The topic of disruption and the differences between market and competitive risk were discussed on the latest Critical Path, which I highly recommend you listen to. I’ve been thinking about this concept and how it can relate to me and to my business.

Competitive risk is the risk of not getting the outcome you want when in direct competition with one or more other people. For example, your boss leaves the company and everyone in your department is vying to replace her. You are in direct competition with 9 of your peers and your risk of not getting the job is pretty high. Plus, some factors that would make you more eligible are outside your control, such as your tenure with the company.

Market risk is the risk that you are entering a market that will not provide the outcome you want. For example, you move into a brand new position that has never existed before at your company. You will need to be able to show that your position is valuable over a period of time. You have much more potential in this situation than in the one with direct competition because you aren’t directly competing for resources. You have much more room to grow and blossom.

My takeaway is that you need to put yourself into positions where you can easily stand out from everyone else. If you’re a technology person in a room of other technology people then you won’t stand out. For any position of any complexity is nearly impossible to objective judge performance so you don’t realistically have a way to say you’re better than anyone else in the room.

But in a room of physical therapists, you stand out. You aren’t competing, you stand out, and you provide a unique perspective. The only question now is “can you provide value to physical therapists?” And that’s a question that you are able to gauge before you even put yourself in that room.