Step Out Of The Batters Box
April. A busy time of year for everyone.
Tax season. Spring clean-up. Second quarter objectives. Preparations for end of school and summer. Wedding plans come to fruition. As the “polar vortex” wanes behind us and we start to venture out more often, our personal and professional lives tend to ramp up during this month and get hectic. What should be a great time of growth and rebirth can sometimes lead to more work and stress for us and everyone around us.
So it is fitting in celebrating another April tradition this week – Opening Day of baseball – that we consider what the pros do when things get hectic during the game.
They step out of the batter’s box.
Great ball players know how to take a seemingly little pause in the game and turn it into a great advantage for themselves. When they face a tough batter, not reading the pitches correctly, or just not quite feeling right at the plate, they step out and take a few quick moments to regroup.
Here’s what a batter does when they step away; have you ever considered this strategy in your leadership repertoire?
They take a breath or two. This gets their body and mind in sync, releases tension, and calms the nerves. Stepping out is as much a physical reset as it is a mental tune-up.
They look at the field. They see the big picture of where the fielders are and plan where to hit the ball to. They plan there next move in anticipation of what the landscape looks like. Survey where you are and where you’re headed. Those moments will provide your next moves.
Change up the tempo (disruption). This was my favorite tactic in my high school and college days. I would purposely step out at odd times and pause longer to take the opposing pitcher off their rhythm. Sometimes we need to be the source of disruption to make a positive change in the courses around us.
Check with the 3rd base coach. The coach will often give signs for the batter as to what to do next (bunt, swing, take, hit & run), and also give a clap of encouragement to them. A quick chat with a colleague or mentor will often give us another perspective on how to proceed.
Pause and gather composure. Just as the most feared pitcher can rattle a home run king’s stance, today’s pace is enough to rattle even the most solid leaders. A few moments to step away to regroup and regain your confidence can make a huge difference in the attitude you transmit to your team.
Dig back in. You can’t stay out of the game for too long. So get back in there and dig your feet in. Solidify your stance, grip the bat, and stare down the opportunity that is going to be hurled your way. That next chance is yours, so get ready to swing for the fences.
Are you in the game, every pitch throughout the day? If not, then step out of the box. Focus & reset. Breathe. Think & plan. Take a 1 minute time out to bring your game to the next level.
(image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com