Conquering Big Obstacles Means Getting a Little Scrappy


"Scrappy: A Little Book About Choosing to Play Big" is about conquering the "Goliaths" in your business and personal life. Written by a woman who built a highly acclaimed speaking and consulting business from a spare room, "Scrappy" teaches readers the process and mindset that Terri L. Sjodin and plenty of others followed to turn their "underdog" status into a surprising competitive advantage.

Conquering Big Obstacles Means Getting a Little Scrappy

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Scrappy: A Little Book About Choosing to Play Big isn’t your average “you can do it” motivational book. It’s a book about grit. It’s a book about overcoming a big obstacle and becoming even bigger in the process. It’s about understanding the process that allows high-performing athletes, innovative entrepreneurs and world-class entertainers to consistently overcome and excel.

Scrappy is about how to stack the cards in your favor when all the bets are placed against you.

What is Scrappy About?

Scrappy is not about overcoming the everyday obstacle (traffic jam, printer jam or annoying customer). It’s about overcoming a significant and dominant obstacle that lies between you and your goals. For some people, it might be finding the right investor to believe in your dream. For others, it might be getting that interview for a job that involves several hurdles. For still others, it might be obtaining a significant market share in an industry filled with industry giants. Regardless of the hurdle, the book’s focus is on the mental (and sometimes physical) work that it takes achievers to overcome it.

The book’s answer is to be “scrappy”, a flexible method of planning, strategy and execution that focuses on making big moves to out think or outperform the competition. When it comes to competition, the “little guy” has a few options open to bring home the win. You can out think, outperform or outlast the competition. The book’s preference is for the first two (out think and/or outperform). Terri L. Sjodin, the author of Scrappy, argues that this ability to out think or outperform your opponent is the key and process to what helps an underdog win.

When an “underdog” out thinks or outperforms a bigger competitor, this gives the underdog distinction. It sets the business apart from the rest. Because of this distinction, the “underdog” gets three things to fuel its fight: attention, results (for good or bad) and a path forward. Using what the company learns, it can consistently maneuver around the obstacle for a better advantage. With that advantage,(which comes with risk) an underdog can successfully win in the shadow of the obstacle, whether it’s a market leader, job interview, or career-starting audition.

In addition to being an a author, Sjodin is a speaker and consultant who started her 20-year old business, Sjodin Communications, from a spare room in her home. Since that time, she has helped a diverse array of clients including Fortune 500 companies and members of Congress. Sjodin was entered into the Speaker Hall of Fame in 2012 in addition to winning the highly exclusive Certified Speaking Professional designation and a host of other speaking and writing awards.

What Was Best About Scrappy?

The best part of Scrappy is the book’s inspirational attempt to define a process that many might see as vague. There are many stories about people who have “made it”, but it can  be hard to understand why everyone can’t do the same. Sjodin’s book provides a framework for understanding that problem with a new perspective. Scrappy provides plenty of stories that show a process and customizable strategy for dealing with persistent and large obstacles that occur in business and life.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

The “scrappy” method in the book was written to apply to a broad range of issues instead of specific ones.This means that you won’t find “10 Tips to Beat the Next Silicon Valley Superstar”. Instead, you will find stories and broad recommendations about how you might adapt your current strategies to achieve your goal.

Why Read Scrappy?

Scrappy should speak to the same audience that liked “The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, A Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage” but it takes a slightly different perspective on how to move ahead if you are facing a large obstacle. In “The Power of Broke”, the goal was to use the resources and restraints of your current environment to become a success. In Scrappy the advice is the opposite. The goal is to actively shape your current environment so that you reaches your goals.

In other words, if you want to be motivated to conquer obstacles, “The Power of Broke” might help. If you want to understand a mental process to conquer those obstacles, Scrappy can help.

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Charles Franklin Charles Franklin is a Book Reviewer for Small Business Trends. He has a background as a professional reviewer, and is also a content provider and customer relations professional.