"Maybe there is no "I" in Team... but Initiative, Improvement, and Innovation, start with "I"... "
~ Arnold Glasow
With the start of the NFL football season nearly upon us, the last of the exhibition games are being played this last weekend of August.
At the start of the regular season, each team may carry up to a maximum of 53 players on their respective rosters.
When the training camps opened back in July, each team could invite up to 85 players to try and compete for a spot on their roster.
Now there are just a bit more than 1 million students-athletes playing high school football in any given year.
From that total, only about 65 thousand will go on to play Division I football (about 6.5%).
There are currently 32 professional football teams in the NFL each with 53 players for a total number of 1,696 players. That’s it... no more.
All of the 85 players who were originally invited to a training camp are extremely talented football players by any measure... yet nearly 40% of the most talented players in the world will eventually be cut before the beginning of the season.
Football is a business... so are other professional (and some college) sports organizations. Only the very best play...
Is it fair that so many fail?
Talent alone isn’t the determining factor as to whether or not someone will succeed in the football business or not.
Sure... it helps if you can run the 40-yard dash in 4.0 seconds, bench press 700 lbs. or throw a football 100 yards on the fly... but there are reasons why world class sprinters, weight lifters and javelin throwers typically don’t play in the NFL.
The same can be said as to why every person over 7-foot tall doesn’t play in the NBA...
Becoming a professional football player involves more than just raw talent or natural gifts.
A professional football must possess quickness, agility, balance, good foot work, the ability to think and react quickly, good peripheral vision, a keen sense of awareness and a vast knowledge of how the game is supposed to be played.
Not only must these attributes be innate, they must also be developed, honed and polished so they become refined into assets needed to succeed on the football field.
Regardless of how much natural talent a player might have to begin with, a great deal of effort must be made each day and everyday to continue to take those raw talents and refine them into becoming a better player.
Their natural talents must be turned into skills.
When you’re a professional football player, you’re either moving forward by acquiring new skills or refining old skills or moving backwards by doing what you’ve always done in the past.
It is a given that there will always be someone else who is willing to work hard to develop a better skill set and try and take your job each season.
That’s the nature of the professional football business.
So this now brings me to the other 7.1 billion people on earth who are not professional football players.
We like the fact that we aren’t necessarily competing to keep our job each day, week and year.
We aren’t constantly looking over our shoulders to see who is lurking around ready to replace us at a moment’s notice...
... but maybe we should be...
Each of us possesses some God-given talents... maybe we can think quickly, are detail oriented, can think laterally, find it easy to talk with people and/or exchange ideas, are patient and don’t become flustered easily, can process and analyze numbers, can imagine things that don’t currently exist, have a lot of energy, and/or lead people.
The above aren’t skills... they are talents... in the same way that being 7-foot doesn’t mean you can play basketball.
Talent is simply a raw material in which to work from... talent needs to be refined into skills... the same way that iron ore and carbon are made into steel... and steel is made into giant skyscrapers...
Most of the population attended school when we were young in order to transform our natural-born talents and turn them into certain skills.
Some of us learned some additional skills in the workplace.
We turn our talents into skills such as engineering, accounting, sales, welding, assembly, carpentry, marketing, treating and curing sick people, and a variety of other skills.
We eventually became so good at these skills that we are now able to sell our skills to others willing to purchase them.
Some of us believe that we are selling the purchasers our time rather than our skills, but in reality, a purchaser is not interested in buying someone’s efforts... rather they are looking to purchase results... the results of using our skills.
If we hire a contractor to build a house... we expect them to deliver a finished house...
We don’t expect them to tell us that they tried... they put out a good effort... but in the end they couldn’t actually build a house... and now we should pay them for their efforts instead of the house they were supposed to deliver.
... while it is true that we have skills that we have developed in the past...
... it is safe to say that most adults have chosen not to acquire new skills or enhance the skills that they already have as they’ve grown older(or at least at the same rate as they did when they were much younger).
Unfortunately, it is the belief of many people that the skills that they have acquired and developed in the past will continue to serve them well into the future.
The problem for older workers is simply that there are younger people who have fresh new skills who want to take the jobs of the older workers. Their skills are more up-to-date and more technologically advanced than their older counterparts.
In addition, they are willing to sell their better skills for a lower cost than someone who has had the position for many years.
The people who have failed to learn new skills have now found that there are very few purchasers willing to pay them for their old skills.
The key to success is always to be learning and developing new skills.
I’m not advocating that someone needs to be working around the clock in order to find success... however it does make a certain amount of sense to take some time each day... each week... each year to try and develop additional skills that a purchaser will want to buy from you in the future.
Today is the best day to prepare yourself for tomorrow...
The time is now to do what needs to be done in order to make the cut...
Thank you very much for your support of OptiFuse, where we try each day to learn new skills to better serve our customers...
Email - email@example.com
Website - www.optifuse.com
Blog - www.optifuse.blogspot.com
Twitter - @OptiFuse