Former Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield was drafted No. 1 overall in the 2018 NFL draft and is now projected to be guaranteed $32.5 million by way of his first NFL contract. That is a lot of money to guarantee an individual irrespective of performance at the workplace.
Mayfield is a particularly interesting story, because he didn't have a perfectly planned path to becoming the top pick. In fact, much like many successful businesspeople, he dealt with challenges and failures before being anointed the best player of his draft class.
Here are a few takeaways from Mayfield's journey to the top of the 2018 NFL draft:
Never let anyone dictate your likelihood of success.
Instead, let success be your noise. Use the doubters and naysayers to incentivize and encourage you toward proving them wrong.
Coming out of high school, Mayfield was given a three-star rating by football recruiting service Rivals. That put him below four-star names like Lamar Jackson and Sam Darnold, each of whom were selected behind Mayfield in the first round of the draft. Three stars is nothing special for a recruit; however, Mayfield didn't let the ranking serve as a distraction, instead using it as motivation, which is how any overlooked employee should view a review that doesn't accurately describe the individual.
Your first opportunity may not be the best fit. Don't give up.
Mayfield was determined to be a quarterback and he wasn't content with riding the bench. He wasn't going to let anyone tell him that his future didn't include being a quarterback in the NFL.
Instead of wasting his time at Texas Tech, the first school he accepted an invitation to play at, he chose to transfer to Oklahoma. Lateral moves like this are key when you feel trapped without a way up in your organization.
Mayfield thought the switch would give him an opportunity to play. It did, and Mayfield was finally able to show his true talents, leading him to the top of his trade.
Focus on being the best at your job, and the rest will fall in to place.
Before the NFL draft, ESPN purportedly listed Mayfield as having "character concerns." While everything is looked at by general managers, including social-media posts, ultimately the biggest priority is to get the best talent on your team.
"The only thing I care about is, do guys win?" said Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey prior to the draft. "Does he have accuracy? Does he have a strong arm? Can he throw the ball in the red zone in tight windows? Can he drive the ball? At the end of the game, does he win? That's what I look for."