Being number 1 (or first past the post) is not the same as being first on the call list.
In the music industry, Carol Kaye, Craig Blundell and Steve Lukather belong to an exclusive list of ‘first call’ studio session musicians. They’re the ones who get called first by producers to work on high profile projects.
Being a ‘first call’ musician bears no relationship to being number 1 in the charts. A chart topping hit doesn’t ensure longevity.
‘First call’ musicians make a contribution that is invisible, indelible and present in the soundtrack to millions of lives.
In business, being number 1 in your market is very different to being on your market’s ‘first call’ list.
Being number 1 is like the arc of a firework that flashes brightly and deafens but is inevitably transient. It’s easier to get up there than stay there.
Being number 1 comes with consequences that are often harmful to us, to others or our planet, perhaps more than we would care to admit.
Being ‘first call’ results in a pull whereas being number 1 is by-product of a forceful push.
Being ‘first call’ serves others, is born of craft and is coloured by grace and humility.
So I wonder, do you currently aspire to be number 1 in your industry? Or are you aiming for the longevity of the ‘first call’ list?