It was 4:30 in the afternoon last Sunday. One of my DraftKings lineups was ranked 2,581 out of 150,000 other lineups aiming for the $1 million grand prize. Although I had placed higher in a contest or two over the past three years, I had never found myself this close to winning the biggest prize of them all. I knew at this point I couldn’t win it all (my players were done for the day with one game left to go), but I realized I had reached a new level of excellence in fantasy football. I went on to watch my lineup fall back until it ranked number 4,442 by night’s end. But I was very satisfied with the end result. It probably helped that I won $60 in the process….
Fast-forward three days later to Wednesday afternoon. I was sitting at work watching an executive-level presentation on an enterprise effort, still content with my fantasy performance that previous Sunday. The presentation dragged on – it was pretty boring, to be honest. But then I saw something that grabbed my attention. On one of the slides, the presenter had broken down his organization’s efforts into different levels of possible achievement. I was not surprised to find Excellence near the top. What was surprising was that he had listed another level of achievement above that of Excellence. It was termed World Class. Now mind you, I am a manager and a leader by trade, with a graduate degree in leadership at that. I’ve read and experienced a lot on the topic of organizational development and success. But over the years, I had apparently become fixated on the term “Excellence” (perhaps from Tom Peters’ book In Search of Excellence and other similar material?), to the exclusion of any other marker of organizational performance. Funny how that happens. But the moment I saw the words “World Class,” a light bulb went off in my head – a true epiphany. Suddenly, I saw things very differently.
If there is something you are truly passionate about, it is not enough to strive to be excellent at what you do. Granted, you may only be talented enough or motivated enough to achieve Excellence in that particular field. And that’s okay; there’s nothing wrong with that. But if it’s within your gifts and capabilities to achieve something more, to become something more, then why not aim to become World Class? There is a subtle but distinct difference between those who are satisfied with being great at what they do and those who rise above that to lead their organization, industry, or skill set at the very top. Think of an Olympian. Is he or she satisfied with being “excellent” at gymnastics or archery? Would they gladly receive a Certificate of Excellence for their performance? Clearly not. They are out to be World Class at what they do, the absolute best of the best. So if you want to place in the Top Ten of the Million Dollar DraftKings contest on a regular basis, or at the top of any other area of your life, you need to think beyond being “excellent.” Instead, you should begin thinking in terms of becoming “world class” at what you do.
So what does that take when it comes to fantasy football? It means you have to give it all you got, week-in and week-out. I am not here to prescribe any particular method to you. Everyone has their own style. In fact, my own preparations tend to be a bit unconventional; I get it. But whatever that method you believe is best for you, you need to step it up another notch or two, or three…. Because you know, my friends, placing #2581 or #4442 out of 150,000 isn’t good enough if you want to be the Best of the Best. You have to extend yourself beyond anything you once thought possible. Maybe you have to dig deeper and research longer than you ever imagined you could during a single week, or perhaps you need to figure out how to consolidate your resources so you are getting more accurate data while spending less time searching for it. Whatever it is, whatever it takes, that’s up to you – to each their own. The important thing is that you own your shit and realize how far you need to take it to truly become World Class at what you do. If you have a true passion in life and you own the gift, apply your full potential and don’t settle for anything less.
Become World Class.