When to Dig Deep
My spring and summer days were often spent on the softball field. I was a pretty good second baseman and often led off the batting list because I was quick to get to base and could lay down a decent bunt. The league I played in was full of great players, but only two other girls played with me on my high school team. The league primarily fed two other high schools in the district. During league play, the teams I was lucky to play with usually were first, or at least always in the top three at the end of the season. My high school varsity team was second to last. What a lesson in adaptation, patience and perseverance!
After my sophomore year, I moved on to other sports and activities. The one and only coach we had, a great coach for women’s varsity volleyball, knew little about softball. The mundane practices were exactly the same routine every afternoon. My skills on the field and at bat didn’t improve and truthfully, I could hardly stomach the standings at the end of the season. Frankly, it sucked to loose to every other team except one.
I happened to catch the NCAA Softball Women’s College World Series over the weekend and found myself cheering for Cal – a sister UC school. Softball is a great example of how women’s sports are different then men’s. The girls have their long hair in braids and ponytails, adorned with bows and sparkling headbands. Many had necklaces or visible jewelry. The chatter and cheers still pour from the dugout as it did in my days of play. And the girls have many on-field rituals and special handshakes that are done after each out. It was a fun reminder of my days on the field.
The #1 seeded, Cal, was emerging from the loser bracket and faced #2 and undefeated Alabama. Alabama had also had a day of rest. Cal had a tough game against Oregon, but came out on top to move to the semifinals. Both teams came into the game ready to win, that’s for sure. The first inning was a display of skill, eagerness and energy. But it was also clear that Alabama, with that one day of rest, came with a bit of extra strength. They seamed bigger, tougher and dare I say, a little bit meaner.
Alabama scored first with one point in the second inning and then another in the third. Cal’s third baseman, Henderson (younger sister of the pitcher) tied the game with a two-run homer in the 4th, but Alabama answered right back with another point in the bottom of the 4th to keep the lead. When Alabama scored their fourth point in the 5th inning, you could see the air go out of Cal’s tire. The energy dropped, the faces drooped and they simply could not regain momentum to take the game back. Alabama scored again in the bottom of the sixth, which pretty much sealed the deal.
It was heartbreaking to see the lady Bears loose the game, but even more so, their enthusiasm. They simply couldn’t get out of the negative space. I found myself thinking about business and being a business owner. Goodness knows the situations can be similar. There are certainly days when you are tired, when you don’t want to have to face the game, but somehow, you have to pick up the bat, get in the box and smack that ball! You’ve got to find the energy deep from within to get through the inning and finish the game. You have to give it all you’ve got. Some days, the competition may be playing better than you, they might be stronger, well rested and geared up, but that’s precisely when you have to knock it outta da park! You cannot let the other team get the best of you. It’s a hard lesson to learn, even at the championship level.
And yes…some days, the level of play is a bit over our heads, and even our best doesn’t get the W for the day. Perhaps you loose an account to your competitor, or your presentation doesn’t go quite as planned, but hopefully, all of that serves to fuel your desire to dust yourself off, pick up your glove and run back out on the field. That’s when you dig deep and keep cheering your team on, hold tight to your spirit for the game.
What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for your business? Have you developed any rituals for yourself or with your team? Have you ever had to dig deep to stay in the game? Please share your experience!