It has now been almost 25 years since I was fortunate enough to play and wear a uniform as a catcher in the Minor Leagues for the Boston Red Sox. With that the experience now far into my rear view mirror, I realize the incredible value of the struggle that I gained during my times in the minors and how much they have benefitted me and prepared me for business, being a husband and a father.
In fact, one of my biggest moments came when the Red Sox Nation Monthly Magazine published an article about me and my push to become the next great catcher. In typical fashion, they got 1/2 of my name right, replacing my last name with that of my biggest rival in the organization… What can you do but laugh at that?
Every day life is hard, for example, marriage and parenting are known to be difficult, it truly is a grind, even if you are lucky enough like me to be married to a great person who is humble and well planted in her beliefs and faith. It is still hard to face the fact that is perfectly acceptable for baseball players to struggle, everyone knows that life in the minors is hard, and you only have to download Kevin Costner’s “Bull Durham”, to see it play out in real life. (I played in that park as a Carolina league player and the movie was an exaggeration, it was actually much worse than it looked on the big screen.) But never a day goes by in business or in life, where I don’t think back to my years as an aspiring baseball player and realize that I can deal with it, I can handle whatever life or business has to throw at me. If you aren’t fortunate enough to have played a sport into your mid 20’s or perhaps pursued an acting career or other form of hobby/passion….there are many ways to recognize the gains from simple day to day life, but remember, the struggle is what makes success so great. It sounds like a cliche, but if it were easy, everyone would do it, has some real truth to it.
Just because your first passion didn’t turn out the way you planned, it was full of life lessons if you open your mind to them, what can be taken from the experience to make your next venture more successful? My advice is to be a sponge, look for the lessons that allow you to learn and accelerate forward as a result. The end game is to allow you to pass that knowledge along to others who will learn faster than you did if taught correctly. If you stay optimistic and opportunistic, seeking to learn from every experience and everyone your encounter, you will find that many others who know more than you earlier in life are unable to pass that value to others and eventually, your value is at a super high level. Keep the faith, but also, don’t run from the struggle, it’s where the lessons are.