Verse of the Day
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
1 Timothy 6:12 NIV
Make the Most of Your Opportunities.
Posted: 27 May 2016 04:17 AM PDT
Like many other youngsters, I played Little League baseball. I was a pretty good fielder, but when it came to hitting, I was -- to put it bluntly -- pathetic. That's because I was afraid of getting hit by the ball. So, when the pitcher reared back to throw, I'd tend to back away from the plate.
One day in my little league "career" stands out in my memory. It was my turn to bat, and I stepped up to the plate to face one of the best pitchers in the league. This kid threw hard. Well, he fired a fastball and I swung. CRACK! By some miracle, I hit the ball and sent a long line drive between the center fielder and right fielder.
Let me tell you, I was stunned, never having heard that sound come from MY bat before. So, I began to race around the bases frantically, chugging as fast as I could. The ball rolled so far that there was no way the outfielder could retrieve it in time. I could have crawled around the bases and made it home safely.
Well, after I crossed home plate my teammates jumped all over me. They, too, were amazed by my slugging prowess. I was elated . . . until, out of the corner of me eye, I saw the catcher from the opposing team walking toward our dugout. He had the ball in his hand . . . and he tagged me.
The home plate umpire yelled, "You're out! You missed home plate." Talk about the agony of defeat -- not to mention the embarrassment! My home run was snatched away from me. Then, adding insult to injury, the first base umpire said, "He missed first base also." Oh, well--at least I touched two of the four bases.
How did it happen? Why did I have so much trouble running the bases and completing the home run? My problem was, I didn't expect to hit the ball. So when I did, I wasn't prepared.
You see, when your expectations are low, it's hard to take advantage of "the breaks" that come your way. With that in mind, here are two specific suggestions to help you make the most of your opportunities.
Adjust Your Attitude
When I stepped up to the plate in those Little League games, I had a lousy attitude. I kept telling myself, "I'm not a good hitter," and "I'll never hit the ball very far." This became a self-fulfilling prophecy and, as a result, I rarely hit the ball. When I did hit the ball into the outfield that day, I was stunned and ran around the bases like a chicken without a head. Remember, low expectations lead to disappointing results.
Are there any areas of your life where you're giving yourself negative messages right now? If so, it's important to change your attitude immediately. Otherwise, your performance will remain at a low level.
A positive attitude, by itself, won't guarantee that you make the most of your opportunities. The next crucial step is preparation.
Because I didn't expect to hit the ball, I didn't study the technique for running the bases. (There is a proper technique, you know!) Had I practiced navigating the diamond, I would have been more successful when I actually hit the ball.
The same is true in your career. Let's say John is a successful salesperson and has a chance to be promoted to district manager. What kinds of skills might be important for him to develop? First, he'll probably be required to do some public speaking at monthly meetings or sales conventions. If John isn't already an accomplished speaker, he'd do well to join a group like Toastmasters to improve his speaking skills.
John may also need help in motivating and managing a staff with diverse personalities. He can read books, attend seminars and obtain guidance from other successful managers to develop this skill. Regardless of his approach, however, if John fails to prepare, he probably won't make the most of his promotion when it comes; and he may not even land the promotion at all.
By the way, when should John start to prepare? As early as possible! The sad truth is, most people start to prepare when it's too late. If John aspires to be a district manager, he should start preparing well before he gets the promotion. That way, he'll demonstrate that he deserves to move up the ladder and, when he gets the new job, he'll be ready to show his stuff!
It all comes down to this: when you combine a great attitude with thorough preparation, you're sure to hit many home runs!
Jeff Keller is the President of Attitude is Everything, Inc. For more than 15 years, Jeff has delivered presentations on attitude and motivation to businesses, groups and trade associations throughout the United States and abroad. Jeff is also the author of the highly acclaimed book, Attitude is Everything. For more information, go to http://www.attitudeiseverything.com