Dedication and the Pursuit of Excellence in the Face of Change!!

I had another reminder last week of the importance dedication, focus, and effort plays in our success.

My Brother-In-Law and his nephew came to stay with us while he attended an invitation-only tryout camp for the Chicago White Sox. Patrick is a Baseball and Glovepretty good shortstop and will be a high school junior next year. He has been a local and regional star for a while now and is well on his way to playing at the next level in two more summers. Patrick is modest, polite, and appears to be well-grounded.

He is also incredibly focused.

The travelling party arrived at our house around 7pm the night before the tryout after over six hours on the road (and after Patrick played a double-header the night before). While Karen and I unpacked, tried to find supper, and unwound from the trip; Patrick and Michael headed out to find a diamond. Two hours later, he had completed his daily routine of stretching, throwing, hitting, and running – more exercise than I had all weekend. Then it was a quick snack and off to bed, only to get up at 6am for a day filled with all the poking, prodding, study, trials, and timings scouts could think of in order to measure talent.

Patrick understands what he wants and is very focused on a specific goal. He put together a plan and routine to reach that goal, and is working everyday with the dedication and effort necessary to improve and make the goal a reality. It was inspiring…and it got me to think about how similar the qualities are for our own success.

Our changing and challenging world requires each of us to make specific choices about where we’re heading with our lives. At one time, it may have been good enough to head off in a direction and ride the winds of life in the general direction we wanted to go. Now, the more specific we can be about what we want (out of life, out of career, out of relationships), the more likely we will be to hit somewhere close to our mark.

That part of the equation has always been true. What has changed are the consequences of not making those decisions. Our economy is losing jobs by the millions. Market losses are causing more people to postpone retirement. People around the world are demanding the same standard of living we enjoy. Opportunities are all around us as societies change to meet the new realities. To not make a clear choice about what we want means that we will miss those opportunities and be left with what’s given to us. That wasn’t a bad alternative a decade ago when the economy was growing. (We all enjoyed that growth and the alternatives it provided.) Now, we must all be ready to retool, remake, and redefine the most important things in our lives, and act!!

Being with Patrick caused me to reflect on my own progress during the past 18 months. On the positive side, I:

  • Improved my relationships with spouse and family;
  • Exponentially expanded my network of friends and acquaintances;
  • Took control of my own career; and
  • Developed new technical skills, including Web 1.0 and 2.0 abilities.

This effort put me in a much better position to face the future and create value for people in my life. It also caused me to realize that there is much more that I need to do in building on those efforts, creating more focus, and re-energizing my dedication to focused goals. That started for me over the weekend.

How are you doing building your future? Could you use a little tune-up, a little more energy, more focus? Use this time of flux and change to improve and become excited about the future. Great things are going to happen! Be ready!!

So what happened to Patrick? The White Sox called last week. He will be in California, playing in their development league. Focus and dedication go a long way!


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