There are endless lessons to be learned from baseball. And I’ve found that many of them are particularly relevant to the business world. Whether it’s the importance of resilience or the value of each persons role, sport and enterprise seem to exist side by side. In fact, one of the reasons I became a motivational speaker in the first place was to help organizations improve their culture and performance by sharing insights I’ve learned from America’s pastime.
Considering the parallels between business and baseball, it should come as no surprise that former pro athletes who become entrepreneurs are oftentimes incredibly successful. They’re focused, disciplined and refuse to quit when the going gets tough. That grit and tenacity is part of what makes it so much fun to interview athletes on my podcast Rounding the Bases, and one recent interview in particular did not disappoint.
I was joined by two former pro athletes who paved the way for better everything. Retired professional pitcher Kevin Moran and professional hockey player Matt Lombardi consider themselves opposites by most accounts. But after each sustained his own career-ending injury, the former classmates found commonality in the thrill of elite competitions. A lifetime of pushing their bodies to the brink had them in need of a safe, effective remedy to their aches and pains. And so their company beam was born.
The all-natural, pharmaceutical grade and 100% THC-free CBD lifestyle products were the answer they had been searching for. It changed their lives. Now the co-founders are on a mission to empower people from all walks to live happier, healthier lives as well.
SINGLE: The Road to Reunion
Before becoming entrepreneurs, Kevin and Matt were just a couple of Boston College undergrads. As students, they forged a friendship over shared passions for business and sports. Matt graduated and went on the play pro hockey. The same year, Kevin was drafted by the White Sox. Different sports and busy schedules caused them to fall out of touch, until a chance encounter a few years later. Bumping into each other outside of an apartment building made for a fun, impromptu reunion. Learning that they both actually lived there catalyzed the second act of their relationship. This time around, it was a bond fueled by shared passions for health, wellness and doing things that are too hard for most.
DOUBLE: Resilient Recoveries
Elite athletes all posses a handful of qualities that earn them a place in the brotherhood of competitors. There’s self-control, determination, and except for a very rare few, there’s injury. But learning to fight back from recovery is also what builds the very specific type of resilience athletes posses that many non-athletes do not.
“Having a lot of different injuries and things to deal with in professional sports is a good analogy for entrepreneurship and startups,” said Kevin. He had Tommy Johns surgery. He blew out a knee. His rotator cuff tore. And then his labrum did too. The cumulative effects of injury ended his career prematurely. But after each injury, he recovered, made changes and got himself back on the pitching mound. Dealing with so many setbacks was undeniably hard. But it also solidified the resilience and mental toughness needed to keep throwing the heat as a pitcher or business owner.
TRIPLE: Action Oriented
Some entrepreneurs allow analysis paralysis to hold back their decision making, but not these two. “We’ve always done a good job of taking massive action and moving really quick,” said Kevin. Another prior guest, Mark LeBlanc, teaches that done is better than perfect. And taking imperfect action is better that perfect inaction, namely because it gets you results. Explained Matt, “We’ll try stuff, we’ll lean into the stuff that’s working … and probably most importantly, we’ll pivot away from the stuff that’s not.” It’s an attitude that embodies what resilience is all about. It’s also what has helped them build a lineup of five successful product categories.
HOME RUN: A Balanced Team
You don’t have to be business partners to be a team, but you do have to be a team to be business partners. In the case of beam, their shared qualities expressed in different ways seem to be the secret to their success. “The good thing is that we generally meet in the middle,” Kevin said, while explaining how his and Matt’s perspectives influence their decision making. Whether it’s their personal intensity levels or the way each reacts to unexpected challenges, the result is just enough healthy contrast to help them grow. There are even times when they don’t see eye-to-eye. But at the end of the day, both just want to achieve the same thing. “It’s never personal,” Matt explained, “it all comes from love.”
Learn More About Resilience From Joel
Book Joel Goldberg for your next corporate event. He draws on over 25 years of experience as a sports broadcaster. In addition, he brings unique perspectives and lessons learned from some of the world’s most successful organizations. Whatever your profession, Joel is the keynote speaker who can help your team achieve a championship state of mind.