My family and I just returned from San Antonio, Texas, where our annual Tool Fair was held. As always, I regretted not having enough time to converse with distributors from across the country. I always enjoy listening and sharing thoughts on our business. In my opinion, some of those conversations are worth the expense alone.
One of my talks with a fellow distributor slipped into our involvement with coaching kids and what you see if you really watch. We laughed as we took turns sharing the names of kids that stood out and their moments of achievement. Our session brought us back around to business and how what we witnessed could be used with distributors as a training piece.
There were obviously many kids on the team, but three stood out due to demonstrated qualities that you won’t find on any roadside placard.
“OK, Luke you take first base,” and off he would go with a smile. “Luke: right field,” and off he would go with a smile. “Luke: shortstop,” and again off with a smile. OK, so when he stayed on the bench he didn’t smile as much, but when he was given a position — off he went at warp speed with a smile.
At times the other coach and I would walk over to one another to comment and chuckle at the excitement that would pour out of him.
“If only that could be harnessed,” we would say. His joy just to be in the game would overcome any lack of ability.
The next kid was the exact opposite — showing no emotion and seeming to just go through the motion with little belief from within.
After he was given a position, he would half-heartedly jog out on the field and wait for a play to come to him. At bat, he would stand and watch each ball come over the plate with the occasional late swing. He would leave the plate discouraged and at times shedding a tear. In the batting cage, we worked on proper stance, timing the pitch and never taking the eye off the ball. After time in the cage, we saw a different boy step up to the plate who began to hit doubles and even a triple.
In the field, performance was less than average, so we worked on a few things including looking ahead and visualizing making a play like the pros would do it. A few games later he made a catch over second base that involved jumping straight up and reaching as far as he could. To watch as Zack came down with the ball and explode with excitement when he noticed the ball in his glove showed he was no longer going through the motions.
Our big hitter was known for touching and clearing the fence, but only in practice. At game time, going up against different pitchers, he seemed to only get doubles or base hits (and more than a couple of strike outs).
We talked about not trying so hard to put it out of the park every time when simple base hits or doubles would earn runs as well. Thinking that he would change his style would be disproved at the next game, as we would watch him swing the bat with all his might.
In a playoff game, he had already struck out once and we were down. I told him, “Bases are loaded; we need base hits.” He nodded and took the plate. The first pitch came in and I could see by his stance nothing had changed. Logan swung with all his might and sent the ball out of the park and over the first row of vehicles for a grand slam!
Every day there is something we can learn from the people around us, whether it’s not complaining and just being excited to get in the game; learning new lessons and being determined to succeed; or keeping up dogged determination despite the possible risk of failure.
Don’t wait for your annual tool fair or regular meetings to find inspiration for what you do — look at what’s going on around you every day for new lessons.
Joe Poulin is a mobile tool distributor based in Gray, Maine, for Mac Tools. Send any comments or feedback you have for Joe by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.