As I was sitting and watching my son play in a travel baseball game the other day, a light bulb came on over my head. (It startled me enough that I’m surprised everyone else didn’t notice!) Every single lesson that I’ve been trying to teach my son over the past few months, related to baseball, is related to me and my business and my goals as well. Applying sports lessons to business is not a new thing, of course, but somehow I never applied this concept to myself. Maybe you haven’t either, but stick with me for three of the big lessons I’m teaching and learning in baseball and business.
1. Rankings and history don’t matter one bit. If you’re in the game, you can win. Period. You’ve seen it happen that the underdog suddenly sweeps the tournament, right? Ten year-olds are running around like nuts because they’re so excited that their team finally got a win – after SO MANY losses in the season! In every sport there is a chance, in every case, that anyone participating can win. Maybe the odds are against you, maybe the other team is more skilled, maybe you’re behind by 8 runs in a 13U baseball game against an amazing team. You can win. I’ve seen it happen multiple times. There will be one play that turns the entire team around somewhere along the way. Is your business struggling? Have you made some mistakes in the past? Have you tried to lose weight so many times that you’ve lost count? Do your friends and family think you’re nuts as you start a new venture? It doesn’t matter. You can turn it around. YOU CAN WIN.
2. If you work harder, you get better. My son is on a travel team this year that was very competitive during the tryout process. He had to work hard even to make the team. They practice 4-5 days a week and he comes home worn out. They are working HARD. But an amazing thing happens when they work hard… they play better, they run faster, they hit farther, and they start to see that hard work is good. Guess what? Hard work is actually good. It’s OK not to be great at something the first time. It’s OK to struggle. Most struggles can make us better at what we do. If you are never struggling in your life or business, you may not ever be learning or growing.
3. Celebrate everyone’s successes. I’m sure this is true in every sport, but it often seems like there is one small play in a game that changes the entire trajectory of that game. Remember that play. In the stats it may not even be significant but it gave the team a mental boost. They started to believe that they could win, after all, even when down by 8 runs. Celebrate that play! No matter how many home runs were hit during the game, the mental state of the players is immensely powerful and one positive change can mean the world to a team. If you work with a team, celebrate every small victory. You don’t need to throw a party, just express gratitude and praise liberally. If you work on your own, examine your day and your week. What went well? Celebrate that. Be grateful. Write it down.
I wish I could say that I follow all of these guidelines all the time, but I must admit that I spend more time explaining these ideas to my son in a baseball context than applying them to myself. I will work on that! (After all, it’s ok to struggle…)
Let me know what you think — and share this if you think it could help others too!
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