How to Find Best Career Advice? Play Ball, Not Small

The coach of high school baseball team became so frustrated with the fielding performance of his error-prone first basemen that he decided to devote the next day of practice to demonstrate firsthand the fundamentals of how the position should be played.

At the outset of this “hands-on” training session, the first ball hit towards the coach took a bad hop and clobbered him in the chest. The coach’s next opportunity to “shine” came in form of a high pop fly hit just outside of the first base line. Lost in the bright sun, the ball glanced off the heel of his glove and hit him squarely in the forehead. Later an errant throw from the shortstop forced the coach to stretch so far to catch the ball that he tore the seat of his pants. Exasperated, the coach turned to his pupil handed him the glove and shouted, “You’ve got this position so messed up, even I can’t do anything with it.”

What does baseball have to do with finding your dream job or loving the job you already have, you ask? When clients turn to me to find best career advice,  many are much like the short-sighted coach and his negatively-influenced first basemen, they possess erroneous assumptions and beliefs about that particular field that limits them from understanding why they are so drawn to a certain type of job and, ultimately, their capacity to enjoy it.


In my own coaching experience, I had client who came to me to find best career advice. She wanted to become a Field Biologist, but the moment we started talking about how to pursue his dream, a very negative image manifested itself causing him to balk about actually following through with it. He said, “They spend over 90% of their time in the lab working long hours alone and almost every biologist I know will tell you that they simply do not enjoy their work.”

“Playing small is an easy way out,” I replied. “It is convenient, safe, and comfortable. Most of us live our lives in an average manner in order to preserve the status quo. Average has become the norm because over 90% of the people around us live this way. They just don’t think that there is anything more. They don’t even think to dream big, let alone act on it. The blinders they’ve had on for so many years so distort their vision of the future that they believe their position in life is all there is and the only thing to do is just accept it. They’re not stifling their dreams; they don’t even realize they can dream.”

The key error in my client’s limited analysis is that there are plenty of field biologists who actually love the work that they do. Here are five simple tips to help you avoid playing “small ball” and how to get to “first base” in finding the career you are truly passionate about:

1. Reflect on times when you have wholeheartedly embraced the possibility of greatness.

Think back over life to times when you’ve felt yourself unquestionably embrace greatness and follow your passions. What did that feel like? What did you think? What did you do? What happened because of your actions? How can you recreate that experience in your life now?

2. Live Each Day Without Limitations

Each and every day make sure you do something to put yourself in a mindset that is not limiting. Make yourself your “self-care” and your deepest passions a priority. Do one new thing each day. Have new experiences, open your mind to new possibilities and begin to do things “out of the box.”

3. Reinforce Greatness By Slaying The “Energy Vampires”

Having negative energies in our lives can easily bring us down and encourage further negativity in us. We have all encountered “energy vampires” in workplace, social and, worst of all, family environments that are filled with emotionally draining energy that we literally have to force ourselves to go back again. Take notice of these people and places and replace them with positive energy resources as much as possible. Talk to uplifting people, read inspiring literature and post inspiring quotes throughout your home or office. Paint a room, get new furniture, buy a new wardrobe. Do whatever it takes to surround yourself with as many positives attributes as you can and watch your life open up.

4. Maintain A Strong Sense Of Who You Are

What are your likes and dislikes? What do you really feel at this moment? What is your opinion on world politics, religion, art or philosophy? Do you simply pick up the opinion of the moment or only the popular things? Or do you truly know your innermost self and who you are? Make time to reflect and get to know yourself. Sort out your feelings from those of everyone around you. Explore your needs and wants. Having a good sense of who you are will encourage you to expand your life and yourself.

5. Take Notice Each Day Of What You Truly Enjoy

Take some time each day to tune into your inner voice. Listen to what resonates with you and what you truly enjoy. What excites you most about your potential dream job or the job you already have? Make it a morning or evening ritual to take 15 minutes to have some personal quiet time and really take stock of what turns your inner light on.

By learning and applying these techniques on a regular basis your awareness of when you’re playing “small ball” will greatly increase, empowering you to refocus on the total greatness that’s within your grasp. Remember, you will become as small as your controlling desire and only as great as your most dominant aspiration.

What did premiere athletes like Mickey Mantle, Michael Jordan and Joe Montana all have in common? Answer: they all benefited from the knowledge of a great coach.