Yesterday a post by Chris Brogan, Confidence and the next move and something my 10 year old son said this weekend, prompted me to write something I've long wanted to post.
My son plays travel ball and this weekend at a tourney his team was in a very close game during the seeding round. The go ahead run was on second and there were no outs. The batter came up and ripped a short liner to right field. The coach had my son playing back so he had to get on a horse to go get this ball. As the ball began to dive to the ground, the opposing coach assumed my son would not be able to make the catch (a safe assumption based on the trajectory) and sent his runner towards third base and ultimately towards home base. And then it happened. My son made one of those incredible catches, snagging the ball mere inches before it hit the ground, rose up and drilled the ball to his second baseman for a double play (the runner had failed to tag up). Everyone went nuts, the entire team elevated and the opposing team deflated. With all that momentum, it was almost a forgone conclusion that the pitcher would strike out the next batter, which he did. Game over.
After the game, as my son recounted the moment, he said, "Dad, I was just sitting there and I was thinking, please hit the ball to me. Hit it here so I can make an out."
In sports, as in life, it all comes down to a few moments. The clutch shot or the great catch, momentarily transforms mere mortals into mini-Gods. Worthy of our praise, adulation and respect. String enough of these moments together and you become what others think of you -- the "go to guy."
Being the go-to guy is a pretty good thing if you can handle the pressure. In sports it means you're the first picked at recess or during the draft. You get the girl (kidding -- well kind of), get the scholarship, get the big contract, make the big money and enjoy opportunities in life that simply are not bestowed on the rest of the folks that do what you do. But go-to guys don't just exist in sports, they exist in business too.
Think about the big meeting, the big pitch, or any really important business opportunity. Who do you want in the room? Who do you want assigned to the project? Who? You want the go-to guy. Why? Because you and the rest of the organization feels (rightly) that with that person on the team and handling key aspects of whatever you're doing, you're chances of winning increase significantly.
Thus, like in sports, the go-to guys in business get the girl (sometimes), get the high profile jobs/projects, and yes, get the money. They're the ones that always have a job. They're the ones that aren't overly worried about the recession because even if the company they work for now craters, someone somewhere is waiting for a chance to hire them. To bring the go-to guy's particular brand of magic into their organization. And in today's hyper-connected social media world, the ability to find the go-to guys is easier than ever.
So what separates a mere mortal from a go-to guy? Obviously things like talent, practice and intelligence. But mostly I think it is confidence. You see, when the chips are down, the pressure high and it's all on the line, go-to guys want the ball. They want that chance to either be the hero or the failure. They want that spotlight and that is why they are the go-to guys. Mortals, well they're just really happy to be on the team.
So ask yourself, do you want to be a go-to guy or a mortal? Are you willing to do what it takes to be a go-to guy? Have I missed anything? Are there other key traits I failed to mention? Let me know.
Oh and for the record, there are go-to girls too... before any of you put that comment out there ;-)