How to Absolutely Regain Your Competitive Edge

Everyone has a bad day at work, eventually. However, how do you deal with a bad week, month or more? Here are some meaningful exercises to motivate yourself and regain your edge.

It starts with you

No matter the underlying cause, there is something that has caused you to lose your edge, making you feel underappreciated and “less.” You’re being negatively influenced by external sources; that simply means the antidote has to come from an internal source. It starts with looking at your professional footprint. What has been your direct and indirect impact on the organization?

Find your professional footprint, find your edge

When things are “too easy” for us, we tend to overlook the value and possible impact. Because we tend to focus on the skills needed for our primary role in the organization, we do not recognize that other people see the value in them. We also tend not to focus on achievements unless we can attach some qualitative value to them. For some professions, that is difficult to do.

How many times:

  • have you provided “another set of eyes” to a colleague?
  • has a colleague “bounced something off you?”
  • have you brought an idea (not of your expertise) to a colleague about improving a service (that is of their expertise) and they knock it out of the park?

Consider how many times those situations were directly related to your primary role. If you have an “Aha!” moment after doing that calculation, you have recognized that you have added value to the organization. You may never be recognized for it, but it’s there.

We have been taught to document our professional lives in our résumés. And it is the first introductory tool for prospective employers or colleagues. We may not recognize it, but our résumé s show others who we see ourselves.

Dust off your résumé

Some persons only update their résumé when they’re job hunting. Others do it just in case they have to job hunt. What I am recommending is that you update your résumé as a tool to motivate yourself.

A few years ago, I discovered this ebook “Creating your CV as a Self Marketing Tool” by Paul H. Brisk. It has some great exercises that help you gain a better understanding of yourself. If you don’t plan on reading the book in its entirety, at least do the exercises associated with these sections:

  • Your behavioral profile: The objective is in part to recognize positive and negative sides of your character. This will allow you to highlight the positive and take steps to lessen the negative impact on yourself and others.
  • The realization of your skills: We all have skills and abilities, however, can we accurately list or summarise them? What about the skills we have not recognized, but others have? The objective is to help identify your skill range including those that may need improvement.
  • Achievements: The objective here is to change how we perceive our achievements to be able to identify and separate them from responsibilities in order to accurately document them.

What’s Next?

You ought to be feeling more like the old you at this point. Having identified some of the things that gave you your edge, you should also now be able to look more objectively at your situation. You’ve recognized the value you brought; more importantly, you know what else you have to offer. You can now decide what’s next.

If you tried any of the exercises, I’d be interested to hear what you discovered about yourself in the comments below.

Further reading:


Erica Harris is part of the GovLoop Featured Contributor program, where we feature articles by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Contributor posts, click here.

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