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Friday, June 11, 2010

Nine of Diamonds

We are in the middle of baseball season.  Since the sport is played on a diamond by 9 players, it makes since for our card this week to represent a baseball analogy.  The game is divided into innings where each team gets an opportunity to score runs and to try to prevent the opponent from scoring.  Select a project, or plan, that you are working on now and approach it from the perspective of 9 innings.

First, Second, and Third Innings:  Make sure that all of your necessary equipment is in place (bat, glove, and cap).  The bat is the tool that you use to launch your ideas into the field of play. Focus, pay attention to detail, and swing at the right time.  When you get a hit, move as quickly as you can to first base.  Don't stand around and admire your achievement.  Forward progress is necessary to advance and score.  The glove is needed to catch distractions, obstacles, and discouragement.  These are not things to fear or avoid.  You need to control them when they appear and handle them in a way that decreases the likelihood of seeing them again.  The cap protects your head.  Study to increase your knowledge of what you are pursuing.  Be creative and think outside of the box to give yourself a competitive edge.

Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Innings:  At this stage of the game, it is time to make adjustments based on what happened in the earlier innings. You now have a feel for how the umpires are calling balls and strikes.  There will always be someone assigned to judge your performance.   Learn the standards that will be used and practice continually so that you can meet and/or exceed them on a regular basis.  Your umpire might be a manager, client, or teacher.   The strike zone indicates the position and timing of your opportunities.  Remember that it will be subjective depending on who is making the calls.  Be observant and flexible in order to maximize your success.  The umpires also determine if you are safe or out when you are running the bases.  You may have to slide or dive head first to reach the base.  This is called hustle and it is an intangible factor in any competition.  Your opponent may be smarter, stronger, or faster than you are.  However, do not underestimate the power of your sheer will and desire.

Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Innings:  Now it is time for the seventh inning stretch.  Take a break, sing a song, eat a snack, and plan how you will finish the game.  It is important to have a balance between work and other areas of your life.  You need to take periodic breaks and recharge so that you put forth your best effort.  This is also the time of the game when substitutions are made.  Let your team help you.  Each person has a role to fulfill in order to help the group. 

Remember, you are out after three strikes.  But you will get at least 3 opportunities to score each inning.

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