When I was in high school I played soccer and wrestled a bit. Despite being diligent and applying myself, I wasn’t particularly good at either. In retrospect, I wasn’t well suited to those sports and how I played them.

One of my friends, Andre, could have started wrestling his junior year and still ended up on varsity and winning a fair number of his matches. I worked out often, year round, and I never saw Andre lift a weight or go for a run. However, he looked like a fit adult in his mid twenties, not his teens. In his weight class, he would have wrestled overweight juniors and beat most of them.

You might have noticed in observing a sport that it’s not uncommon for there to be an athlete that is a top performer, but that has deep flaws that affect them- lack of discipline or a mental game that is weak. Yet they still win.

Sports aren’t fair and neither is life. Effort can help to maximize what is possible for you, but it can’t overcome the inherent range of capability you are born with.

This is why unique capabilities matter in a business. Like sports, business is a competitive environment. Like you, there are certain things your business is uniquely suited for. Some of it is contextual, like your location, your resources, or your history, and some of it derives from the combination of unique capabilities of the people on your team.

The same is true for your competitors. The more your or their strengths align with what the market wants, the easier it is to grow. Whoever is a better fit for the market will see lower costs for greater gains and with a higher potential limit on what they can achieve.

Do the markets you compete in align with your inherent advantages? Or do they support your competitors?

Featured image is, “The death of Hector,” an unfinished oil painting by Peter Paul Rubens. Achilles is depicted slaying Troy’s champion. We remember Achilles for the sliver of him that was vulnerable, but his near invulnerability is what ensured his victory in battle after battle. Used under public domain.