It's NFL draft day! Today, young men who have dedicated themselves to the game of football will have their lives changed forever. It is a glorious celebration of potential. The lights in New York shine bright, suits are worn, and the game becomes a business. Some players are invited to the formal event, others throw classy parties...the limelight is shining and players are about to become celebrities.
My favorite approach to draft day was taken by Joe Thomas of Wisconsin. While other's put on suits and poured Campaign, the 3rd pick in the 2007 NFL draft got on his Dad's fishing boat. He was as far from Broadway as he could possibly could be. He was still a player, he knew what his job was going to be and he was ready to go to work with his helmet and lunch pail (not a briefcase).
Believe it or not, Joe Thomas was chastised for not showing up in New York for the draft. Many conveyed that the NFL is big business and an opportunity of this size required more respect for the share holders involved. Joe Thomas didn't comment, he just went to work with his helmet and lunch pail in hand.
The hype of the NFL draft raises a larger question that plagues all of our professional lives:
Why can't we just let our performance speak for itself?
Every company has that person who is transparently "full of it". There are others who seem to be on-the-clock at all times and some have made the full metamorphosis into robots. In contrast, other people find a breaking point in the bravado and choose to shut it all out. They jump on the fishing boat and come back with dinner for the town. If the Mayor needs a statement for the local newspaper, they point to the basket full of fish.
A friend of mine recently left a job after 10 years. She told me she couldn't take the office politics any more and that she was not willing the play the game. She was never under quota, always promoted her company with grace, and never missed a day of work. Her knowledge, experience, and cordial representation hit the exit because the bastards wore her down. In a process like this, mediocre people stay at companies while superstars leave and the company becomes like any other. Ordinary.
I was once told that in order to move up the corporate ladder I had to align myself with the right people. I had to find those who were on the fast track to success and cling to their coat tails. Align yourself with the winners and they will take you along with them. Regrettably, I followed this advice. I ignored the things I was good at to become a pawn on an over-crowded chess board.
After a great deal of trial and error, I got tired of "the game". I came to understand that pretending to be someone you are not always catches up with you.
"You can fool some people some times, but you can't fool all the people all the time"
- Bob Marley
It seems that the excuse of being a better teammate only comes up when you are not winning. If the scoreboard works in your favor the off-field bravado goes away.
In simple summation: Do Your Fighting in the Ring!
Have a deal pending? Waiting to hear back from your employer of choice?
Go Fishing! If its meant to be, it will happen!
Don't Forget to Remember!