PO Box 920559
Needham, MA 02492



Race by Myself

Glaring backwards over her shoulder as she half swims, half stumbles away from us through the shallow water, my four-and-a-half-year-old daughter announces “I’m going to race by myself.”

It’s not just her need to win.

It’s her need to

Always be ahead of

Everyone else.


Which must be especially frustrating for her

Since her cousins are five years ahead of her,

And her younger sister

Takes every opportunity to

Exploit the slightest opening to

Jump ahead and start taunting.

So my four and a half year old comes up with,

What some might call,

An ingenious approach.

Eliminate the competition.

She races against herself.

And it gets me thinking about your Elevator Pitch.

Because during a workshop earlier this week in Burlington,

I hear one participant mutter under her breath

“I need to find a new way that I’m unique.”

Her carefully crafted Elevator Pitch talks about how she “successfully completes projects.”

Yet, during the exercise where each person talks for a minute about the

Best project they ever worked on.

She realizes that everyone in the room

Successfully completes projects.

She’s exactly like everyone else.

But all is not lost!

While it is true that everyone successfully completes projects.

It’s also true that everyone’s success comes from a different project.

No two projects are the same.

So instead of saying that you worked on a project,

Say that you created a recycling day for the town of Concord

Or that you were up until 5am debugging a photo printing booth at a trade show in Germany

Or how proud you are that a high-risk teenager in your classroom got their high school diploma without spending any time in jail

Remember that no one else takes care of

Your customers

The way you do.

When you generalize you sound like everyone else.

When you talk about a specific outcome

For a specific customer

That’s differentiating.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.