A few weeks ago, I read an article in USA Today about the Oakland A’s first baseman Brandon Moss, who had just made his first All-Star game. Normally, I wouldn’t be all that interested in this type of article. What struck me was that Moss had almost quit the game a few years ago to become a firefighter. I think his story will resonate with many of you, the same way it has with me.
After toiling in the minor leagues for almost six years with very little to show for it, Brandon Moss was cut after the 2011 season by the Phillies. For all his years in the majors, Moss had a lifetime .230 batting average, with only seven home runs. Not exactly major league stuff, so it’s no surprise that he was ready to call it quits.
What’s interesting is the reason he was even drafted into the major leagues was he was considered a power hitter – a guy known for hitting home runs.
When he got into to the major leagues, the hitting coaches didn’t like his swing. They thought it was “loopy” and “unorthodox,” like a caveman swinging a club. It wasn’t the way they felt a power hitter should swing the bat if he wanted to be successful at this high level.
While I’m sure these coaches had the best of intentions, the approach of completely re-inventing Brandon’s swing didn’t really work for him, and the results were devastating. After a few years in the majors, all that was left was a talented young player who had not only lost his confidence, he could no longer do what he was built to do . . . hit home runs.
Luckily, a minor league swing coach in Indianapolis looked at some old film of Brandon hitting long home runs and wisely suggested that he go back to what used to work so well for him. While the coach agreed that his swing was a bit primitive, he helped Brandon make a few minor tweaks and slight adjustments to what had worked so well for him in the past.
I think you can already guess the results.
Brandon Moss is hitting home runs again – a lot of them! Last year he hit 30 to lead the A’s, and this year he already has 23 a little more than halfway through the season. Not bad for a guy who was ready to give up on his dream a few years ago and become a firefighter.
So, you’re probably wondering how this means anything to you or your business. Well, as a coach myself, I can tell you it means everything.
Throughout our lives, and in our business careers, we run into so many coaches, mentors, bosses, colleagues, and friends. Each and every one of them is probably quick to share their wisdom and advice, guide you on what course corrections to make, and explain exactly what changes you need to make to succeed.
While I believe they all mean well and have the best of intentions, at some point it’s important you learn to trust yourself enough to know what’s going to work for you, and what’s not. Drastic changes very rarely give you the intended results and usually aren’t sustainable. And, anyone who attempts to completely re-invent you or radically change who you are and what you do is only setting you up for failure.
If you ever catch yourself running into a brick wall or feeling as though you’re ready to quit, ask yourself whose advice you’ve been following, and how it’s working. Are you really ready to give up on something you love and have been passionate about for many years because someone’s coaching you to be something you’re not? Or, are you okay with your unorthodox approach, even if others want to change you?
Remember, coaches, advisors, bosses, and friends are always welcome to make suggestions. Ultimately it’s up to each of us to make our own decisions.
Who have I been listening to for coaching and guidance, and how is that working for me?
What am I most passionate about in my life and in the workplace, and am I pursuing that?
Where have I made some drastic changes that simply aren’t consistent with my true, authentic self?
Where can I be hitting more home runs in my business and in my life?
Thoughts for the week:
“We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.”
― May Sarton
“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” ― C.G. Jung
“Following all the rules leaves a completed checklist. Following your heart achieves a completed you.” ― Ray Davis
“Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.”
– Mother Theresa
“If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.” – Mark Twain
Looking forward to our next conversation