So, let’s get something out of the way right off the bat…ahem.
I’m a Yankees fan; this is not up for debate or discussion, you have your team, I have mine; live and let live and all that jazz.
I am fairly certain I would be a Derek Jeter fan no matter what team he played for, but that he spent his entire career as a Yankee; well it doesn’t get much better than that for this fan girl.
I have watched his last year as a professional baseball player initially with curiosity that then moved into the realm of fascination and awe. If you’re looking for an example of someone who has been a public figure, has been accessible, and yet still manages to draw boundaries between himself and his brand; you could not ask for a better one.
Part of my branding philosophy is that you are your brand…and yet you are also a person deserving of privacy, boundaries, and foibles. Being visible, transparent, and vulnerable while at the same time managing your energy and deciding how much you let people “in” is a tricky business. It’s one of the biggest challenges that many of my clients work through. The thing is, while Derek Jeter almost certainly had days when he, the person, was “off”, his brand was always “on”.
How did he do it? First and foremost, he remained true to himself and his values. Some of my favorite Derek Jeter quotes:
“There may be people that have more talent than you, but there is no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.”
Of course Derek is talented (you don’t get to be a shortstop for the Yankees for 20 years without talent), but his work ethic is legendary. Taking your gifts and honing them into razor sharp brilliance takes time, effort, and dedication. Derek didn’t focus on his weaknesses, he focused on improving and developing his zone of genius.
“You have to be confident, if you’re not confident you might as well go home.”
Confidence is so important to your brand. My bestie Crystal says “If you believe, they’ll believe”…truth baby. Nothing is sexier, more alluring, and more inspiring than confidence. Confidence doesn’t come from arrogance, or being self-grandiose; but rather strength in your abilities, owning who you are, and accepting the gifts that you have been blessed with. Believing in yourself and your ability to get the job done goes a long way.
“When I was younger, I was always taught not to make excuses.”
Excuses are a way of keeping ourselves safe and in our comfort zone. Excuses are a reason for not being you. Excuses are disguised fears that are holding us back from what we really desire in life and work. At any stage of life you can teach yourself not to make excuses. Dr. Wayne Dyer from his book Excuses Begone says, “The minute you feel yourself retreating to excuses, repeat the mantra How May I Serve? and then act upon the answers you receive.
“When you put a lot of hard work into one goal and you achieve it, that’s a really good feeling.”
Goals get a bad rap (mostly because people have not been taught how to set goals properly, but that’s a whole ‘nutha post), but having a vision and breaking it down into goals and objectives that are actionable and relevant to our definition of success. Ain’t no shame in that game baby.
“I have the greatest job in the world. Only one person can have it. You have shortstops on other teams – I’m not knocking other teams, but there’s only one shortstop on the Yankees.”
Other people do what you do, that’s not what is unique. What is unique is that there is only one you who can do what you do. Only one person can have your job…you. No one else has your lens, your perspective, your style, your beliefs, your opinions, and your DNA. Only one person can have what you have; don’t hide it, celebrate it. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing or saying. Run your race the best way you know how.
“You gotta have fun. Regardless of how you look at it, we’re playing a game. It’s a business, it’s our job, but I don’t think you can do it well unless you’re having fun.”
We think we have no right to have fun in our work, but nothing could be further from the truth. Think of much more you are able to give when you’re having fun and enjoying yourself. Fun equals engagement, flow, and joy. Having fun in your work is what keeps you curious, it helps you focus, and attracts your tribe like a magnet. I’m pretty sure Derek has had a whole helluva lotta fun along the way and will continue to on his new journey.
Well played, Mr. Jeter, well played. You are a class act, thank you.