by Kim Dushinski
OK, time to confess something about my days in softball. (You may recall that I mentioned I played girls softball as a kid.) Well, I was not a very good player, especially at batting. I used to dread going up to bat for fear that I would swing and strike out.
But one thing I figured out is that most of the other teams’ pitchers weren’t that good and didn’t always throw strikes. One game I decided to just stand there and let the pitches go by. It worked. I got on base with a walk. Phew.
The girls behind me did their part and pretty soon I scored a run.
My strategy worked so well, I decided to try it again the next time I was up. This time it didn’t work and I was struck out…without ever swinging the bat. Still, I was one for two for getting on base.
The next inning was about the same — I stood there as three straight strikes went right by me. Out again. My strategy was not working anymore.
By this point my coach was starting to wonder what was going on and pulled me aside. She asked me why I wasn’t swinging. I told her I was afraid of looking foolish by striking out when I was trying to hit the ball.
I’ll never forget what she told me. It felt a bit harsh at the time, but it has served me well in my life. She said, “You look fine when you swing and miss. You look foolish just standing there.” I realized she was right.
The crowd clapped loudly for my teammates who tried their best and struck out. I got a courtesy round of quiet applause when I headed back to the bench after not trying at all. And honestly, I didn’t feel too good about myself either. I simply wasn’t doing my best.
You know how the story ends – the next game, I went in there swinging. Over the course of the season, I hit some; and I got out some (OK, a lot). But I had a lot more fun playing and I am certain I got on base way more often than I would have just standing there all the time.
The same is true in business. I can barely remember the ideas I had that I left sitting in a notebook because I was too scared to try them. But I can remember the businesses I have started and grown over the years and how much fun it is to be in the game…swinging.
So swing in your business. Take action on the ideas you have. Develop the products/services you know will help your clients. Hire that next employee who will help you take your business to the next level. Do it. Take the swing.
Business Lessons from Baseball Series:
Lesson Number One: Keep Playing the Game
by Kim Dushinski
Even though summer isn’t officially started, one of summer’s greatest activities is in full swing (pun intended). That’s right, I’m talking about baseball.
While you may think of America’s favorite pastime just for enjoyment and relaxation purposes; it’s also the source of numerous life and business lessons. After all, some of our culture’s most popular sayings (“He hit it out of the park,” and “He was out before he reached first base,” for example) come from the diamond.
Over the next 10 weeks, we’ll be sharing some of our favorite LifePoint lessons we’ve learned from baseball (OK, actually softball in my case. I played and then coached girls’ softball way back in the day.)
Whether you’ve spent hours in the dugout or in the stands, or if you don’t know an RBI from a solid ROI, surely you’ll find a lot of inspiration in this series of blog posts.
Major League Baseball season starts in April and goes well into October (or Rocktober as we Colorado Rockies fans call it in the good seasons), and includes over 160 regular league games. On top of that there are pre-season scrimmages and playoff match-ups. With each game lasting over two hours, that’s a lot of game time!
What happens in the first inning of the first game in the pre-season has little bearing on who wins the World Series. The season lasts a long, long time. By the time the season wraps up, the average batter has been in the box over 500 times. Sometimes they get a hit, but more often, they get out.
What’s important to note is that first time up to bat doesn’t set the tone for their season – unless they let it. And, they don’t quit the first time the get out. They keep playing.
Business is the same way. While any one “pitch,” customer interaction, or promotion may seem of the utmost importance — and it is, in that moment — in the overall scheme of things, it is only one piece of the puzzle.
In your business, you need that same perspective. Yes, you want to hit a home run each and every time you are at bat, and you want to make a play every time the game comes your way, but chances are you are going to flub a few easy pop-ups, and miss a few easy strikes. And you will make small, steady progress as well. That is just the nature of the game.
What you want to focus on is getting on base. Set your goal in the game of business and do what it takes to move forward (even just a bit) every day toward your goal. Some days you will hit a home run and others you will just advance steadily forward. If you happen to strike out, don’t worry. You get to play again tomorrow.
Business Lessons from Baseball Series:
Lesson Number Two: It’s More Fun When You Swing
In an effort to help as many business owners as possible with their marketing, we have decided to launch a 90 Day Marketing Challenge. The challenge part is simply to participate “full out” in your marketing over the next 90 days. We will help with tools, strategies, ideas and support. And the best part is that it is FREE.
That’s right. Just sign up to get weekly emails and to join our Challenge Facebook Group. The group goes May 1 – July 30, 2013 and you can start at any time. Don’t worry if you missed a few days (or even a month). You can do the full 90 days whenever you start.
We’ll help get you focused on creating results in your business through smart, effective marketing. Just sign up here using the box below and you’ll get all the info you need. (Did we mention there are prizes and a party involved too?)
Let’s get going!
It’s no secret that small businesses must make the most of their marketing. According to an infographic posted by Digital Sherpa, businesses are planning to increase their spending in 2013 on the following marketing tactics:
What about you and your business? What do you want to do more of this year?
A living legend, Zig Ziglar died on Nov. 28th. I met him twice in person and got to shake his hand, but he has had an enormous influence over my life.
I was introduced to his philosophy about life in the late 60′s. I was just starting out my career at Sears. In those days, the pay was pretty hard to live on, especially for a young family that was growing. Promotions didn’t always help much as they didn’t carry big increases with them. I worked very long hours, partially because that’s what retail requires, but also because I never seemed to be able to get everything done to my standards in the time allotted
I had actually done much better financially in the Air Force, so I had much to be negative about.
I could have focused on what was not working for me, but I had found out about Zig and had bought some of his tapes. I took them everywhere in my car. My cars, at the time didn’t have tape players so I had a portable one on the seat beside me.
His messages of positive attitude convinced me that anyone who had a positive attitude would be successful. I never thought about what was wrong; but kept focused on what could be. I believed, as he taught, that by focusing on your goal, you would achieve it.
He taught his listeners to value their commitments to their family, to their employer and to countless strangers who they might help if they chose to do so. His most famous line, “You can get anything in life you want if you help enough others get what they want” has been something I have always tried to live up to.
It is sad for the world to lose this influence for good. If the test of being a great person has to do with how much positive goodness you spread during your life, then Zig passes the test.
Rest in Peace, Zig..You have changed the lives of many.