Play Ball

batter upImage by dcJohn via Flickr
Raise your hand, if you have, at one time or another, experienced a fear of failure. If you are like most of us, it has happened more often than you’d care to admit.  I believe that fear and fear alone is responsible for halting many a dreamer in their tracks, depriving the world of many realized dreams that would positively impact the world. Fear seeps in and allows our mind to spin quite a story as to why our dream is not practicable or prudent, and is in fact, irrational, dangerous or impossible, in spite of the overriding feeling in our heart that the dream is ours for the taking.  

Life is a series of moments and each moments requires a very simple thing of you: to live your life fully–in spite of. A while back, I was reading the New York TImes and fortuitously came across the article with a byline by John Donahoe. He was interviewing Ken Thiry, a businessman. At the time, I had no real interest in a business story, but my instincts told me to keep reading the piece and I did. Thankfully. Gratefully. I took something away from that   piece and I hope that it will help you too when the fear of failure rears its head in your life. Portions of the article directly relate to our fear of failure, but in terms that I never would have imagined.  Mr. Thiry states:

Another really valuable piece of advice early in my career was from a guy named Kent Thiry, who was another of my early bosses and is now C.E.O. at DaVita. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was suffering from a real fear of failure. Kent said, “You know, John, your challenge is you’re trying to bat .900.” And he said: “When you were in college, you got a lot of A’s. You could get 90, 95 percent right. When you took your first job as an analyst, you were really successful and felt like you were batting .900.” But he said, and this is probably five years into my career: “Now you’ve moved from the minor leagues. You’re playing in the major leagues, and if you expect to bat .900, what happens is, either you come up at bat and you freeze because you’re so afraid of swinging and missing, or you’re a little afraid to step into the batter’s box.” He said, “Best I can tell, the best hitters in Major League Baseball, world class, they can strike out 6 times out of 10 and still be the greatest hitter of all time.”

And he said, “That’s my philosophy — the key is to get up in that batter’s box and take a swing. And all you have to do is hit one single, a couple of doubles, and an occasional home run out of every 10 at-bats, and you’re going to be the best hitter or the best business leader around.” You can’t play in the major leagues without having a lot of failures.

The lesson is not limited to the business arena. It is applicable to each and every area of our life–“the key is the get up” and play in this major league called life.  As Mr. Thiry reminds us, “you can’t play…without having a lot of failures.” Equally important, you can’t have winners, or failures unless you PLAY, so get out there and play in your life. 

Blessings, Peace and Namaste,

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