Do you “play small” in life because you’re influenced by the small thoughts of others?
Does peer pressure work against you when you try to stand up, and break out of the box?
Are you worried about what other people think?
Is it embarrassing to be a “dreamer?”
When I was a boy, I loved baseball and was fascinated by the home run. Nothing else was important to me. I didn’t care about pitching, playing defense, stealing bases, moving up runners, hitting to the opposite field, or (God forbid) bunting.
I had just witnessed Hank Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record. My favorite hitters were Hank Aaron, Reggie Jackson, Mike Schmidt, George Foster, Dave Kingman . . . all the guys that could mash.
Don Zimmer was manager of the Boston Red Sox that year and I heard a quote that stuck with me forever – be it in sports, business, or my personal life. Zimmer said, “Swing hard in case you hit it.” Priceless.
I was the home run king in every single neighborhood league growing up. We counted. Whether we were playing with a wiffle ball, a tennis ball, or a real baseball, Tommy Wyatt would lead the league in home runs every time. Nothing else mattered.
Right up through sophomore year in high school (my swan song) in San Jose, I was switch-hitting home runs with seemingly relative ease. Then I moved to Connecticut.
Life got in my way for a little while in CT, and I didn’t play baseball anymore.
But at 18, I started playing men’s league softball. I soon realized that I was one of only three or four guys in the whole league that could pop it out of the park regularly (before the era of harder balls and titanium bats made everybody a slugger).
Funny thing, though, no matter how many home runs you hit in life, you still can’t overcome the small thoughts of other people around you. I can still hear the cheers of my teammates as I’d step into the batter’s box. “ALL WE NEED IS A SINGLE, TOMMY!” I’d constantly hear things like, “We don’t need a homer here,” or “Don’t swing for the fence.”
The tough part of being a home run hitter (in slow-pitch softball) is that when you “miss,” you often end up flying out to left field. Some friends would tease me and call me “F7” which in baseball parlance means fly-out to left field. I did that a lot.
Eventually the constant peer pressure even got to me. I tried hitting up the middle more. I tried going with the outside pitch to the opposite field. I mean, it’s slow-pitch softball, it’s not all that difficult.
One fateful day, we were playing at Dickinson Park and I was up in the 9th inning of a close game. I had only one thought in my mind as my teammates clapped and cheered, “All we need is a single, Tommy!” I proceeded to hit a moon shot – over the fence and over all the huge trees behind it. As I jogged the bases, I passed by a young up-and-comer named Chris Dennis who was playing third base for the other team. He put his hand out to low-five me as I passed, and said something profound. He said, “Why don’t you just do that every time?”
I couldn’t stop thinking about what Chris said, and the way he said it. He was so matter-of-fact about it. That little “two-second” moment in time played over and over in my head for the rest of my life. I led the league in home runs almost every year after that until I stopped playing and Chris Dennis himself became the king.
“Why don’t you just do that every time?”
Think about it. If you have the ability to play big in life, why would you ever want to play smaller? Looking back at softball, none of my teammates ever complained when I succeeded. They never got angry with me for winning games. And they never asked out of the championship team photo.
Life is funny that way. It’s like the crab in the bucket story. If a crab starts to crawl out of the bucket, another crab reaches up and pulls it back in.
We only get one chance to play this game of “Life.” When I decided to unlace my cleats, put away the bat, and “play big” in business, I made the conscious choice to start hitting home runs again. I wasn’t interested in small or moderate success. I wanted it all. Once again, I was greeted with the well-meaning advice of my teammates. “All we need is a single, Tommy.”
Well, the story in my mind is that Tommy Wyatt hits home runs. Yes, sometimes I fly out. Sometimes I “settle” for singles, doubles, and triples. But I always come to play big . . . it’s just a choice.
Big thoughts and big goals tend to scare average people. I’ve given up trying to figure out why. Chris Dennis was wise.
How will you be remembered? My advice; “Keep Calm and Swing Hard!”
Did you ever teach a child to ride a bike? Remember when YOU learned? I recall picking a lot of blacktop out of my hands, elbows, and knees when I learned on my gold-and-orange Huffy back in the early 70’s. I remember praying that my father wouldn’t let go of the aptly named “sissy bar” as he ran along behind me. When it became my turn to pay it forward with my daughters, I needed a better plan than my father had. When you have sons, you just tell them to stop whining and suck it up. Girls are different (at least to me). This older, wiser, and more enlightened version of myself has put together the “personal development method” of learning to ride a bike. I decided I should just write up a simple list of how-to instructions and have them study it. 1) Get on the bike. 2) Start pedaling. 3) Get your speed up. 4) Wa-la! It’s literally as easy as riding a bike! Then I figured I could take it a step further and serve ALL of man and womankind. I can record a You Tube video! I mean, it’s the new millenium and kids relate more with video’s these days. So I put together a simple and quick video, stating steps 1-4 above but also showing me executing those steps simultaneously. Guess what? It didn’t work. Clearly, as simple as it is to ride a bike, I’m overlooking an element that can’t be described or demonstrated. Balance. Balance cannot be learned in a training manual. It’s a “feeling” that you learn to acquire only through “doing.” It’s the same as learning to drive a manual shift vehicle. I can tell you, or even show you until I’m blue in the face. But you can’t grasp the understanding of balance until you’ve achieved it. The same thing holds true in life as it pertains to your chosen field of endeavor or, in my case, a network marketing business. As I run training classes around the world, people invariably are showing up hoping to capture the golden ticket. They’re hoping to learn the magical formula and get that one priceless nugget that will set them free. Let me save you some time. Here’s the answer. It’s balance. 1. Get on the bike. 2. Start pedaling. 3. Get your speed up. 4. Wa-la! It’s literally as easy as riding a bike! Whether you’re starting a new job, taking the stage as a singer or an actor, lacing up your cleats as a professional athlete, or beginning a network marketing business the only way to learn is to confront the butterflies and just GO. Any fear you’re experiencing is the same fear you survived on the blacktop back in the day. In network marketing it’s 1. Make a list. 2. Share your opportunity / product with the people on that list. 3. Help those who are interested, get started! 4. Wa-la! You don’t need a four-hour training seminar to do those simple things. Again, though, your enemy is fear, self-doubt, and the absence of balance. You did it as a kid! You’re a grown adult now, for Pete’s sake! If you haven’t achieved “balance” in your business yet, then all the books, training seminars, coaching calls, motivation, and inspiration cannot help you. The only way to acquire it is to face your fear, mount up, and ride. Be prepared to fall down a few times and unwrap a few Bandaids. Once you have it, though, its yours forever. Now go put on your helmut and elbow pads! One day you’ll laugh at yourself for being afraid of something so simple and so awesome. I’m Glad I Drank the Kool-Aid!