With baseball season upon us, I can’t help but share some insight that I learned from my Father. He’s the ultimate Yankees fan, he was even born in 1927, the year of Murderers Row. He attended Lou Gehrig’s world famous retirement game with his Dad, when he was 11 years old, played in the minor leagues, and knows baseball so well that he often calls the moves 30 to 60 seconds before the manager does.
My dad often shares wisdom that can become lessons on success, whether it’s intentional or not, he inspires me. I thought back to last year when he and I either attended a live game or watched them together on TV, and here’s the scenario that unfolds:
It’s the 9th inning, there are two outs, two men on base and a batter is up at the plate in what is possibly their last at bat and the only chance they have to tie or win is to get a hit, right now! The batter has two strikes on him, the pressure is on, the pitcher winds up and delivers the pitch and . . . thump, he’s out, game over. The batter watched a strike go right past him into the catcher’s mitt and he “strikes out looking.” When this happens my dad will often emphatically say “swing will ya?!?!”
He hates when someone goes down without at least taking a shot.
If that batter had swung, he might have made contact, and then he might have gotten a hit, and then he might have tied or even won the game. Instead, he didn’t try and ultimately failed. Never knowing what might have happened if only he took a shot.
Should we take shots? Of course. Will we win them all? No, but we will always succeed more by taking the shots than if we don’t even try. To continue using baseball as an example, let’s look at Reggie Jackson’s career.
Reggie Jackson is known as one of the best home run hitters of all time, but he also struck out more than anyone else, 2597 times to be exact. So it’s obvious that he had no problem swinging, or, trying to succeed.
“A baseball swing is a very finely tuned instrument. It is repetition, and more repetition, then a little more after that.” ~Reggie Jackson
And while the all time strikeout record is not the type of record any baseball player would really be proud of, I’m sure it doesn’t bother Reggie too much, because of all of the positive accomplishments that swinging brought with it.
- Reggie won the MVP Award in 1973
- He won two Silver Slugger Awards, one in 1980 and 1982
- He was voted the World Series MVP in 1973 and 1977
- He was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1993
- He even had a candy bar named after him (pictured below)
His most awe inspiring moment came in game 6 of the 1977 World Series. I vaguely recall watching it on TV with my Dad. Reggie hit three home runs on three pitches from three different pitchers to power the New York Yankees to victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was his defining moment in pinstripes and for Jackson, it helped to earn him the nickname, “Mr. October.”
No Yankee in history, not Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio or Mantle, had achieved what Reggie did during that World Series. He not only hit those three home runs in a single game but he hit five home runs overall, throughout six games, both World Series Records.*
The possibility of striking out did not stand in the way of Reggie Jackson swinging for the fences.
I should add that Reggie’s career totals for strike outs (2597) are just about 4 1/2 times MORE than his career totals for home runs (563) but he is not remembered for his failure, only for his success.
Very often we let the possibility of failure stop us from swinging, from taking a chance. We don’t even try, which usually leads to failure. Crazy isn’t it, the thought that we might fail virtually guarantees failure.
That means you have nothing to lose!
- Ask for the sale.
- Start that business.
- Ask for a raise or swing as much as you need to, so that you perform well enough to deserve one.
- Ask the person you’re attracted to to go out sometime.
- Take up a new hobby.
- Set a goal and plan the steps necessary to achieving it and start now.
The game of life is on the line, so swing will ya!
Rock Star Life Coach & Sales Trainer
*His three home runs in one game were tied with Babe Ruth (who did it twice) and the record of 5 home runs over six games was held by Jackson until 2009 when Chase Utley tied the record.