The first time I heard the phrase ‘Do Simple Better’ was from Joe Maddon, then manager of the Chicago Cubs. In a recent email from Ron Reif, our dear friend and Top 20 colleague, I saw how it can be practiced. Ron wrote:

“Had a hard time sleeping last night. The wind was very strong. I love listening to the swaying trees, but it prevented me from dosing off. Not only the sound of the wind, but many other thoughts about 2020 kept me awake. Even when I would dose off, I’d soon wake up tossing and turning. I suspect that our COVID life style coupled with my age had something to do with this. Funny how I had always envisioned “retirement” as a stress-free stage in life. Oh, so wrong. 

We had Emmy, our 3-year-old granddaughter, for an overnight last night and had time for breakfast this morning…pancakes with chocolate chips, grapes, a little bacon and fresh squeezed OJ. Then we went outside. Emmy loves to tri-cycle over to Oakridge Elementary, which is a block away. She rides her tri-cycle about half way and then stops and says, “I want to run.” Off she goes with me trotting behind carrying the trike. I love it that she runs so much, so I don’t mind carrying the trike.”

“When we got to the playground, we had the whole place to ourselves. Bubbling with excitement, Emmy headed for her usual slides and ladders. I found a basketball near the court where one of the baskets had a full rope net which is very uncommon. Usually it is just the rim, which is no fun at all in my book. Picking up the basketball, I was expecting it to be deflated and not worth a hoot. But to my surprise, it was fully inflated. 

It has been eight months since I picked up a basketball and took a shot. Naturally, I have to do this. I dribbled the ball over to the court. It felt soooo good just to dribble that ball. About 10 feet from the hoop, I let it fly. Nothing but net! “OK, Ron, you still got it,” said the little voice on my right shoulder. So, I expanded my range a little bit and fired off a frickin’ brick. And the next seven shots were all frickin’ bricks. “OK, Ron, you ain’t got it,” said the little voice on my left shoulder. 

I put down the ball as Emmy pointed to the softball field next to the playground and said, “I want to run.” And off we went, chasing each other around the bases. 

This morning with Emmy made my day. It gave me perspective. Within the confines of COVID living, I need to be thankful for breakfast, a basketball, and time just being the best grandfather I can be.”

Ron’s story made me appreciate the soreness in my body from two hours of raking and bagging leaves with my grandkids yesterday.

Doing simple better means:

·      Staying in the moment and being present to now.

·      Being mindful of what each experience means.

·      Giving it our best.

So, when we hit the ball this week, let’s experience running hard to first base. Whether we are safe or out, let’s do simple better.

Best wishes from our Top 20 cheerleaders…Tom Cody, Willow Sweeney, and Kevin Brennan.

Paul Bernabei, Director
Top 20 Training