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Nothing Is Achieved From The Bench

“As a kid you don’t dream about game three of the playoffs. We all dream of game Seven. So that is what we look forward to.” — Brent Burns

In sport, if you can’t execute at the highest level during game seven of the playoffs, you won’t win.

In business, if you aren’t growing your business is slowly dying.

In life, if you aren’t living according to your highest values, you are running from success.

In relationships, if you aren’t investing in others you are blocking your own legacy.

In each of these areas of life (professional, personal, relational) sometimes you have to step up to the plate and swing for the fence. Nothing good happens when you are sitting on the bench and so to succeed in these three areas, you need to ‘swing away’.

When you swing away for the fences in these areas, three things are bound to happen.

You strikeout.

You pop the ball up and get out.

You crush it over the fence.

I have done all three.

I still do all three.

I will continue to do all three.

Many of us get enough courage at one time or another to step up to the plate in one area of our lives. When we get excited and filled with self-confidence, we swing for the fence…..Only to have option 1 or option 2 happen. We strikeout or fly out and are forced to retreat to the bench and call it a day.

When this happens, human nature tells us to avoid that failure in the future. So we begin swinging less for the fence and instead, sit on the bench living vicariously through others who are stepping up and swinging away each day.

Or, we get enough courage to step up to the plate again but shift our strategy from swinging for the fence to just hoping to get on base. This mindset is a slippery slope.

If either of these approaches resonates with you, welcome to 95% of the world. You are not alone!

I am here today to remind you that a strikeout is nothing more than a strikeout and a fly ball is nothing more than a fly ball. Treat these as a one-time occurrence.

“If you can greet triumph with disaster and treat both imposters just the same.” — Rudyard Kipling

We make ‘getting out’ into a larger than life distraction which then deters us from our original “why” behind the reason why we stepped up to the plate to swing for the fence in the first place.

That mental deterring holds us hostage as we wallow in the failure.

We begin to drift away from our “why” and retreat to the safe space, on the bench.

I am here to tell you to do the opposite. To swim back against the waves rather than drifting away aimlessly from the shore.

The other morning when I was driving to work I realized something profound. I realized that the reason why I have the marriage I have, the career I have, and all the many blessings I have in my life is all because I have stepped up to the plate and swung for the fence many times over.

In those at-bats, I have had many strikeouts and fly balls but I decided early on in my life that these would not distract me from stepping up in the future hoping to hit that home run.

The reality is that if we doubt. Doubt wins. If we have courage, courage wins.

Because of this mentality and approach to life, I have also hit many home runs. No, actually I smashed many balls out of the park.

A prime example:

I wrote my first book a year and a half ago. I swung for the fence and I hit a fly ball. I popped out and retreated to the bench with little success….But I learned a ton. I studied the pitcher (from the bench) and worked mentally to build up enough confidence to face that same pitcher (and all the curve balls) a year later in publishing a second book.

And I knocked that sucker out of the park.

I could have been so deterred from ‘my first book failures’ that I remained on the bench. My narrative easily could have been: “Well, I gave it my best shot and it’s time to move on.

Instead, I studied, listened, learned and built up enough confidence to swing for the fence a second time.

I can think of many other examples relationally, personally and professionally of this unfolding in my life but I want you to think about all the times you stepped up to the plate in these areas of your life.

Did you strike out? What was that like for you?

Did you hit a fly ball? How did that feel?

Did you crush the ball over the fence? How did that feel compared to flying out?

My encouragement for you today is this — swing away.

Be fearless.

It is amazing at what we can accomplish in the “big three” areas of our lives when we are willing to step up when life calls us to swing away.

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