I love baseball season.
If you’re like me, you tend to name the seasons by the sports they bring—Fall is Football, Winter is Basketball—and Spring is Baseball. (and Summer is for offseason workouts!)
As a baseball guy, I have the pleasure of knowing the great Will Clark, Major League Baseball first baseman and slugger for the Giants, Rangers, Cardinals, and Orioles. In fact, I recently called play-by-play with Will as a color analyst for a high school baseball game live webcast (Dunhamlive.net). Needless to say, it was somewhat humbling to work with a former pro baseball player who, in his day job, still works for the San Francisco Giants.
As the game progressed, Will said something that has stuck with me. Not just because it was a great comment as a color analyst, but because it makes sense in many aspects of business. After a player struck out, Will said, “These kids get maybe 2500 swings in their entire high school career. As a professional ball player, I would get 2500 swings in a week.”
Will Clark played major league baseball for 14 years. That makes 1,820,000 swings in his career. I guess that’s why they called him “The Sweetest Swing in Baseball.”
Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers, states that an expert becomes world class after about 10,000 hours of practice. While that is disputable, the point is made: practice makes you good. Hitting a baseball is what Will did best, and even today he can analyze a swing in seconds. He can predict a hitter’s chances at the plate after just one swing.
My job requires me to wear many hats, but there is one thing I do over and over again, and I do it better than just about anyone else. I can almost do it in my sleep. It’s so natural that I don’t even have to think too hard about it, and that’s the result of years and years of experience. Find out what I do best here.
What do you do well? What have you practiced over and over again and become ridiculously good at? It’s not bragging to say so. It’s business. You may do many things, but if there’s one thing that you’re crazy good at, do it more often and charge for it.
It may be making sandwiches, selling telecom services, or giving presentations. Maybe it’s research or graphic design. Or it could be planning events or building spreadsheets. Whatever it is, that’s where you will do your best work and build your reputation.
Will Clark hit a home run in his first Major League at bat. He’s now a 6-time Major League Baseball All-Star. He was just doing what he did best.
David Day is a marketing coach, brand architect, and ad agency owner. He helps clients make good decisions about marketing, advertising, and company culture. Connect with David at www.thedaygroup.com.