Yesterday, I guess I had too much time on my hands, so I reviewed my Twitter feed and found one of those endless lists that journalists put out this time of year because they’re easy, it’s the Christmas season, and they can churn them out in no time. This one recognized the top 100 or 20 or 50 or whatever people in the football business. No surprise, my name wasn’t among them.

For a minute, this frustrated me. I never measure myself by others’ success, because usually you’re comparing apples and oranges. Inside the League doesn’t fit neatly into any category. We’re not really media; though that’s the easiest label to put on us. We’re not scouting or recruiting, though lots of people put us in that group. We’re not a sports gossip site, though that’s another way we’ve been described. We’re more of a business-to-business consulting service, which is how I describe us. It’s hard to judge our success based on the number of Twitter followers we have, because our relationships are a lot more vertical than they are horizontal. I see us as less a mountain and more as an iceberg.

So here’s the point: don’t make the same mistake I did, even for a minute, by comparing your success to others’ success. All the time, you can see people in the football world getting credit for ‘winning’ when they really aren’t. You see this in the agent business when a lesser agency signs a top prospect, well over its station. Usually, it’s because the agent has paid a boatload in training, signing bonus and/or training, and more often than not, the player fires him well before he has a chance to make his money back. You’ll see another example of this on the last weekend in April when the media ‘grades’ the draft classes of all 32 teams. Those grades are at least three years early, and based on nothing more than the hype the same media has been creating for months.

Work your plan. Talk to everyone you know about the path you want to take, then take it. Figure out what your budget is, what your goals are, and what your time frame is, and stick to it. Don’t stray when you see someone else enjoying fruits that you think you deserve. And if your intention is to be part of the next wave of football professionals and you need a little guidance, we’d love to help.