Maybe I’m the only one, but sometimes I think to myself, oh that person is doing better than me because they had a head start or advantages that I didn’t have.  I want to take a quick look at a few athletes that have started at the bottom of the pack but have finished extremely well. One of them, as a matter of fact, is still going really strong.  Hopefully, it makes us question how we look at co-workers and those around us and, more importantly, how we perceive ourselves.

First, let’s look at Mike Piazza.  He was drafted in the 62nd round (I didn’t even know they had 62 rounds) at number 1390.   His father was friends with Tommy Lasorda, the longtime Dodgers manager, and as a favor to the elder Piazza, Lasorda drafted his son.  Mike worked his way into the majors, went on to play in 10 MLB All-Star games and last year was inducted into the baseball hall of fame.  He is the lowest drafted player ever to be selected for that honor.

Next, the great Broncos running back Terrell Davis.  Davis was drafted in the 6th round of the 1995 draft with the 196th. He would go on to become only 1 of 7 running backs to rush for over 2000 yards in one season.  He played in and won two Super Bowls; being named MVP of Super Bowl XXXII.  Where were the other coaches and scouts on draft day?

Lastly, still going strong: Tom Brady. Love him or hate him, believe it or not, in the 2000 NFL draft, 197 players were picked ahead of him. Business Insider did a great “where are they now” chronicling the 6 QBs drafted ahead of Brady in the 2000 draft.  As of this writing, Brady is headed to his 7th Super Bowl, of which he has won four. He’s picked up 3 Super Bowl MVP awards along the way and has been named the league MVP twice.  I could go and on, but you get the point.   

So did Bill Belechick and Mike Shanahan get lucky or did they see something no one else did? Is there someone in our workplace who might be overlooked and might need a chance and a little polishing, but might be poised for an incredible breakthrough?  When we interview or work with people, what can we do to find that hidden gem, that diamond in the rough?


Thanks to flickr for the photos.

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