In the baseball game of life, we take many swings, and most of them don’t end up being home runs.
Those swings might be in relationships. They might be in business. Heck, they might even be in games of actual baseball. But here’s the thing, you won’t hit a home run every time and that’s okay.
My girlfriend Caroline introduced me to an author by the name of Austin Kleon. He’s a super talented guy with a very popular book titled Steal Like An Artist. You may have seen some of Austin’s work before. He does these beautiful newspaper blackouts where he blacks out most of the text on a piece of paper, leaving only a few words. My introduction to Austin was via a post he shared on Medium titled Something small, every day. Austin sums up the article pretty well with this one line:
“Building a body of work (or a life) is all about the slow accumulation of a day’s worth of effort over time.”
Later on in the article he talks about how he’s used this method for his own writing and creation process. Even if life tries to get in the way, he still gets his small thing done each day.
This got me thinking about all the things in my life I wanted to accomplish. Then I started thinking about why I hadn’t accomplished them yet. And then I realized it:
Very often I’m only trying to hit home runs.
Getting in shape is one of the easiest things we all try to hit home runs with. Whether it’s some crazy new work out. A fad diet. Or making some drastic change in our lives. None of it ever ends up working. What actually works is making a conscious lifestyle change, and then creating tiny habits each and every day. We didn’t get out of shape in one single day, why do we expect to get back in shape in one single day?
When it comes to business, we all want the perfect advertising or marketing strategy.
We want the amazingly revolutionary social media campaign. But if you’re putting all your effort into one strategy or one plan, it’s like stepping up to the plate in baseball and swinging as hard as you can at every single pitch. Whether the pitcher throws a curve ball, fast ball, or whatever, when you swing exactly the same way every time you’ll never hit the home run.
What you need to do is adapt. You need to change. You should definitely give your strategies and plans time to be successful, but you also have to realize when what you’re doing isn’t working and it’s time to move on. Sometimes you’ll adapt and hit a home run right away, other times you could be trying to figure things out for years. And again, that’s okay.
In 2012 I remember feeling extremely overwhelmed. IWearYourShirt had grown to eight total people and I felt like I was juggling chainsaws at all times. Okay, it wasn’t that bad, but it was tough.
One of the things I noticed I was getting really bad at was my daily to-do items. I felt like my to-do lists were just piling up and nothing was ever getting done. At time I was using the awesome TeuxDeux web app. It’s a fantastically great product and I’d highly recommend it, but it wasn’t working for me. What I realized was that having my to-do list online and on my computer meant I could easily get distracted by other things. While looking at my TeuxDeux list I’d see an email notification pop-up in another tab. Or I’d leave the TeuxDeux list website to accomplish something on my list that was on another website, and then never end up navigating back to TeuxDeux. I was constantly striking out with my to-do lists.
There wasn’t a home run in sight. So how did I adjust my swing and fix this?
I started by physically writing out my to-do lists in notebooks. I would write down my to-do list every day. It felt so cumbersome and was such a pain in the ass at first. Especially because I wrote out my to-do list every single day, even if it meant rewriting a bunch of stuff I didn’t get done from the day before. But before I knew it, I found myself getting so much more done. My daily to-do items were getting accomplished and I felt relieved and in control. This was my home run. I never would have hit it had I not been willing to change.
Whatever it is that you’re trying to do, you should be putting in intentional daily effort.
Figure out what’s feasible for you, form habits, and stick to them. Remember though, just by doing things with intention doesn’t mean you’ll always get the results you want. It simply means you’ll do things more often, and in turn, have a better chance at hitting home runs.
Let’s not short change the singles, doubles, and triples either. Sometimes small victories are just as good. Little breakthroughs and little steps in the right direction should be appreciated and celebrated as well.
Remember, the more swings you take, the more opportunities for home runs you’ll have.
*This post may lead you to believe I’m a baseball fan. I am not. The home run metaphor was just way easier than a dunk in basketball… Hah.