7 Ways To Prevent Being Picked Off Your Path
Our lives today are busier and more frenetic than ever before. As leaders at work, or at home, we most likely plan, dream, and manufacture our efforts to achieve our goals.
Yet despite our best plans, oftentimes we find ourselves off the path, picked off by external circumstances or our own internal workings.
Like a baserunner in baseball, we can be intent at watching the pitcher and have a plan in place, but if we’re not careful we can get caught off base if we don’t watch the subtleties from the mound, or understand that we’re leaning to far in another direction to get back to base safely.
Here are some basic tips to keep yourself on the right path and prevent getting picked off:
- Be grounded in your values. A leader without values will not have a foundation to stand on. That old proverb “He who stands for nothing falls for everything” is true. Understand what you represent, and make sure your values become the compass to keep you on the path.
- Know where you’re going. Having a mapped out gameplan will steer you in a better direction than just running aimlessly along the bases. Knowing that you’re going from first to second will get you there better than making a shortcut through the diamond. Don’t get lost by not knowing your direction.
- Train, study, learn. By knowing your industry, your market, your craft, you can gain an advantage over those pitfalls and disasters that will derail you. A good baserunner studies the pitcher’s slightest moves to know when to anticipate the pickoff throw. Being a student of the game, and your world, will help you to discern what’s coming up ahead.
- Know your strengths, AND your weaknesses. A good baserunner will know how well they can jump, turn, and get back to the base before the throw. But they also know when they lean too far off-balance, how tall or short they are, and how slow their reaction time is and compensate for that. Be self-aware in your abilities and tendencies and make provisions to accommodate for them.
- Be flexible, nimble, and ready to adjust at any moment. A leader who is loose and ready to adjust course on a dime is like a nimble ballplayer who can dive back to the bag many times and still be ready to run. Always be ready to charge forward when the opportunity presents itself, and tweak your course as often as needed to ensure the inevitable progress ahead.
- Listen to others. Many times friends, colleagues, and mentors will give us warnings that we don’t heed, and we end up making huge mistakes. Every baserunner has a coach behind them as another set of eyes and accountability. Listen to those who are committed to your success, and don’t minimize their value in achieving your goals.
- If you do get picked off, dust yourself off and get back in the game. The best ballplayers get caught off guard, and so do the rest of us. But great leaders dust themselves off, wait for their next at bat, and make another go at it. Learn from those mistakes, become smarter and more determined to reach your goal.
Train yourself to be a nimble leader who can react quickly and be successful most of the time. Don’t be discouraged about the pick off attempts; resolve yourself to use them as a means to grow stronger as a leader.