Baseball is my favorite sport! With 162 games in a season, it’s impossible to win them all. Just like business, some days we step up to the plate with confidence and crush our goals, other days we simply strike out and sometimes it’s a rain out and we end up having to wait a bit longer to even get into the game.
One of the big things I notice while watching a game is the camaraderie and sportsmanship. The relationships and the support the players, coaches and fans provide for one another, often for the opposing team.
I found myself in a similar situation with a colleague I met via one of my networking groups. We were in similar spaces in our business, but rather than competing with one another, we actually found a way to collaborate. We worked together on a small project and are now in the midst of a larger scale opportunity. Even if you think someone is a potential competitor, when you build a relationship on mutual respect and look to each other’s strengths, it’s a home run for all.
I think networking is very much like playing catch. It’s not just handing out your business card to everyone you meet. That is just the same motion back and forth that won’t get you anywhere. Sure, it’s practice, but it’s a small part of the bigger picture.
A good baseball player is well-rounded and practices fielding, batting, running – all of it! And a good business person practices follow-up, supporting others when they can and always keeping the eye on the ball – the next big opportunity coming their way.
You also have to be ready for the unexpected. That ball that looks like it’s going to be foul then changes at the last moment, the player that steals a base, the pitch that goes wild.
Someone I met in another networking group moved away from the area and while we kept in touch mostly via Facebook, I wasn’t sure if we’d ever have a chance to work business together again, and now we are! I was surprised that Facebook was the way we stayed connected because you can find me a lot more active on LinkedIn. But hey, no matter the platform, show up and be engaged!
If you found yourself on the big screen at a game, would you be ready to engage the crowd? Think about that every time you walk into a networking event or have a chance to showcase your services. It’s your moment!
Baseball is a long game. 9 innings and sometimes more and the game can be decided at the very last second. Business is the same. Never give up and believe in yourself.
At the time of writing this, my beloved Philadelphia Phillies had just ended a 9-game winning streak and that was the first time in over a decade they had a streak that long.
In June, we honor the holiday of Juneteenth and we celebrate Pride month. Let’s support one another, educate ourselves, and always, spread love and kindness.