Focus on the Job at Hand
‘Karen and Jay share thoughts on how ‘winning the inning’ can be a powerful approach to success.’
Small victories – one right after another – add up to success over the long run. It’s easy to get distracted, worrying about the future, the enormity of the challenge. But, if you’ll take things one day at a time, biting off manageable chunks, you’ll be surprised. One day you’ll look back and wonder ‘how in the world did I accomplish all that?’
This past week, the World Series between the Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies began. And while sadly, my beloved Red Sox didn’t make the cut this year, there’s something still truly magical about watching fall baseball even if your team isn’t in the hunt. It almost feels like the energy in the stadiums becomes electric, a far cry from a mid-season game when the end of the 162-game season feels light years away. People come alive and you might even find yourself pulling for one of the teams!
While watching some of the pregame coverage, a reporter asked several of the players about how they navigate the pressure and stress that comes with being on the biggest stage in baseball in order to win. With all eyes on them, not only from their respective cities but from around the world, these games most definitely feel different for the players and coaches. But the response from the players from both teams was almost unanimous: we focus on the game one pitch at a time, one at bat at a time, one inning at a time. Whether it’s the beginning of the game, whether they’re winning, or whether they’re losing, they focus on what they can control in the moment. It’s similar to the process Nick Saban teaches his student athletes at the University of Alabama to think about the task at hand.
That this philosophy is employed by individuals who are the best at what they do is perhaps a testament to how it can be applied beyond sports and in our own lives. I’m reminded of a friend whose dream it was to write an award-winning screenplay, but at first all she could think about were the accolades, not what she needed to do in order to actually see it completed. Sure enough, she began to feel defeated by the process of writing her script, that she wasn’t cut out for it, that her work wasn’t good enough. For almost a year the script remained incomplete. The reality was, she wasn’t focused on what she could accomplish in the moment, but instead on what she wanted to accomplish in the future. However, one day, she decided to give it a second shot. Little by little, one page became ten, a scene became an act, and then finally, her three acts became a final script. She realized all along that she could in fact write her screenplay, but she needed to focus on each word, phrase, and page before she could even dream about seeing it to completion. After a few rounds of edits, she sent her script off to some contacts and it was eventually purchased by a major studio. She’s now living her dream of being a screenwriter.
You’ll often find in life that when we take a step back, live in the present, and put our best effort forward with what we have right in front of us, over time, we’ll reap the rewards. Yes, we’ll encounter setbacks and have to readjust. But when we give ourselves a goal, and focus on what is required to get there, step by step, with a little hard work and determination, you’ll be more than happy in the end that you took the time to go ‘pitch by pitch,’ ‘inning by inning!’
NH Baseball – Winning the Inning Throughout the Granite State
At this time of year, with the World Series in full swing, it’s a great time to take a look at just how pervasive the sport is, especially here in the Granite State. As you might guess, New Hampshire has a long history with baseball and has produced many major league players over the last 143 years. For example, the first major league baseball player from New Hampshire was Bill Hawes from Nashua, who made his debut in 1879 for the Boston Red Caps. Currently, there are two active players from NH: Murphy Smith for the Toronto Blue Jays and Ian Hamilton for the Cleveland Guardians.
On the minor league side, of course, we have our Fisher Cats, who give us a glimpse of those up-and-coming stars. They play at the beautiful and family friendly Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester. The stadium is slated for more renovations over the winter to make it even more accommodating and fun!
New Hampshire also loves the game just for the ‘love of the game.’ For instance, Concord has the oldest after-supper amateur baseball league in the nation. Founded in 1909, the Concord Sunset League is still in existence and holds games every summer at White Park. They used to play against other teams who had some really interesting names like the Haymakers, the Old Timers, the Sluggers, and the White Parks.
Other leagues in New Hampshire include the Granite State Baseball League, which is a league consisting of former high school, college, and minor league players, who, as they put it, “still have the love of baseball in their veins.” The league was founded in 1992 and has eleven teams. There is also the New Hampshire Baseball League, which exclusively uses wooden bats for their games and has eight teams.
