When you’re part of a good team, even in an individual sport, the effect it has on your confidence cannot be understated. Watching people who excel at their craft, day in and day out for years has a real effect on your work ethic. You can’t help but learn, watch and get better like those around you. It’s not always physical, especially if you don’t have the tools. It’s mental.
I once asked a friend who coaches a different sport about the notion of being a “big fish in a small pond” and whether he thought it was detrimental to young athletes who go from high school to college. He replied, “No. Once you get used to being the best, you come to expect it. It’s not so much about the ranking of being the best though. It’s about the preparation and the work ethic it took for that person to reach that level. Some kids lose it, but the good ones never do, because they’ve experienced that success and they’re hungry for it.”
How that translates to working on the web, goes like this. For many of us, the social web provides a venue for communication that allows us to step up our game — day in and day out. Not everyone has the time or the money to attend conferences. Lots of folks simply don’t have the confidence to speak in front of a crowd and give a presentation. They might ask questions. Maybe they’ll blog or perhaps they’ll comment.
For some, it’s still a very competitive world where we look to see what the Joneses are doing and then copy them, because they’re the trend setters. But for many others, just having access to the sorts of conversations that can keep you fresh and on your game is really invaluable.
It’s so easy to get caught up in trying to create the next big thing or trying to stand out in a world where everyone wants to stack books to stand up higher than the crowd. When really, all you need to do is figure out how to employ the tactics and tools you learn and meld them with what you (and your team) bring to the table.
Being the best in the world is about believing it and running your ship with that goal in mind, everyday.