Field of Dreams

Life Lessons From The Field of Dreams

Most people have seen the film Field of Dreams where Ray Kinsella hears a voice in his Iowa cornfield who whispers, “If you build it, he will come”. So the farmer plows his crop and to build a baseball field.

Everyone thinks Ray is crazy—especially when nothing happens after he builds the field. Then Shoeless Joe Jackson, a long dead baseball player appears and soon brings other baseball ghosts to play on this beautiful ball field built on a farm.

The problem is only Ray and his wife and daughter can see the players. The family is also about to lose the farm to creditors and they are being pressured to sell. Lastly, Ray goes on a road trip find a reclusive writer and bring him back from Boston.

So what can we learn?

ONE: Sometimes we have to take a leap of faith and believe things will work out, even when others don’t get it. In the end, things do work out for Ray and his family.

TWO: When we are driven by purpose (like Ray was) you don’t give up when times get tough or people slam doors in your face—like Terrance Mann did to Ray.

In the film Ray asks one time, “What’s in it for me?” But, he really did what he did without knowing (or caring) how he would benefit.

Failure, hard work, persistence, purpose, passion, selflessness, and hope are qualities Ray displays in the film. It is these same traits that can lead us to beat the odds and build our own “field of dreams” (whatever they may be).

Lee Silber is the award winning author of 24 books, a popular presenter, and a baseball fanatic and coach. leesilber@leesilber.com

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Field of Dreams

Don’t Major in the Minors

In baseball, consistently hitting singles can lead to a nice career. However, hit a ton of home runs and you are a superstar. It’s the same in life.

If all we do is complete the urgent and easy tasks each day, we’ll do fine. If instead we take a swing at the big things (we know what they are because they scare us) we can achieve greatness because so few try for fear of striking out.

Years ago my Service Core of Retired Executives advisor told me that I had already mastered writing local books (singles) and that it was time to write something with national appeal (home runs). He was right, and I hit the first book out of the park with Random House.

Is your things-to-do list full of easy tasks that take up all of your time? What is the thing that most scares you to do–you’ll know what it is because you have probably been putting it off. My advice, step up to the plate and swing for the fences.

Don’t Major in the Minors

Beyond Baseball

Since I coach baseball, football, and basketball, youth sports has been a year-round thing for the past few years. Right now I am on a break and with time to reflect, I’d like to share what I’ve learned from coaching that could help you, too.

Think Long-Term. Last football season we were undefeated and many games we could have potentially won 40-0. Instead, as a coach I emptied the bench, called conservative plays, and even had the kids take a knee at the opposition’s goal line instead of scoring. Teaching good sportsmanship was part of it. The other part was we will likely face these same coaches again next year and there is no need to make an enemy by running up the score. Don’t step on others to get ahead and don’t burn any bridges in business, either.

Know What You Don’t Know. This year we won the championship because I was smart enough to let my coaches coach. I teamed up with a former minor league manager and although I ran the team, I listened and learned as he instructed the players. Instead of being intimidated by the experience and expertise of another coach, I embraced it. To the coach’s credit, he was respectful of me as the manager and would make in-game suggestions (which I listened to) that made me look like a genius. Find someone better than you at what you do and be willing to look and feel inferior in order to learn and grow.

Focus on the Positive. I find it’s better to point out when a player does something right and give them a compliment as something to strive for instead of always telling them what they did wrong. “I like the way you fouled off those tough pitches, kid.” (Even if the player eventually struck out.) And, “You’re a good two-strike hitter. I know that next time you’ll get a hit.” I also like to say to a player what I want instead of what I don’t want. For example, I will say, “Throw strikes,” instead of, “Don’t walk this bottom-of-the-order hitter.”

Beyond Baseball

For The Love of the Game

I was watching a video of bassist Abraham Laboriel accepting a lifetime achievement award and he explained his success and longevity was a result of his love of playing.

I love being on a stage as a speaker. I just wish I could do it more. I’ve attached a list of my latest topics (I have 52 total) in case you know of an association, organization, or group that needs a speaker.

Just let me know who they are and I will do the rest. Thank you so much for your help.

Positive-Lee Great Topics

For The Love of the Game

Win The Day

Be Better

Are you a competitive person? Most people answer, “Yes” to that question. Let’s use that competitiveness and combine it with compound improvement. If we win on the small things, it can add up to big improvements over time. Here’s some examples.

Win your things-to-do list. (More things are checked off than left unchecked.)

Win in prime time. (You do your most important work when you are most energized.)

Win your choices. (You choose to exercise, eat right, or learn something new.)

Win with extra effort. (You do one more thing when you think you’ve done it all already.)

Win the day. (You know you made the most of every moment.)

Win The Day

Plant Ahead

Plant in the spring for a fall harvest. This means we start laying the groundwork now for what we want to see come to fruition later in the year. Sure, we all want immediate gratification, but many things take time to develop and need to be started months ahead. These are not urgent things, but important.

What do you want in the fall? Now work backward to figure out what you need to do today to make it happen. For example, I am working on my 25th book. Nobody (unfortunately) is waiting for me to finish it, but I want it to come out in the fall. That means I have to begin working on it now.

Plant Ahead

Enjoy The Joy

Last week I received a standing ovation at the conclusion of my speech. It was the middle of a great day. 

Earlier that morning I had a blast with the meeting planner–laughing and swapping stories. Then, when it was time to take the stage, the audience was amazing. After my speech there was over a long line of people waiting to tell me how much they enjoyed my presentation. I then hung around and DJ’d the lunch and got a lot of thumbs up for the song selections.

I share this because before and after all these wonderful moments was a bunch of unpleasant memories. I woke up at 4:00 a.m. to catch a 6:00 a.m flight. I then flew for over five hours in a cramped coach seat next to a very big man. My connecting flight was delayed, so I spent hours wandering around the airport. I didn’t get in until late at night and had to wake up at 7:00 a.m. (which was 4:00 a.m) my time.

It was all worth it. Many times we have to wade through the muck to get to the good stuff. It would be easy to dwell on the bad things and take the good for granted. Don’t. Focus on the positives, even if it’s just a small part of your day.

Enjoy The Joy