About this time last year, I finally read Robert Ringer’s magnum opus, Winning Through Intimidation. It had been recommended by so many people that I respected, so I had to pick it up.
Tonight, I’d like to lay out a couple of quick thoughts on one of the most important lessons we take from the book: the leapfrog principle. Ringer describes it this way:
“The quickest way to the top is not by fighting your way through the pack; the quickest way is to leapfrog over the pack and simply take it upon yourself to proclaim that you’re above it.”
Let’s look at this theory, particularly in reference to people in the freelance writing or design field. Many people now considered “gurus” in their industries started out this way. Rather than “paying dues,” they simply elevated themselves to the next level.
Four major thoughts come to mind:
1)This should go without saying, but if you are leap-frogging, do not let anyone know about it. Appearing like an amateur defeats the point.
2) You absolutely must do the preparation necessary to go to the level you’re leap-frogging to. You have to actually be prepared to be above the pack.
3) Assume the posture of someone at that new level. This introduces another of Ringer’s ideas, the posture theory. This theory states
“It’s not what you say or do that counts, but what your posture is when you say or do it.”
Act like you’ve been in your position for years. Again, having the appearance of an amateur defeats the purpose. Get an attitude, as John Clausen says.
4) Don’t overdo it. Don’t simply say, “I’m the best widget maker in the universe.” Statements like that destroy credibility, and reek of immaturity. The best don’t have to go around telling everyone. They do carry themselves with the confidence of a world-class pro. You’ll have to strike a balance.
You could take this line of thinking much further, but that’s not my current intention. There are plenty of good lessons in Winning Through Intimidation. Do yourself a favor and read the book. You can thank me later.