I recently had the opportunity to share the following story with an old friend, and with a new friend. Given that the baseball season is still fresh and new, I am reposting.
A couple years ago, my oldest son faced a difficult situation. As a freshman, he did not make his high school baseball team. That meant for the first time since he was five, he would not be playing organized baseball in the spring. After seeing his name wasn’t on the list, I had ten minutes on the drive home to figure how I would share this heartbreaking news. What follows are five points I thought most important for him to take away from the experience.
It was a difficult conversation where we discussed his two options. The first was to hang up his cleats and call it a career. The second was to decide he wasn’t done playing baseball, and do everything he could to keep playing. To his credit, he worked hard and put himself in a position to play. He ended up earning a spot on a team in a wooden bat league as a 17-year old in a league with players over 18, most of whom are over 20 and play or played baseball on Division I teams.
FIVE LIFE LESSONS OF BASEBALL:
1. Nobody cares more for you and nothing matters more than family.
2. Events don’t define you. How you respond to those events is what defines you.
3. Don’t concern yourself with things you can’t control. It’s a waste of time. Conversely, control everything that impacts your ability to succeed.
4. Never give up easily on something you care about deeply.
5. You must EARN EVERYTHING you want and need. Nobody GIVES you anything. That means you must work TWICE as hard as the next guy to GUARANTEE you achieve your goals.
I’ve used this list to coach teams, both on fields and in offices. As a father, I hope all three of my children can use these lessons as a way to gain confidence needed to maximize their ability to reach their potential. As a leader within my company, I hope everyone on my team is able to practice these concepts in establishing their priorities so they can bring their best to work and to their lives every day. As a teammate in life with everyone in my family, business and community, these lessons remind me what’s most important.
Tyler is currently finishing his sophomore year at Florida State University where he’s learning how to handle life on his own. A list of these lessons is framed and sits above his bed in his room at school.