The only baseball player that ever stepped up to the plate and hit a home run each and every time exists in fantasy novels or comic books. And it doesn’t matter any way that, as mere mortals, we can’t hit a home run each and every time we step up to the plate. What matters is not only that we step up to the plate in the first place, but that we hit consistent singles – we don’t HAVE to hit a home run each time.
This focus on consistency is by no means my strong suit. As I recently so eloquently told a friend the other day, and I’m paraphrasing here: “Nothing I do comes without strapping a rocket to my [insert bum, arse or the like here] and lighting it on fire.”
It’s an interesting visual, isn’t it? But seriously, I am a very all or nothing person. I can achieve a great deal in small, powerful bursts, and I have immense tenacity. But patience is not one of my virtues. I have blogged before about the profound impact that training to run my first half marathon had on my understanding of patience and consistency in multiple facets of life.
When training for this distance, it’s not about logging 10 or 12 or 13 miles each and every day – metaphorically hitting the mileage out of the park. In fact, by logging these miles each day with no breaks, I would have set myself up for failure – greatly increasing my odds of getting injured.
What was required to train at this distance was the consistency of running three, four or five miles – lesser mileage but I made sure I was out there when I needed to be out there on the trail or the road – no excuses.
It’s this type of consistency – always stepping up the plate with a single, an occasional home run or always hitting the trails with many five-milers and the occasional 11 or 12 miler – that is the platform for us to be successful in our pursuits.
This is an especially valuable consideration when it comes to leadership. Think about your favorite supervisor or manager. Chances are, she or he didn’t just approach you when something went wrong – or only offer you guidance or feedback during an annual evaluation. That impactful and effective leader was consistent in his or her input; both positive and negative. You always knew where you stood with them, and what they expected of you.
You can’t expect to have a high-performing team when you only light a fire under yourself and your people every quarter during an evaluation, or when the numbers or results start to slide.
Yeah, it’s nice to have the fireworks that come with home runs. But if you’re lackluster at best most every other time you’re at bat and expected to perform, it’s not likely to happen.
So show up. Be consistent. With a mix of at bats and singles, you’re sure to earn the occasional Grand Slam.