Saul Kaplan: Your Own Path

Is your path to success more like Mine That Bird or Rachel Alexandra?  Do you start out slow, figure out the game, and then sprint past the competition to win the race or do you come out of the gates strong, define the race, and than hold off contenders looking back as you cross the finish line?  Both paths can lead to the winner’s circle but the journey is completely different.

No one was paying attention to Mine That Bird before the Kentucky Derby.  He was a 50 to 1 shot and the race favorites were not focusing on how to compete against him.  He lagged behind at the start, waited for an opening on the rail and took off.  By the time the field recognized the competitive threat it was too late and Mine That Bird won the Kentucky Derby running away.  Are you like Mine That Bird?  Do you scope out the race and the competition before making your move.   Coming from behind is always exciting.  We love a good underdog story.  By letting the race unfold before making your move you can size up the competition and look for a clear opening.  But, what if the early front-runner has an insurmountable lead or finds a new gear making it impossible to catch up?  What if your strategy doesn’t work and there is no clear path through the competition to take on the leader?

Saul KaplanBy contrast, Rachel Alexandra was the clear favorite in the Preakness.  She was expected to win and broke out of the gate fast, living up to the early hype and expectations.  She defined the race throughout, daring the competition to come after her.  She led from start to finish and held off any attempt including a strong bid from Mine That Bird to come from behind.  Everyone knew the talented filly was the horse to beat.  Are you more like Rachel Alexandra in your path to success?  Do you define the rules of the race and create the market leaving competitors to come from behind?  By the time competitors figure out your approach you are already off to the races creating distance that they are forced to make up.  The biggest challenge with coming out of the gate fast is that by putting yourself out in front you immediately become the target.  Unlike the underdog coming from behind everyone wants a piece of your action and focuses all of their energy on finding a way to beat you.  If you take the front-runner approach it is important not to put blinders on.  Are you prepared to go the distance and sustain the lead through out the race?  Can you respond to competitive threats during the race?  Can you kick in to an entire new gear to change the game during the race to keep competitors from catching up and overtaking you?

Both paths to success can work.  I am biased toward Rachel Alexandra’s approach.  I like to define any race I compete in and prefer to lead, redefine, and lead again.   It might not be as compelling as the underdog story, coming from behind to win, but I like the odds and the view from the front of the race better.   It will be interesting to see if Rachel Alexandra can win in the longer distance Belmont Stakes.  The competition will be coming after her and have more track to catch her if she comes out with the early lead.   Are you more like Mine That Bird or Rachel Alexandra in your path to the winner’s circle?


Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




The Recovering Politician Bookstore


The RP on The Daily Show