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How absence can be valuable

I love baseball. I started playing just before I turned 48 after an epiphany of “if not now, when?” But as much as I adore playing the game, it secretly torments me.

Because even after three seasons of playing and winning two grand finals, I’m still a novice and have to put in a lot of hard work and effort to keep playing and improving.

Although baseball is a physical sport, it’s a game of mental fortitude. It’s a yo-yo of highs and lows that are both riveting and frustrating.

One minute you’re flying high from a safe hit that gets you to base, followed closely by getting struck out, feeling disappointed, and being mortified about letting the team down.

On top of this, the game day nerves kick in big time every Saturday morning from when I wake up until around 3pm when it’s game over. They’re as overpowering as if I was about to do a keynote presentation to an audience of thousands.

I’m not a fan of playing (or training) in the freezing cold and being soaking wet, which is a given since I live in Melbourne. Afterall I’m not trying to make it to the big league, so these conditions don’t make the game fun.

This season we’ve got a new coach I’ve not yet met as we are part of a new club that previously did not have a women’s team. This also means we have a new training venue, clubhouse, and home ground to adapt to.

And to top it off, I’m a few weeks away from turning 51. I battelled many injuries last season due to my mind and my body not being on the same page. Mentally I feel like I’m still in my twenties and push myself accordingly (my mind has a different opinion). My physio is happy as it keeps him in a job.

I get that the ups and downs, the physical challenge, and the mental anguish are part of the gig, so I question why I put myself through it.

It’s not compulsory. It’s a choice. Why do I choose it?

Because the alternative is to give it away. Not to play.

In their brilliant book, The Gap and the Gain, Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy refer to the concept developed by psychologists called ‘mental subtraction’.

It’s where, rather than reflecting on a past positive event or important person in your life, imagine if that event never happened or that person never existed.

How would you feel?  How would it impact the decisions you make today?

So I’ve been reflecting on how I would feel if I took playing baseball out of my life. If I never played again? If I called it quits for good (or even for this season).

Would I have regrets? What would I miss?

I’d miss the personal challenge to perform better against my benchmarks and having goals outside work that inspire me to grow.

I’d miss the camaraderie of the women, my teammates, who I adore and may have never met if not for the mutual love of the game.

I’d miss the butterflies playing havoc in my belly each gameday as they vividly remind me that I’m expanding the boundaries of my comfort zone.

I’d miss being part of a team that pulls together to bring each other home week after week.

I’d miss the shared celebrations and commiserations, and I’d miss having the support of a coach believing in me and encouraging me to be my best, no matter what.

I’d miss how happy I feel standing on a baseball diamond.  The smell and feel of the leather glove, the thrill of hitting the ball, the joy of throwing and catching, and the inner joy from playing a game I’d yearned to play since I was young.

And I’d miss the character-building and personal growth that stems from being a beginner learning a new skill.

What should I do?

What would you do if you were me?

While considering what you’d say to me, where do you need to take some of this advice in your own life?

Where are you weighing up something that matters, and how would you feel if you took that option away?

What about something you used to do or enjoy and have stopped doing for whatever reason. Could you bring it back to life? Is it a sport, a hobby or pastime, a business, an event, a way of being, or a special someone?

What is it for you? Or could you use this with your clients?

Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy say mental subtraction “is one of the most effective science-based techniques for boosting gratitude and happiness.”

I guess absence really can make the heart grow fonder.

On that note, do I play or not?

Big cheers, Kim

Ps. If you or your team want a hand to reinstate what previously worked, made you happy, or need new ideas to inspire you, I’d love to help.

We could do it together, just you and me, or we can do it collectively with your team. You choose. Email me back if you’re interested in knowing more.

Pps. Because You are Valuable!

How you make people feel, when you do what do, is your competitive advantage.

Bernard Marr, a world-renowned futurist, wrote about the trends he believes will impact business in 2023. In his article, The 5 Biggest Business Trends In 2023 Everyone Must Get Ready For Now, number four caught my attention, an immersive customer experience.

He believes (and so do I) that people crave experience above all else. He suggests it should be a core part of business strategy. It’s not an afterthought, it’s fundamental for success.

The key is to create an experience that is both immersive and interactive. To get clients deeply and actively involved in your work together.

Is it easy, no. Valuable, for sure!

If you’re stuck for ideas, look at what other businesses in different industries are doing. They are all battling the same challenge… to make the experience of working with you more effortless, engaging, and enjoyable.

To get inspired, check out the two fun podcast episodes below, where I had riveting conversations and shared my thoughts with XY Adviser and The IFA Show on this topic.

The conversations were a hoot and could spark ideas for your business.

Your client experience is your competitive advantage.

Cheers, Kim

Check out these Podcasts for client experience inspiration

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