Between all of the organized sports that I have played (ice hockey, football and baseball), baseball is the most humbling sport I have ever played.

To make it to the major leagues takes talent, hard work and resilience. Even the most talented of players takes sometimes three to five additional years in the minor leagues to hone their skills to a level where they can compete at the major league level.

Even then, the average player only gets a hit roughly 25% of the time (.250 batting average) they step to bat. If they are successful 30% of the time (.300 batting average) they are typically rewarded with a multi-million dollar contract.

Imagine the difference between average and a superstar is only being successful 5% more often. If you can carry this 5% success rate over ten years of playing, you will not only retire with a large bank account, you may even be elected to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

This 5% higher success rate doesn’t have to be home runs, they could be swinging bunts or ground balls that just get through the infield (base hits).

Is anyone paying you millions of dollars to be successful on 30% of your ideas, decisions or initiatives?

I have already mentioned how difficult the game of baseball is. One coach I had said to me, “Tom, baseball is a simple game. Take a round bat and round ball and simply hit it square.” Really what he was saying is, baseball is a game of failure. Just like life.

There are three simple rules:

  1. Learn from but don’t live in the past.
  2. Succeed by making adjustments.
  3. Know that your next opportunity to succeed is just an inning or two away.

Baseball players have a short memory and so should you. Every time you fail or make a poor decision be sure to gather the learning from the experience and re-enter the batters box. Sometimes that next at-bat is the next inning, or sometimes it is the next day. Regardless, it is your job to enter that box with more confidence and a stronger plan. If you wait too long to get up to the plate the voices in your head will be there to keep you on the bench. Keep swinging!

Here is what I mean. I recently had the opportunity to learn from multiple experts in leadership at the John Maxwell Team International Certification in Orlando. One of the speakers was best-selling author and media expert Seth Godin. Seth promoted the daily practice of writing down 10 ten bad ideas every day. The more ideas you write down the more likely one of those ideas will be the initiative that takes you to the next level.

In John Maxwell’s latest book about capacity that is scorching towards number one, No Limits, he shares that you will never reach your capacity unless you increase your creativity.

Email me to see how you can get a signed copy!

Being creative is a mindset, you have to be in love with the notion of trying “half-baked ideas.” In organizations of any size, the greatest detriment to continual success is relying on past success. Creative people fail and the best fail often. Remember the million-dollar baseball player with the 30% success rate? They are not walking up to that plate with the same approach if they have walked back to the dugout without a hit in their last three to four at-bats. They utilize a system to  arrive with one goal in mind, to hit the ball square!

Rely on Cycle for Success System:

  • Step 1: Visualize the Outcome: Have an image of success in the forefront at all times. This could be a written statement, adopted goals, sketch or vision board.
  • Step 2: Jump and Test Where you are: Step up to the plate and swing with your current knowledge and resources.
  • Step 3: Fail: Fail Fast, Fail First and Fail Often
  • Step 4: Learn: Stabilize and analyze by taking inventory of your skills and resources with your team and make the adjustments. If you are not sure what those adjustments are go seek someone who has been there for mentoring or get the necessary training. You may find that you need better people and resources here. What you ultimately want to answer is, does this move us closer in the direction of our goal?
  • Step 5: Re-Enter: Get back in the batters box and swing
  • Step 6: Analyze: What happened?
    • 6a: If successful strengthen and continually reevaluate what could work better. Constantly living and acting in the present to making a better tomorrow.
    • 6b: If failed, repeat from step 2.

You cannot climb uphill using downhill habits.  This Cycle for Success will require you to stay in the game and keep climbing as you may have repeated failure before you begin to see some success.

This week I challenge you to do the following:

  • Personal Growth: Take that vision board off the fridge and start putting steps towards your dream down on paper.
  • Professional growth: Write down 10 ideas each day on how you can be more successful.
  • Organizational growth: Have an idea wall or Google Doc that everyone contributes to daily. Each week spend time with your team flushing out these ideas and putting some legs under each.
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