I recently read a biography of baseball manager Joe Maddon called “The Book of Joe.” The book is filled with actionable leadership advice on topics ranging from how the baseball manager creates the team culture to how to put players in positions to be their best. If you think about it, a baseball manager does things with and through other people 100% of the time. After all, the manager is not the one batting at the plate with the game on the line — the players are.
Of the many things Joe Maddon is known for, his catchphrases stand out. When he was managing the Cubs, “Try not to suck” became a t-shirt seen all over Chicagoland. Others that stand out are “Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure,” “Don’t interfere with greatness,” and “The process is fearless.” I’ll focus on the latter in today’s post.
The Mid-Year Unhinging
I am posting this blog toward the midpoint of the year on purpose. Is it me, or does this time of the year always feel like when things become a little unhinged? The winter months tend to make us slow down, whereas the onset of better weather usually brings more to do. Whether that’s kids’ activities, the business conference “season,” or a variety of other factors, it is easy to start feeling overwhelmed and tired by June. It is easy to ask ourselves, “What were my intentions going into this year anyway?”
If we are not careful, it is easy to start thinking about all the demands of the future.
- Will the economy ever rebound?
- How will our business grow with these conditions?
- How can I keep going amid all the to dos that don’t stop even on the weekend?
Or, we may be tempted to think of the past.
- As hard as the supply chain crisis was, our business was thriving in 2021.
- The early days of our product line brought so much opportunity and excitement!
- I don’t miss the winter weather, but I actually had weekends in January.
Stay in the Moment
The process is fearless was Joe Maddon’s way of reminding his team to first stay in the moment. Second, it is a reminder to focus on the process, not the results. Finally, it brings the brain and emotions back into alignment.
After all, the ego enjoys the past, and thoughts of the future feed anxiety. Staying in the moment calms the ego and uproots anxiety.
A fun thing I am doing on the side this spring is helping assistant coach my son’s baseball team. One of our goals as coaches is to try to help our kids stay in the moment. Our head coach, who hasn’t yet read Maddon’s book, still began our spring with a similar saying for our kids to internalize: “Win the next pitch.”
I will close this post with this idea because it is the exact sentiment that Joe Maddon was trying to convey: “The process is fearless.” Whether you are an 11-year-old who just struck out or a professional that just hit a ball 500 feet, “Win the next pitch” is a mindset that keeps one focused on the present.
Thank you for taking a few moments to read this post. I encourage you to take a deep breath and focus on the process of your work. Win the next “pitch. Repeat the deep breath, and go again.
But staying in the moment was how the Chicago Cubs ended 100-plus years of futility. Maybe Joe Maddon was on to something after all?