oneself to start with the objective of hopefully arriving at that end. It’s about ticking off the checklist drawn up ahead of the start and measuring success against determinable milestones achieved over time. Positioning, on the other hand, begins from the end of a vision, by aligning with that end from the very beginning. It involves working back from the end, and ensuring that everything necessary to arrive at that end falls into place in the required manner. While both Preparation and Positioning have the end in mind, the Prepared man will only see and live it once he gets there, while the Positioned man has already seen the end from the beginning, and progressively lives out the finished work day-by-day. As a result, while both may apply themselves in the same manner in the physical (and the results may even appear to be the same), the focus and mindset is significantly different.
It’s possible to be Prepared but not Positioned. And the difference between success and failure could turn on this. Gone are the days when we thought all it takes to succeed is to start. Emphatically no! It’s good to start. But sadly, some never make it beyond this point. It’s possible to be Prepared but to start too early or too late. It’s possible to be Prepared but operating out of purpose. It’s possible to be Prepared but still immature to handle certain matters. It’s possible to be Prepared but lacking the character and qualities necessary to thrive and multiply. In fact, sometimes the things you Prepare for, and start, are the very things that destroy you. Because while Preparation speaks to getting you ready to run, Positioning seeks to aligning you with the course that you must follow. So that you’re not only running, but running with a clear direction and path. Ensuring that as you continue along this path, you meet the people you need, build in the manner you should, turn down the opportunities you must, walk away from collaborations and partnerships that could divert you, and so on. Because Positioning speaks to strategic alignment with the vision, which is a place beyond just being ready to implement it.
Let’s ponder on this more deeply. When you’re Prepared, you measure progress relative to degrees of preparedness. Which means that it’s possible to throw in the towel at any point should the things you face appear to outweigh or overwhelm the extent of your readiness. Since one’s judgement of success is based on daily experiences. If things are looking up, then it was the right call. And when things are looking down, perhaps not so much. However, when you’re Positioned, every day takes you a step closer to the end, come what may. Everything that happens between the beginning and the end is seen as an integral part of the overall story. Even the hard or challenging times are perceived to work out for good. And when you’re Positioned, it’s not possible to throw in the towel. Because you started at the end, which means you already made it to the end before you even took your first step. You’re already a success. Not trying to be one.
This is the difference between running with the hope of getting to a place. And keeping your fingers crossed along the way that things will work out in your favour (Preparation). And knowing where you’re running to. And doing so with an assured expectation of the end (Positioning). One is working without rest. While the other is rested while working. One is any form of trouble away from putting down his tools. While the other can’t give up no matter how tough the circumstances he may face. One will make it based on how ready he was. The other is kept by this alignment.
Preparation is necessary. We accept this. We’ve been taught its importance all our lives. Invest the time and resources necessary to upskill and empower you to achieve the desired outcomes. Be deliberate and remain focused in the doing with the highest degree of excellence. And we’ve seen the results. Many success stories have been birthed. But despite this, we’ve still found Preparation wanting in certain instances. Businesses sunk overnight; Men and women struggling to cope with the pressures of success; People sacrificing and striving to the point of near death; The ‘supposed’ opportunity cost of success – that it’s a give and take scenario; Poor leadership displayed at the top; Immature behaviours that don’t match the level of success and respect earned; Bickering and fighting; Competition; and the list goes on. Because while these were all Prepared, and have a track record to prove it, a lack of Positioning eventually exposed them.
I believe that the less we can profess to know. The more we can believe to grow. And the more we can believe to grow. The more we are. And the more we can become. We’ve got to stop defining our experiences by the past. The things we were taught. The places we’ve been. The things we’ve seen. Traditions and cultures, many of which have not evolved. If we’re ever to break into the new, and transition to a place beyond Preparation, we have to open ourselves up to the new. Although it’s never been seen before, we have to train our eyes to open to see what hasn’t been seen before. To open to new ideas. To challenge pre-existing doctrines and standards. To build on the gates opened by those who walked before us by walking through doors that they never had the privilege of experiencing. After all, isn’t this the essence of life? Every other day we’re seeing new technologies at the hands of man. Science is progressing at a rate we can’t keep up with. Men are growing smarter by the second and we’re experiencing things that the generations before us couldn’t have dreamt of if they tried. All because man continues to unlock sleeping potential and break into realms never travelled. The world around us speaks volumes. It’s telling those with keen ears that there’s more to what we already know and have seen. More than where we come from. And more to what we can do or achieve. In order to align ourselves with such a vision, we need to step out of the realms of Preparation. To think beyond simply doing what needs to be done to get started, to expanding into the realms of Positioning into that which was not possible before.
Gone are the days when businesses were sustained by Preparation. If anything, the recent times have proven the insufficiency of this standard. That beyond Preparation, one needs to be aligned in order to remain relevant. To connect to a source that will supply the vision irrespective of the natural circumstances of the day. Look back at the turnaround story of Ford from the 1980s when it was seemingly on a path towards bankruptcy. Consider how many businesses did not make it through the Covid-19 season. Ask yourself where Elon Musk came from and how is he suddenly richest man in the world. Look at the shifting world power dynamics. The United States of America has historically had the largest churches in the world, but look at the meetings taking place in Africa today. I could go on. All it takes is alignment with a greater vision in the process of Preparation. And you’ll be Positioned ahead of tomorrow.
Then you’ll live in a world where all things responds to you! Simply because they won’t have a choice not to.
Yours in baking,