I am a little league baseball coach. I didn’t play baseball growing up, so I don’t have experiential knowledge to lean on. Instead, I had to learn the game while coaching. One of the first things I learned is you can’t win if your pitcher doesn’t throw strikes. Period.
Pitching is a very slippery slope in little league. Just lobbing a ball into the strike zone has good chance of getting a strike. A few balls thrown outside the strike zone means the batter walks to first base. It takes, at the most, 3 walked batters for the other team to start scoring a point every time another batter is walked. Confidence erodes quickly when this happens.
The young pitcher’s face and body reflect what’s going on in their mind. As confidence erodes, more and more pitches fail to make it into the strike zone. A snowball of bad pitches, like crazy bad pitches, soon follows.
It hurts to watch anyone buckle under pressure. It is especially hard to watch a young kid slowly loose confidence to throw the ball. The pressure is intense. All eyes on him. Thoughts gone wild.
Once this starts, it can spiral out of control fast. They still have the ability to throw into the strike zone. Their loss of confidence, however, has caused them to lose focus. They begin to worry about other things unrelated to the pitch.
What if I throw another ball?
What do the other kids think?
What do the fans think?
What if I walk one more batter and we lose the game?
At this point I get very vocal and speak directly to my pitcher from the dugout…
“Just ONE pitch! That’s all we need right now. ONE pitch. Forget about everything else. Just get THIS pitch into the strike zone.”
If I can get eye contact with the pitcher and get them to hear those words, they begin to recover. One pitch at a time confidence is restored.
Any little league pitcher can throw one pitch in the strike zone with enough concentration. Success in business is the same. “Just one pitch!” Focus on what is right in front of you, right now!
Plan your work. Work your plan. STAY FOCUSED!
James Clear discusses this in Atomic Habits. Aggregation of marginal gains is the idea getting 1% improvement in nearly everything you do. Small improvements can add up to a significant gain in a relatively short period of time. If you get 1% better each day, over 365 days you will be 37% better at the end of the year. If you get 1% worse, you take yourself almost all the way down to zero.
The fact is stress and pressure will come. As your business grows. As your competition increases. As your sales slowdown. As your expenses rise.
Whatever it is, when the pressure mounts and stress increases we tend to panic and lose focus. There are too many balls in the air. There are too many tasks to complete. There is not enough time to accomplish what has to be done. So, instead of staying focused on the priority and knocking down the biggest domino, we panic.
We try to do everything at once and begin to lose ground on all fronts.
In little league there is nothing more important for the pitcher to focus on than getting the next pitch into the strike zone. Getting the ball into the strike zone successfully ensures that the fans are behind you. It ensures your teammates are behind you, and that you have their respect. It ensures your team has the best offensive chance possible to win the game. It is the one thing a little league pitcher can do that will make everything else easier or unnecessary.
The singular focus on the one pitch that is needed right now, is what wins little league ball games. It is also what will help you win in business as well.
What is that one thing you should be focused on? What is that first domino you need to knock down to eventually knock over your Empire State Building sized obstacle on the horizon?
Stay focused. Identify the one thing you can do, such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary. Then focus large amounts of your time on knocking that domino down!
Our passion at Berkemeyer Concepts is stress free software creation. We specialize in helping non-technical leaders create powerful software with minimal effort. Our process brings peace of mind so you can focus on your business.
If your software process is stressful, unpredictable, or unreliable, we should talk. A ten or fifteen minute call will highlight the flexibility and peace of mind our team brings to your software project.