I have learned to love baseball though I never actually played. In England we play football – or as you American’s call it, soccer. My love of the game came from watching and “coaching” my son, Aidan. Next week he heads to Cooperstown – not to enter the baseball hall of fame, not yet, but to experience Cooperstown Dream Park as he competes in a U12 championship tournament.
As I reflect on his many years playing the game he loves, I am thankful for the lessons he has learned from the game. I thought I would share a few that I thought were particularly relevant in our “business world”:
Baseball isn’t always fair. Some people are provided opportunities they don’t deserve or play positions without earning them. You may work harder than many but not receive the recognition or the payoff you deserve. Unfortunately, that’s life. Accept this and move on, concentrate on what you can control. Maintain a positive attitude and stay focused. Be empowered.
You will make mistakes, you will fail, you will lose. Aidan has struck out many times, lost many games and made many errors. He would tell you that for many, someone or something else was to blame. The umpire, the coach, the weather, the field, the bat, the ball, the fake news (OK maybe not the last one). But he has learned that you need to deal with this failure in a positive way; get up, accept it, take responsibility, make changes, try again, and learn for the next challenge.
Take criticism and learn. Listen, understand, absorb or ignore, but ultimately understand that it’s an opinion – one you can either take direction from or not. How you take that direction though can impact what happens next and how you grow as a player in whatever game you play.
Keep your eye on the ball and always swing for the fences. Life will never go as you planned. No matter how much you prepare, study, or train, a curve ball will be thrown your way. Set goals and priorities, give yourself an action plan. And, if you feel overwhelmed, break it down and take it one hit, pitch or run at a time.
Above all love the game! Baseball is of course just a game, but the lesson here is to love what you do. As I watch from the crowd with the other parents this coming weekend, I will enjoy that moment and hope that he’ll get a hit, or that crucial out, or better still he’ll strike out the other team. Having said that, maybe I’ll just enjoy hanging out with my son and creating memories!