Baseball season is nearly over. Even if you’re not a fan, you can learn a lot from professional athletes.
I know for many of my readers, the year ended in disappointment with the Dodgers fizzling out. I grew up a Cardinals fan, so my people were thrilled, briefly, then despondent.
Sometimes that’s how it goes. You make it to the championship, and sometimes you don’t. In sports, there’s only one winner. Fortunately, in real life, there are many.
But sometimes you don’t make it to the championship series. A project didn’t quite reach the peak that you hoped. You didn’t get the promotion you knew you were ready for. They passed you over for the board or the bid.
Here are four things you can learn from athletes to make sure you’re at your best:
1) Take time
Rest. Be sad, if you feel it. Be angry, if you are (just don’t take it out on anyone else). Get some sleep. Eat well. Take your vitamins. Stare out the window. Give yourself some time to recuperate.
2) Stay Strong
Athletes know they can’t get too flabby in the off season, so they get back to the gym and lift weights, do sprints, practice their pivots. The physical body is the foundation of an athlete’s business. Without it, they got nothing.
What’s the foundation of your craft? Consider these possible ways you can stay in shape for the next opportunity:
- Go to a conference
- Take an online course
- Practice your interviewing skills
- Keep building your network, inside and outside your organization
3) Warm Up
Spring training is the time for baseball players to get back in the game – with practice games.
This is when they get to try out some new skills or even a new position. They’re playing for the fans, but these are the best fans – the ones who travel far to see them. It’s a friendly crowd, so the pressure is low. Players get to sign a lot of autographs. Fans get close to the players. Everyone has a good time.
Who are your fans? Can you do some warm-ups with them?
Perhaps it’s working closely with a mentor on a new skill. Talking to a sponsor about being positioned for your next step. Collaborating with colleagues or friends on a low-key project.
One of the best projects I ever did was working with a group to take Acumen’s Human-Centered Design class. It was a hypothetical situation – a chance to practice – but it was a lot of fun and I use the techniques I learned all the time.
4) Get in the Game
When the season starts – go for it.
You’re ready because you didn’t let your brain or your body get flabby just because you didn’t win or even make it close to the World Series.
Because you’re a pro. You keep it going. And when the season starts again, when the opportunity comes, you’re ready. And maybe this year, this time, this season is yours.
Because you are a winner.