“When he started walking your way you went ‘oh boy’, you didn’t go ‘oh no.’ ”
I am a big baseball fan, but this article is not about baseball although the initial thought to write about this topic came from a recent tragic event from the baseball world.
Jose Fernandez was born in Cuba and grew up in that country until the age of 15 when he and his mother then defected to the United States by taking a raft from Cuba to Mexico, and then eventually making their way to Florida. Jose attended high school in Florida where he developed into a highly touted pitching prospect. He was drafted by the Miami Marlins Major League Baseball franchise in 2011 and quickly worked his way through the Minor Leagues en route to making his Major League debut on April 7, 2013. At the tender age of 21 Jose went on to win the 2013 National League Rookie of the Year award for his outstanding rookie season, in which he posted a 12-6 win-loss record with a 2.19 earned run average (ERA), while notching 187 strikeouts in 172.2 innings pitched.
Jose suffered a setback during his eighth start in the 2014 season as an injury in mid May to his pitching elbow forced him to undergo what’s known as “Tommy John” surgery (named after the first baseball player who had the procedure done on their pitching elbow) to repair his ulnar collateral ligament. The recovery time for Tommy John surgery is generally 12-18 months, and Jose was able to return from the injury to pitch for the Marlins on July 2, 2015. He spent the rest of the 2015 season working on regaining his command and feel for his pitches, but still put up impressive numbers finishing the season with a 6-1 win-loss record, a 2.92 ERA, and recording 79 strikeouts in 64.2 innings pitched.
Completely healed from his elbow injury, Jose was having a breakout season in 2016. Through 29 games pitched Jose had amassed a 16-8 win-loss record with a 2.86 ERA and 253 strikeouts in 182.1 innings pitched. People in the baseball community were talking about Jose being a strong candidate to potentially win the Cy Young award, which is handed out annually to the best pitcher in both the American and National Leagues of Major League Baseball.
In his last start, on September 20th, Jose faced the National League Eastern Division Champion Washington Nationals, limiting them to three hits over eight shutout innings while striking out 12. It was a dominate pitching performance against one of the best teams in baseball. Sadly, it would be the last time Jose would take the field.
In the early morning hours of September 25th, 2016 Jose was killed in a boating accident along with two of his friends. They were heading out into the ocean to get their boat and gear setup in order to be ready to fish at sunrise. Instead, their boat crashed into the outer lip of the north jetty of Government Cut, the man-made channel that leads from the Atlantic Ocean into the Biscayne Bay of Miami, killing all three men.
That was more background information than I intended to offer up, but I thought it would help set the stage for the topic of this article. Jose Fernandez was a very gifted baseball player, and with a highly successful start to his promising young career it was easy for people to look forward to what he might accomplish on the baseball field. But, what made him so special to his teammates, coaches, opponents, and fans was the seemingly constant sense of pure joy that he lived his life with. He was said to have lived his life with a joy that was like that of a child.
Upon hearing of his death Clint Hurdle, Manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, spoke of his relationship with Jose, one that had initially been formed when the two sat next to each other by chance at a baseball awards banquet. Hurdle spoke fondly of Jose, his passion for life, and about always looking forward to seeing him. “When he started walking your way you went ‘oh boy’, you didn’t go ‘oh no.’ ”
That brings me to the main topic of this article. When I heard Clint Hurdle say that quote, the sentiment stuck with me for a couple of days. As I continued to reflect on that quote, I thought that it would be a good topic to unpack and examine further in regards to how it applies to our perspective/approach in life.
Take a minute to reflect on your own life. When people see you walking towards them what do they think to themselves? Do they excitedly think, “oh boy”, as they anticipate a pleasant exchange with you? Or, do their spirits automatically sink a little as they think, “oh no”, in anticipation of a negative exchange?
