A new fad that really concerns me is that people, organizations, and teams are self-proclaiming their “elite” status.

This proclamation comes in many forms, and most of us are immune to it—so immune, in fact, that we don’t see it for the bullshit it is.

And yes, let me be very clear – it is 100% bullshit.

Dictionary.com defines the word elite as: “noun (used with a plural verb) the choicest or best of anything considered collectively, especially of a group or class of people: The elite of the contemporary art scene were all represented at the gallery or (used with a plural verb) people of the highest financial or social level of society: Only the elite received invites to the event.”

To disguise their obvious non-elite status, people and organizations cleverly wordsmith their messages through an odd marketing campaign to trick you into paying them.

They call it “the gold standard” or blatantly lie on their website or in their approach to you (typically by promising impossible results) if you trust them.

Some of them are even pretty creative.  They offer simplistic advice on how to gain “elite” results.  Don’t believe me?  Well then, just “10X your efforts!!”  (IYKYK)

I also have bad news for many of you reading this: if you WERE elite at some point in your life, I hope you realize the sheer amount of work required to maintain that level.

You could have served in an elite military unit.  But now you are 50 pounds overweight and unable to run a half mile successfully.  Or, you are addicted to opioids or alcohol and get arrested for DUI while passed out drunk in your car.  The only thing elite about you now is your ability to make excuses justifying your behavior.

You could have been a pro soccer player and coach of 15 years, but now your coaching is sub-par and formulaic, and you have to rely on your past reputation to carry you on (while having the audacity to furiously call out people when they question your tactics).

You could have (INSERT SKILL HERE), but now you are Al Bundy talking about that time you “won state in high school.”

Let me be clear: BEING elite and HAVING BEEN elite are two entirely different things.  If you don’t understand that, just quit reading.

I know lots of people who are elite at what they do.  They truly are at the pinnacle of their chosen fields, but 99.9% of them would NEVER claim they were anything but hard-working or lucky.

Therein lies the secret sauce.

Those that consistently inform you of how great they are… well, there is a word for that.  It’s called marketing.

When I was in the Army, we joked about fellow Special Operators who relied on past accomplishments. We’d say, “Don’t worry about SFC Marbut. He’s a great American. Don’t believe me? Just ask him; he’ll tell you how great he is!”

Truly elite people/organizations don’t have to convince you how awesome they are.

You KNOW they are.  All the rest is just noise, and again, I’m calling it out for the bullshit it is.