Do you remember what you wanted to be when you were a kid? Was it an astronaut, a baseball player, a fireman, chef, writer, actor, lawyer or a doctor? Regardless of what profession you chose, there is a common element to childhood dreams: Every child dreams of being “The Best in the World.”
Think about it – you didn’t dream about being a casual, better than average basketball player. You dreamed about being in the NBA and winning a world championship.
You didn’t dream about being a writer whose book never got published. You dreamed of writing the best-selling book of all time. Children dream big, and don’t see past their goal to envision all the work it will take to get there – they just dream.
But somewhere between childhood and adulthood, we lose the “best in the world” part of our dreams and settle for the “that’s good enough” mentality. Why? Is it because others talk us down from our perch? Do we start to see how much work is entailed and decide we don’t want to go there? Do we decide that our dreams are not “realistic,” and in order to be respectable and acceptable, we have to crank it back a few notches? Or do we simply find other things more exciting, or even just achievable, as we get older? Does the “real world” take the wind out of our sails? What happens?
I was reminded of this when I was having a conversation recently and told my friend, “I want to be the best speaker in the world.” He looked shocked and surprised. To clarify – I don’t anticipate or expect anyone to crown me as the best speaker in the world, but I have come to realize that we get what we expect. And when we have a “that’s good enough” mentality – we don’t achieve very much.
I think all of us should strive to be “The Best in the World” at whatever we do, not because there is a contest and we will ever really be known as the best, but because if we strive to be “The Best in the World,” we hold ourselves to a higher standard. We take the extra step, go the extra mile to set ourselves apart from the rest of the crowd. We have a desire to be an example to others in our field of the way we believe it should be done.
“The Best in the World” is constantly learning and progressing.
“The Best in the World” is open to feedback.
“The Best in the World” surrounds themselves with others who make them better.
“The Best in the World” has high goals, takes appropriate action and holds themselves accountable for the results of their efforts and the effect it will have on the lives and dreams of others.
“The Best in the World” is driven by passion and purpose.
“The Best in the World” treats their business or passion as a profession and not a hobby.
You will find them always doing it – the mechanic is always in the garage, tinkering with something, improving engine performance, testing different gear ratios, researching parts; the attorney is always reading about new laws, studying them, looking for applicability issues or conflicts with other laws, visualizing possible implications for their field of specialty; the writer reads and re-reads everything they write, making sure their readers can follow the story, finding places where the story needs something added or removed, researching locations and other facts they want to incorporate; chefs are always in the kitchen, experimenting with flavors, food combinations, presentation possibilities.
When someone is dedicated to being the best, it consumes their every waking moment. They think about it all the time. They go to sleep and wake up with it on their minds. They may even have a hard time making themselves take a meal-break! If they get an idea, but aren’t in a place where they can put it to immediate use, they make a note to themselves, so they can do it when they get there.
They may never consider the financial benefits of pursuing their passion, only what they can do with it, how they can use it, what it can do for the lives of others if they can work out all the kinks. They are inspired!
They will go to great lengths to learn what they need to know to make everything work the way they want it to. If there isn’t the right tool, they’ll invent it. If a computer program won’t do what they need done, they’ll find programs that do, or invent work-arounds to make the result turn out according to their vision. They may offer products or services that no one else offers, and feedback from their customers or clients will prove time and again that they were right to offer those products and services.
“The Best in the World” can’t imagine doing anything else with their time and energy. The one thing they have in common is that they love what they do. That love transforms them, focuses their life. It empowers them in ways that a “regular job” never could. It turns them into super-people with the unique ability to envision a better life for themselves and for everyone who comes to them for what they offer.
In the global scheme of things, your mark can be deep and indelible. “The Best in the World” isn’t just a dream – it can be real. How far will you go – what can you offer – how hard will you work at what you love to be “The Best in the World?”
I too want to be the Best Speaker in the World, but I’m fine being 2nd best if it’s after you.