How are we already in 2023? If you’re like me, you still find yourself using 2022 on documents and checks, even though we’re a full month into the new year. (And since we’re living in the future now, does anyone else even still write checks anymore?)
It feels like the world is changing faster than ever. Maybe it’s technology. Maybe it’s a workplace culture in flux as people try to balance personal and professional expectations. One thing I do know for certain is the importance of taking care of yourself. As the poet T.S. Eliot said, “Every moment is a fresh beginning.” While it’s true, the start of a new year is a pretty great time for renewal as well.
I hesitate to use the word resolution because to me it doesn’t quite fit. I support a more pragmatic practice in goal setting. It’s about looking for growth opportunities and using them to focus on what’s to come. Like the baseball season that will begin training next month for its official open in March.
It’s a perfect example of this specific type of looking ahead. Earlier in my career, I was eager with anticipation by the end of January. Of course, I do still look forward to the start of the new season and the routine it brings. But its beginning brings an end to months of slower-paced togetherness with my family, too. There won’t be a pause in the six or seven game-per-week schedule until the All Star Break in July.
During the pandemic, Kansas City Royals games were very different. Like so many, I worked remotely, whether from my home or to an empty Kauffman Stadium when the team was traveling. I loved the flexibility and newfound time in my day, even though being face-to-face with players is the best way to build trust, credibility and a deeper understanding of their personal stories. Last season brought a new kind of excitement as baseball returned to normalcy, including traveling with the team. What I didn’t anticipate was how difficult it would be to balance baseball, a podcast and a growing speaking business.
The challenge of the transition became an opportunity to focus and set another goal. This time, it was to pace myself so I had the energy that baseball demands. I learned in 2009, my sophomore season with the Kansas City Royals, that second to family, on-air energy is the most essential element of what I do. That will only be achievable if I treat the season like the marathon that it is. Add in twice weekly podcasts with speaking engagements across the country and we arrive at yet another goal of mine: Teamwork, trust and delegation.
Like the quote said, new beginnings happen every moment. But just because I am constantly finding new goals or ways to improve doesn’t mean you have to. Be realistic about where you are in life and proceed accordingly. Learn from others, and tweak what works for them into something that works for you. And when life inevitably happens, give yourself grace. Perfection is idealistic, but not always realistic, inside and Out of the Park.
Spring Training begins next month and the February newsletter will see the return of the Stadium Standout portion of the newsletter. It will feature some of the fun goings on from behind the scenes at the Kansas City Royals complex in Surprise, Arizona. Until then, stadium trivia will continue.
Last month, the question was this: What is the oldest active American League stadium west of the Mississippi? Here’s a hint: The team’s current color commentator on television has the second most career strikeouts and second most innings pitched in Kansas City Royals history.
The prize was a signed copy of my book Small Ball, Big Results, but unfortunately, nobody guessed correctly. I received several responses for Dodgers Stadium, which is the oldest stadium in Major League Baseball west of the Mississippi, however, it is a National League team. The correct answer was Angels Stadium, where Mark Gubicza is a color commentator.
Like “Gubi,” Zach Greinke pitched for both the Royals and Angels, so it only seems fitting that this month’s trivia question be about him. He is set to return for his 20th season of MLB ball in 2023, and it will be his second year in his second stint with the Royals. He turned 39 years old last fall and has the most career games started – and the most innings pitched – of any active player. Among his 514 career starts, 106 have come from Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, by far the most of any venue in his career.
Here’s this month’s question: The second most start’s Greinke has made in an MLB stadium came at what venue?
Email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org. The first person to send me the correct response will receive a signed copy of my book, Small Ball, Big Results, along with a code for the just-released Audible version.
Baseball is on hiatus, which means I have more time in my schedule for personal travel.
Earlier this month, I presented a keynote to Firemon in Orlando, Florida. After closing remarks, my wife Susan and I made the trip down to Naples. We visited my broadcast partner Jeff Montgomery and his wife, Tina. We were actually supposed to have visited in October after a different speak, but it was postponed due to damage from Hurricane Ian.
I will escape a Kansas City winter for warmer destinations anytime I’m able, and Naples did not disappoint. One of the highlights was the seafood at The Little Bar, a delicious, waterfront dive in the village of Goodland on Marco Island. Live music, fresh stone crabs and nutcrackers (yes, of the Christmas variety) literally everywhere…need I say more?
As for the beach, it was pure relaxation. Even though it may have been chilly by Florida standards, to us Midwesterners, it was just what we needed to rest and recharge.
Rounding the Bases Rewind
Rounding the Bases is my podcast about leadership and culture. Even though it has a baseball twist, it’s rare that my guests are actual athletes. There is some seasonality to it all, such as the baseball insiders scheduled to join as we get closer to Opening Day. So in January as football playoffs got underway, it made sense to interview a former Chiefs player.
Dustin Colquitt isn’t someone I’m particularly close with, but I have gotten to know the longtime NFL punter from crossing paths. I’m always fascinated by people with unique skillsets and roles that don’t typically receive the superstar treatment. A punter fit that bill perfectly. He had a goal of not just playing professionally, but of becoming a Super Bowl Champion like his father and brother. He succeeded, and what’s more, all three did it as punters.
As expected, the conversation was insightful and entertaining with a rich perspective on leadership. Even as a lower profile player, he was a huge part of the winning team. You can listen to the full interview here.
Don’t miss new episodes released every Monday and Thursday, available wherever you get your podcasts.
Would you or someone you know make a great guest on Rounding the Bases?
Like the Stadium Standout, Dugout Dialogue will return along with the baseball season. This month, I’ve decided to use this section to introduce a new feature that will begin running regularly in the monthly newsletter: monthly chats with Casey Wright, President of Chief of Staff Kansas City.
Casey is also a close personal friend of mine and was incredibly influential when I started my speaking business. Regular podcast listeners will recognize the company as one my sponsorship partners. He also offered some incredible insights as a guest on Season 7 of the podcast. Incase you missed it, you can listen to the episode here.
Chief of Staff’s slogan is “Making Connections that Matter,” but in my experience, it’s much more than that. The team genuinely cares, and always knows the exact state of the job market. For its inaugural series, Casey and I talked about setting goals and expectations, which is as important personally as it is professionally.
Keeping the Score
Every week on my podcast Rounding the Bases I get the opportunity to interview business leaders, athletes and everyone in between. No two experiences are alike, but each conversation tells a significant story and provides an enlightening lesson.
My blog Keeping the Score rounds the bases with a single, double, triple and home run from each guest on the podcast. This month, my guests and I covered the topics of black health equity, success and innovation. Check out all recent releases here.
Upcoming Speaking Engagements
January was a busy speaking month. It’s to be expected, as many companies are starting new fiscal years and setting goals for the organization. I enjoyed speaking with Firemon, Taylor Forge’s leadership team, CrossFirst Bank and Unite Private Network. They are different companies representing a range of industries, but each places a similar value on the importance of culture.
In the case of Firemon, I joined its 2023 All Company Meeting in Orlando where the theme was TEAM. It was a thrill to speak with a global audience about Small Ball and watch the message hit home, so to speak. It really is true that baseball teaches all of the lessons, even for a crowed with many attendees who have never seen a game.
Later this week, I will spend time discussing culture with IBT Solutions, a group I know loves baseball.
For more information on my speaking services or to schedule me for your next event, please contact Charlotte Raybourn.
Do you want an exclusive first look and access to behind the scenes photos you can’t find anywhere else? Sign up today and get Out of the Park delivered right to your inbox.