Do You Have The Game-Winning Skill Called Domain Acumen?

On July 15 2015, Carli Lloyd scored from the halfway line to complete the fastest hat trick in Women’s World Cup history and lead the U.S. soccer team she captained to a record third title.Lloyd’s three goals in the first 16 minutes of the final in Vancouver helped the U.S. to a 5-2 win over defending champion Japan. The third was a stunner: A shot taken from more than 50 yards out in the 16th minute left Japanese goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori scrambling back in a failed attempt to keep the ball from dropping into the net.

No-one expected Carli Lloyd to take the shot from where she was but then no-one saw what Carli Lloyd saw: the goalkeeper was way off her line. Lloyd knew she had the skill and the range so she took the long shot and scored.

Where are you looking? What are you seeing that no-one else is seeing? How deeply do you understand the nature of your game? What long shots are you taking to win the game? And most importantly, how are you enabling other people to win the game?

Carli Lloyd has the game winning skill: Domain Acumen. Domain means sphere of activity or knowledge. Acumen means sharpness of vision or quality of judgment. Together, Domain Acumen means your capacity to identify opportunities in your sphere of activity combined with your ability to seize them.

It requires a superior understanding of the game as it is being played. It’s the firing together of central and peripheral vision. You have to see what’s right in front of you and what’s all around you. You’ve got to look up, sideways, forward and behind you all at the same time.

Winning demands a constant scanning of your environment with intent to score. It demands the talent to take the “impossible” shots. And, crucially, it demands courage. The longer the shot, the great the chance of missing. But the more you miss, the more you score. Winners will always miss more than losers because they are taking more shots. Every shot is a deposit on your confidence to take another one. And even when your shot goes wide, you win kudos from the people that matter for having taken the shot. Someone is always watching. Luck favours the brave.

We’re heading into the final quarter of 2018. It’s been a fantastic year. The American and Canadian economies are on fire. Consumers are spending. Stock markets are hovering near record highs. Interest rates are still near record lows. Companies are growing strongly and they’re hiring aggressively. Entire new industries such as Cannabis, asset sharing and autonomous functioning are being developed. Every day brings new enhancements to our lives. There is no limit to human ingenuity and the technology to make it real.

But tailwinds are turning into headwinds. 2019 threatens to be much harder than this year. Interest rates are rising. Uncertainty around international trade and tariffs is increasing. The midterms are coming and so is the federal election in Canada. The bull market is plateauing. Many industries like retail housing and automotive are slowing down. And, of course, we can rely on the disruptor in chief in the White House to keep on rocking the boat until it capsizes.

In other words, whatever you’ve done in 2018 won’t be enough to win in 2019. You can’t just deal with what’s coming at you. You’ve got to create what’s coming next.You’ve got to study the data until it reveals its secrets. You’ve got to ask questions you’ve never asked before.  You’ve got to talk to the people who really know. You’ve got to swing for the fences without worrying about striking out.

You may not know it but you’re in the exact same business as me: you’re building your personal brand as an authority in your domain. You’re raising your profile as the go-to person in the clutch moments. You’re differentiating yourself as an indispensable resource for people that count. You’re influencing the influencers to mobilize the market on your behalf. You’re refreshing your reputation every day with new contributions and insights.

At the same time, you suffer from the same anxieties that afflict me in my darkest moments. You’re worried about becoming irrelevant. You’re fretting about being overtaken by someone younger, shinier and newer. You’re concerned that you don’t know all the things you should know and that your ignorance is coming soon to a boardroom near you.

How do I know all of this about you? Because I talk to champions like you for a living. I feast on feedback. I search for the secrets that are hiding in plain sight. I hunt for the breakthroughs that achieve miracles.

And here’s what I’ve discovered: Lipkin’s ten ways to build your Domain Acumen every day.

  1. Own your state. Know that wherever you are is the best place to be at that moment. Launch yourself from that mindset. Relish your reality.
  2. Don’t be stopped by what’s going on internally. Your feelings have nothing to do with the outside world. It’s the way you ski down a mountain that makes the difference not what you’re feeling at the time.
  3. Be prepared to change your mind. If you cannot change your mind, you’ll never change anything else.
  4. Take nothing for granted. See nothing as obvious. Be amazed and stunned by what you see – even if you think you’ve seen it before.
  5. Make the investment in mastering the specialized terms of your domain. Learn the language of success in your world. Keep expanding your vocabulary. The more distinctions you have, the more powerful you become.
  6. Respect everyone as a guide that can raise your game. When the student is ready, the teacher appears.
  7. Get in the ring with people that will challenge and stretch you. Your muscles develop in direct proportion to the pushback you provoke.
  8. Be so committed to others’ success that you participate in it vicariously. Become others’ talisman – something that is believed to produce magical or miraculous results. Give more to get more.
  9. Get connected. Grow your ecosystem of partners that share their genius. Practice your preeminent conversations with preeminent people. Earn their time and commitment to you.
  10. Keep your lows short. Spring back fast. Endure your reversals as the price you pay for your victories. The greater the win, the higher the cost. The question is: how much you are you prepared to pay?

This is Mike Lipkin and I hope you’ve enjoyed this message. Until the next time, remember: 90% of what you see and hear is generated by your brain not incoming data. Your brain creates its own reality by how you consistently condition it. Keep taking the long shots.

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