All Business is Baseball

A few weeks ago I came across a quote from Zig Zigler. Mr. Zigler passed away in Nov 2012, but his knowledge and inspiration live on. The quote that hit me was this.

People tell me motivation doesn’t last. I agree! Neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend you do it daily.
Zig Zigler

The reason that quote was so powerful to me is that in a flash it hit me that my real business is baseball. Over the last several years, I have been working to coach my players to handle the mental aspects of the game. They can learn the rules, the skills, the abilities, but it is very often the mental part of the game that governs their performance. In short, I have seen that how they handle adversity has a strong impact on their success.

So what does this have to do with Mr. Zigler’s quote?

Baseball players do not find motivation once. They do not find it monthly, or weekly, or even daily. They have to find their motivation every at bat. In fact, it could be argued that they must find their motivations every single pitch.

Once I realized that daily motivation is required to be successful in business, suddenly the parallels appeared from multiple sources. From the book, With Winning in Mind he wrote:

Your self image will determine your performance.

Put another way by a famous psychologist

You cannot consistently act in a way that is inconsistent with your self image.

The bottom line here is that how we see our selves, how we feel about ourselves, how we believe in our selves, and finally how we motivate ourselves has a very powerful effect on our performance.

The director of my oldest son’s baseball program, the very well respected Rodney Davis made an interesting comment after one of Ryan’s tournaments. He had told the boys he wants them to show him something special. I, of course, assumed this meant on the field. He was talking about something more profound. It had to do with how the players carried themselves, how they conducted their business, and how they handled failure.

He explained it to me in terms that were graphic but completely clear. “How fast can you flush the toilet?” He asked. “And when you flush it, is it all gone?”

Too many of us, I am convinced not only don’t flush the toilet, we may not even be house trained. Like dogs we leave steaming piles of disappointment laying all over the place waiting for someone else to pick them up and dispose of them. Mature competitors dispose of emotional detritus as fast as possible.

In short, you wan to develop emotional recovery time. The faster you can recover, the faster you can get back in the game and be at your best.

One of the reasons I like listening to baseball players interviewed after the game is that they will often tell you exactly what they were doing and thinking. After a particularly exciting come from behind victory, a reporter asked Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt how it felt to be so locked in. “Goldy” smiled and said something to the effect, “Well I don’t know about being locked in. I ground into two double plays and struck out.” He paused for a moment, then added, “But I couldn’t let myself get down because I knew I would have a chance to help the team win.” True Gold.

He couldn’t let himself get down.

Competition requires that you recover your composure quickly. And business is no different. Suddenly I could start to see the application, the messaging, the approach. Many of the things we talk about with players – the techniques directly apply to business.

So at the end of the day I have learned that my business is baseball. My passions are aligned. I can help others and myself achieve more success or at least have a more enjoyable journey.

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