A Baseball Afternoon

Detroit_TigersLet me start by saying I don’t believe in competition.

Sure it exists, but I actually believe there is enough business to go around and what someone else does will not prevent me from succeeding.

With that in mind, I spent yesterday afternoon with friend and PR colleague Jason Brown at the Tigers game because he invited me. That’s all. We were trying to make plans to meet up and catch up and he said, “I have two tickets to the baseball game – want to join me?”

And so we spent the afternoon in the bright sun (I have the farmers tan to prove it), talking, eating hot dogs, and commiserating over work, life and storytelling.

It was one of the most fun afternoons I’ve spent in a while. And it was profoundly important.

Jason is someone I trust. I admire him, too. He’s good at what he does and works with a high level of integrity. I feel comfortable saying all this even though he is probably my most direct competitor because I know there is enough work for all of us and because I know he has my back.

It’s a funny thing to say in our economy. Most people wouldn’t heap compliments on their competition. But I’m secure enough in my work and in my track record to say it and mean it.

I haven’t been much of a baseball fan, but Jason pointed out the nuances of the game – like the fact that the Houston Astros were so highly ranked that a win by our home team was a really big deal. And a particular Houston player who is the shortest guy in the league, but mighty. (Sorry J – I can’t remember his name!)

From his seats, I could see the whole field – and watch the details of a game I actually found interesting. (Which makes my baseball-loving husband so happy.)

By the time I had to leave, bottom of the 8th, the Tigers were up by one and Jason was convinced it would be over in a flash. As I drove north to pick up my kids, he texted me, “5-5 in the 10th inning :(”

The details can change in a flash of light. One highly-ranked team rallying for the win, one home team rallying to stay ahead and come out on top.

"Are you listening" written on blackboardWe chatted all afternoon about clients and projects, others in our field and strategies, our dream work and our real work. We talked about family and relationships, personal and professional, and I came away feeling like he was a little more of a true friend than before the day began.

The thing that makes a person successful in business is taking the time to listen. Taking the time to get to know your clients, your colleagues, the work in front of you.

Taking the time.

Nothing good or lasting happens overnight. The work we do – all of us, no matter our industry – is about hearing another person’s pain and finding a way to resolve it.

Listening to another person’s dreams and finding a way to make them come true.

Listening to the frailty and humanity in everyone around us and realizing we are all in this together.

Thanks, J, for a great afternoon. And for being a great friend.

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