Category Archives: goliaths

Focus On Your Strengths

An exhausted and jet-lagged dad had just walked in from a brutal week of working and traveling across the country. As he was unpacking, his son burst into his bedroom carrying a baseball bat and ball and excitedly announced, “Dad, you have to see what a great baseball player I am now!”

“All right, son,” the dad replied. “Just let me change my clothes first.”

“Ok, but hurry! You are not going to believe your eyes! I am the greatest baseball player in the world!”

Baseball-kidA few minutes later, the father followed his son into the backyard, where the little boy proceeded to rest the bat on his shoulder, throw the ball up in the air with his left hand, and then quickly grab the bat with both hands and swing as the ball came back down.

On his first attempt, the little boy completely missed the ball. Undaunted, he retrieved the ball, tossed it back up in the air, and swung again, missing. His dad was starting to get a little embarrassed for him and moved in to help.

“No, Dad!” his son said with a huge grin spread across his face. “One more time.”

With a firm resolution he gripped the bat harder, tossed the ball up, and for the third time, swung the bat – and completely missed the ball.

His father’s heart was breaking for his son when the little boy turned and excitedly pronounced, “Do you see what I mean?! I am a great pitcher! Unhittable!”

Sadly, rather than focusing on what we are good at and enjoying life, we tend to focus on our own weaknesses and shortcomings and that tends to drag us down. Choose to focus on your strengths and figure out how to do “those things” more often.

Conquering the Obstacles

Like so many other fathers on this little spinning ball in space, I suffer from a syndrome that has plagued man for centuries…my daughter has me wrapped around her little finger. When I look at her I see perfection – pure, unblemished perfection. Now, as her father, I realize that I am probably the only one who can see her through such unbiased and objective eyes so if others fail to see it, I can simply write them off as ignorant buffoons.

And, as my daughter’s 10th birthday approached, she inevitably desired that one gift that made all other gifts pale by comparison…a horse. Well, as you would guess, while I love her more than life itself, I do not have that tree (I have tried to plant it many times but it just won’t grow money). And, as you would also guess, she looked up at me with those sad, big blue eyes and, by golly, Daddy bought her a horse.

Her name was Yoo Hoo (the horse not my daughter) and it was love at first sight. Lindsey wanted to be a show jumper (this is where she competes in a huge arena filled with people and jumps over large walls, fences, and other obstructions that frightened her father to no end).

We got Lindsey an amazing trainer to help her learn how to compete in this sport (honestly, all I knew about horses was which end the food went in and which end it came out and to stay away from both ends). I was more than a little worried when “my baby” climbed up upon this 700 lb “wild beast”.

They trained for months with Lindsey progressing rapidly in her learning. She was a natural. Then one day her trainer, Jason, proclaimed her ready to compete and signed her up for a huge show. We had one week to get ready. Jason informed us that the week before a show was critical and that he wanted to work with Lindsey every afternoon with her completely dressed in her “competition outfit”.

We arrived for the first pre-competition practice and Yoo Hoo was nowhere to be seen. Jason said Yoo Hoo was ready but Lindsey was not. He proceeded to sit her on top of the fence that surrounded the riding area at the stable and they rode the course over and over in Lindsey’s mind. Jason taught her that she had to “see” herself succeeding, that she had to visualize herself flawlessly running the course: elbows in, thumbs up, heels down, change leads, lean into the jump. Time and time again they ran the course in Lindsey’s head.

The following Saturday I watched my girl win her first blue ribbon and learn a lifelong lesson on the importance and the power of vision. Rather than focus on the obstacles in the course she focused on getting over them. A good lesson for all of us as we face the obstacles in our course of life.


The longer I live the more I see the negative impact that mediocrity can have in virtually any situation. From a mediocre project team member pulling the team down, to a mediocre waiter ruining a nice dinner out, to a mediocre parent unwilling to say or do the hard things that good parenting sometimes requires… mediocrity, at its core, is really something most of us would like to avoid.

For those who truly aspire to do great things, beware of the mediocre in your midst. You see mediocrity recognizes greatness… resents it… and seeks to pull it down. Rather than rejoice with or emulate greatness, when the mediocre encounter it, they want to destroy it. You see, true greatness makes the mediocre feel “less than” and rather than work harder to become better, the mediocre would rather you become mediocre too.

It could be the athlete who tells his teammates to slow down during pre-season wind sprints, or the teacher who tells her colleague to stop using so much technology in the classroom, or even the sales rep who belittles a coworker for staying late, the bottom line is they do not want to work harder to get better and they don’t like that you do.

Watch out for the cynics too. Cynical people are sometimes nothing more than mediocrity with a bad attitude (which they try and mask by cutting everything else down). You can almost hear them rolling their eyes as they talk. Cynicism is cancer of the attitude and you do not need to hang out with it. You deserve better.