By Steve Ring

Last week we focused on remembering our purpose. Let’s “dig in” to that a bit more.

I don’t often think about baseball at this time of the year. However, I do notice that this is the time of the year when a number of ball players leave teams and make commitments to new ones. Perhaps because they feel underpaid or don’t feel valued anymore. They are looking for a better situation somewhere else – a greener pasture. Sound familiar?

The very first lesson my Dad taught me about America’s great pastime was to “always keep your eye on the ball.” This simple lesson is a challenging one to consistently execute. My first baseball lesson seems timely and transferable to our challenging jobs and challenging times.

Over the last number of years many of us have been asked to do things in a different way or to do things that are completely new. Others are asked to do things that are not in their current job descriptions. Some are asked to work more or to work less, work from home or come back to the office. Many have been asked to do things that are outside their comfort zones, things they “didn’t sign up for,” or things that are just plain hard. It is easy to get distracted from what is important in normal day to day life and taking our eye off the ball during overwhelming times.  However, if we stay focused on “why we do what we do,” we will not get diverted by challenges and frustrations, but rather keep our eye on our service to others.

When a hitter steps into the batter’s box, many distractions are in play: noise from the crowd, infield shifts, chatter from the catcher, and the pitcher throwing multiple pitches at different speeds and different angles. These challenges tempt players to lose focus on their purpose – hitting the ball into play and out of reach of the fielders.

Life’s distractions will never go away. However, when we stay focused and keep our eye on the ball, we are controlling what we can control and lessening those outside influences.

During a recent meeting, my team spent a majority of the time discussing constant EMR (Electronic Medical Records) process changes, lower payer reimbursements with sky rocking expenses resulting in financial challenges, frustrations with supply chain shortages, a striking increase in multiple illnesses of our patient population and not enough providers and time to address all their healthcare needs. Feeling overwhelmed, I posed one question to the group: “How do we want to best serve our patients?” 

Although every challenge was real, it was obvious that we had taken our eye off the ball. With that one question, the focus of the team immediately changed from being consumed by all of the frustrations and challenges to concentrating on our values and our purpose to selflessly serve others together to the best of our abilities regardless of the challenges.

Keeping our eye on the ball in life and at work today means not thinking of how we can be served, but how we can best serve others. Our number one job should be to help others succeed by serving our patients, our teams, our leaders, our students, our communities, our families. In whatever vocation we choose, I wholeheartedly believe we are called to give our time, talents, and hearts to those in need and to those who could benefit from our passion and compassion.

I’ve often heard it said that one of the hardest things to do in sports is to hit a baseball. Life is hard work. Our jobs or our careers are hard work. Caring for people is hard. Servant leadership is hard. Staying focused, disciplined, patient, compassionate, resolute, and keeping our eye on the ball is hard. But by our own free will, we commit ourselves to selflessly serving those in need. Doing hard is what we do.

To quote my favorite Jimmy Dugan line from the baseball movie A League of Their Own

To my friends at Top 20, thank you for fanning the flame of humility in my mind, in my heart, and in my soul. That selfless passion and focus has helped me keep my eye on my purpose and my ballfield green.

You remind me of just how great of an impact we can all make in this world each and every day, with every person we are blessed to serve.

-Steve Ring

From our hard-working team…Willow, Kevin, and Tom.

Paul Bernabei, Director
Top 20 Training