Inspiration Report

In honor of the Yankee’s opening game on Sunday, let’s talk baseball–and work.


Here is a list of 7 ways baseball can help us step up to the plate in today’s workplace, written by strategic change expert, Scott R. Singer, author of How to Hit a Curveball: Confront and Overcome the Unexpected in Business (Portfolio, April 2010).


As Singer points out, being able to deal with the unexpected is an invaluable business tool. And he advise those of us in today’s workplace develop the skills of curveball hitters. He shared some fun baseball metaphors with Beliefnet recently. Read them below.


By Scott R. Singer


While not everyone is a baseball fan, the culture and rituals of America’s pastime can provide us with valuable lessons on how best to weather today’s chaotic and unpredictable workplace.


1. While it’s human nature to feel ashamed and embarrassed by job loss or salary cuts and to want to conceal what’s happening from those closest to us, in business and at home, procrastination and avoidance do nothing but extend pain and problems. We need to “step up to plate,” admit what has happened and let those close to us provide support, advice, and comfort.

2.With the way things are going in today’s job market it’s easy to become pessimistic and paint worst case scenarios. Instead we need to fight off this negativity, and not let our nightmares become real. We need to “be the batter not the ball.”

3. Technology and work pressures have let us to all fall into a frenetic pace in which multitasking is the norm as we try to control every element of our work and lives. To stay sane we need to learn to surrender. We must let go of those things beyond our control and “keep our eye on the ball,” focusing on those things we really can control.

4. These are alienating times. We feel alone and isolated in a fearful environment. That’s why it’s doubly important that we seek out and “listen to our coaches.” No one can win a game by themselves so rather than trying to go it alone we need to reach out for help.

5.We’re not in Kansas anymore. The workplace rules have changed and continue to change. But in troubling times we all look back to the traditions and patterns and practices that worked in the past and try to reapply them. Instead we need to “step out of the batter’s box” and try to look at things from a fresh perspective.

6.The incredible pace of life and work today often forces us all into equally speedy actions and reactions. It feels like there’s no time to think, and barely enough time to act. We all have to fight this instinct and “wait for a pitch we can hit.” Patience is more difficult than ever, but it’s also more important than ever.

7.However problematic today’s workplace is for more of us, it presents just as many opportunities. There has never been a better time to turn our careers and lives around, to launch second acts, to pursue long deferred dreams. We need to “become home run hitters” and knock the curveballs we’re being thrown out of the park.

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