17 inches

Monday Morning Wake Up Call:

Your Motivation, Inspiration, & Direction for the Week Ahead

17 inches

In 1996 4,000 baseball coaches gathered to hear Coach Scolinos speak. After 50 years of coaching, at age 78, he had just retired. When he walked on stage, he had a string around his neck from which a home plate hung. A full-sized, stark-white home plate.  He said: “You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing a home plate around my neck! I may be old, but I’m not crazy.  The reason I stand before you today is to share what I’ve learned in my life, and what I’ve learned about the home plate in my 78 years.”

Scolinos asked, “Do you know how wide home plate is?” After a pause, someone said “Seventeen inches?”.  “That’s right,” he said. “From the days of Babe Ruth, In Little League, minor leagues and the major leagues, it’s always been 17 inches. SEV-EN-TEEN INCHES!” he confirmed, his voice bellowing off the walls. “And what do they do with a Big-League pitcher who can’t throw the ball over seventeen inches?”  Pause. “They send him to Pocatello!” he hollered, drawing raucous laughter. “What they don’t do is this: they don’t say, ‘Ah, that’s okay, Jimmy.  If you can’t hit a seventeen-inch target?  We’ll make it eighteen inches or nineteen inches.  We’ll make it twenty inches so you have a better chance of hitting it.  If you can’t hit that, let us know so we can make it wider still, say twenty-five inches.’”

“Coaches… what do we do when your best player shows up late to practice? Or when our team rules forbid facial hair and a guy shows up unshaven?  What if he gets caught drinking?  Do we hold him accountable?  Or do we change the rules to fit him?  Do we widen home plate? ”

“And it’s not just in sports.  With our marriages, with the way we parent our kids.  Our jobs. Appointed officials. It’s everywhere. We don’t teach accountability to our kids, and there is no consequence for failing to meet standards.  We just widen the plate!”

“If I am lucky,” Coach Scolinos concluded, “you will remember one thing from this old coach today.  It is this: If we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard of what we know to be right; if we fail to hold our spouses and our children to the same standards; if we are unwilling or unable to provide a consequence when they do not meet the standard; and if our schools and churches and government fail to hold themselves accountable to those they serve, there is but one thing to look forward to… With that, he held home plate in front of his chest, turned it around, and revealed its dark black backside. We have dark days ahead!”

Coach Scolinos died in 2009 at the age of 91, but not before touching the lives of hundreds of players and coaches.

Something to Think About:

His message was clear: “Coaches, keep your players—no matter how good they are—your own children, your churches, your government, and most of all, keep yourself at seventeen inches.” Is there an area of your life, where you have widened the plate? If so, consider setting your standards high and raising the bar for yourself and those around you!

Weekly Challenge:

It’s that time!  Summer is winding down, so now is the time to start reaching out to your sphere of influence to see who has a real estate question or need. Talk to 25 people this week and send out one marketing piece to everyone in your book of business.

Words of Wisdom:

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Steve Jobs

Don’t lower your expectations to meet your performance. Raise your level of performance to meet your expectations. Expect the best of yourself, and then do what is necessary to make it a reality. Ralph Marston

We can each define ambition and progress for ourselves. The goal is to work toward the world where expectations are not set by the stereotypes that hold us back, but by our personal passion, talents, and interests. Sheryl Sandberg

The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves. Ray Kroc

You have competition every day because you set such high standards for yourself that you have to go out every day and live up to that. Michael Jordan

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