Baseball is certainly alive and well in the Granite State, and when you get the chance, be sure to go out and “root, root, root for the home team!” Which of course is from the unofficial anthem of North American baseball - “Take Me Out to the Ball Game!” For fun. Google it and check out the rest of the words to the song which was written way back in 1908.
Politics and Eggs – A New Hampshire Tradition
‘Politics and Eggs’ is a pretty catchy phrase and it’s also the name of one of New Hampshire’s most influential political forums. Sponsored by the New England Council and hosted by Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire (it’s actually in Goffstown, located next to Manchester), Politics and Eggs was founded in 1995 to give New Hampshire citizens the opportunity to meet and hear from major political figures, journalists and others from around the country – especially Presidential candidates.
In fact, the forum has taken the spirit of New Hampshire’s First in the Nation Primary to heart by creating one of the newer traditions and ‘must-do’s’ for those with White House ambitions. Starting in 2006, the College puts on hour-long meet and greets with all the candidates from across the country vying to become our next President. These are traditionally held in the morning, hence the name “Politics and Eggs”. This is done in conjunction with the New England Council.
If you haven’t been to Saint Anselm’s Institute of Politics, it’s definitely worth a visit. There is an entire building equipped for politicking in the Granite State. With a high-end video studio and a large space, the College has been put on the map through creative thinking and embracing the political identity of the state. Candidates love to kick off their mornings with Politics and Eggs because it is a low-stress no-pressure environment where they get to test their stump speech out before hitting the trail for the rest of the day. They must however sign the egg!
The Institute produces wooden replicas of the eggs and has the campaign cycle printed on it. These have become a collector's item of sorts and are proudly displayed at the Institute's political museum. Oh, and one final note, the eggs at Politics and Eggs are truly phenomenal!
Positive Profile of the Week: Lucy Lange
The main theme with this week’s Sunshine Report is the idea of working towards a goal and achieving things one-step-at-a-time. This week’s profile truly highlights a person who exemplifies this approach and someone I am blessed to call a friend, Lucy Lange of Bedford.
Lucy is a Buffalo native who has been making a difference in the Granite State for nearly three decades. Today, Lucy is leading the team at the Manchester Radio Group located in downtown Manchester. Under her leadership she has brought back to life local news and programming via the launching of a morning program on WFEA featuring local news icon Drew Cline. This concept has seen record growth and created new opportunities for businesses and nonprofits to share their stories while educating the listeners on the latest issues facing our communities. Lucy was determined to make this happen since the moment she took the reins at Manchester Radio Group and through her leadership and consistent efforts – ‘step by step,’ she and her dedicated team are truly ‘winning the inning’ each and every day. But it's not just Lucy’s passion for communication that makes her a powerhouse in the community, it's her heart.
It's rare that you go to an event in the greater Manchester area and not see Lucy. She has always been stepping up and helping those who ask. Lucy doesn't know the word “No” when it comes to community giving and support. I am incredibly honored to have her support in a number of our charitable causes as are so many others in our community. She has been a steadfast supporter of the efforts we are doing here in New Hampshire for Children of Fallen Patriots. Lucy serves on the Board of Easterseals, is a member of the American Legion Women’s Auxiliary and has helped allocate scholarships for college students via her leadership positions on the New Hampshire Association of Broadcasters.
If you are fortunate to know Lucy, then you know her smile lights up a room and her energy to make a difference is truly inspiring. You know her as a leader who is making a difference every day. For those who don’t know Lucy, I encourage you to seek her out. She’s dependable, reliable, and a guiding hand to many. She is winning the inning for New Hampshire by her actions, passion, and spirit! Thank you for all you do Lucy.
Quotes of the Week: The Work at Hand
“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun's rays do not burn until brought to a focus.”
Alexander Graham Bell
“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”
“What sets disciplined people apart? - The capacity to get past distractions. Focus on the task at hand.”
“Success in anything is about focus and concentration. When I coached, I'd say to the players, 'Yes, I know you played hard, but that's not good enough. You've got to stay focused on the task at hand the entire game.”
To be in flow means to be totally absorbed in whatever one is doing at the moment. It occurs when one is fully present and completely focused on the task at hand...Flow can occur during any human activity, whether work or at play.