I do understand that sometimes we need to be tough on people which may lead them to think “oh no”, and in some cases if they react that way it might not necessarily be a bad thing. As a parent, or as a manager in the workplace, sometimes we need to exhibit “tough love” as we lead our children, or colleagues, through a certain difficult phase. Or, maybe our tough love is a way to hold people accountable while maintaining high expectations.
Nonetheless, in contrast to the notion that we must be tough in order to be strong leaders, successful leaders actually motivate others through encouragement, not through intimidation. People generally raise their performance to a higher level when motivated by a reward rather than when trying to avoid a punishment. As such, even if we are in a position where we need to use tough love as one of our leadership tactics, there is still a way to bring that edge to the relationship in a positive manner rather than a negative one.
In the sports world it is often said that good coaches get the best results out of their athletes when the athletes want to perform well not because they are scared of getting yelled at if they don’t do well, but rather because they don’t want to let their coach down - they don’t want to disappoint their coach. That kind of respect for the coach comes from a healthy athlete/coach relationship, one that has been developed over time, and through the coach consistently demonstrating how much he/she cares about their athletes. A popular quote about this concept states that, “they don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
Now that we’ve looked at a possible excuse for thinking that it might be ok for someone to think “oh no” when they see us coming, let us now look at some ways that we can live our lives in a manner that will have people thinking “oh boy” in an excited sense when they see us walking their way.
We all know what it feels like to have our hearts lifted when we see someone we enjoy being with walking our way. People who make us feel this way bring happiness, joy, and laughter to our lives. We look forward to seeing them. Do you have that kind of impact on the people that you come in contact with in your life? For your spouse? For your children? For your colleagues? For a stranger that you happen to cross paths with? What about for yourself?
How do we go about being our best self at all times, and in all company? It is simple; make a conscience effort to live with joy in all that you do. We know what it feels like to see someone walking towards us and thinking to ourselves, “oh no”. We also know what it feels like to see someone walking towards us and thinking, “oh boy”. I encourage you to be a light to others you come into contact with each day. In Matthew 5:14 Jesus tells us, “You are the light of the world.” In Verse 16 He continues, “…let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
With your spouse, try to surprise him/her with a small gesture of love - maybe bring home flowers for them, make their favorite dessert, or write them a love letter.
With your children, put down the distractions (the phones, the tablets, the tv, etc.) and instead really listen to what they are saying to you. Look them in the eye, feel their youthful passion, their energy, and reflect that joy back at them through your interactions with them. Do something fun with them; play in the yard, go out for ice cream, find a loving way (as opposed to a negative/punishing way) to teach them life lessons.
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” -Ephesians 6:4
When you go to work and interact with your colleagues, try to put on your best smile and remember that they all are coming to the workplace with other things going on in their lives outside of work too, just as you are. Take time to develop sincere relationships with the people that you spend so much of your time with. Listen to them as they tell you about their families, remember when their birthday comes or some other special day in their life, treat them to lunch once in a while, be ready to share a laugh with them.
“A man find joy in giving an apt reply - and how good is a timely word!” -Proverbs 15:23
How about that stranger that you may cross paths with today? When you are out to eat and the waiter/waitress is a little slow with your order, pause and take a look around. Is he/she dealing with a massive workload, a demanding/messy table, does he/she look like they could use a vacation. Take a breath, put yourself in their shoes and think about how grateful you are to have someone waiting on you rather than having to prepare and serve your own meal. Be courteous, say please and thank you, and leave an honest tip. These may all sound like small things, but when you consciously put kindness and joy out into the world, you get back the same into your own life. Sometimes something as simple as a genuine smile to a stranger can make all the difference in their day. Remember, in Galatians 6:8-10, God speaks to us through Paul's words, teaching us about reaping what we sow.
“The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
And now for one of the most difficult ones…what thoughts are you allowing yourself to have when you look in the mirror? Are you immediately pointing out some physical trait that you wish was different, or thinking about the things that you might not have done so well that day? If so, stop it! Remember where you came from. Psalm 139:14 reminds us, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” You are wonderfully made! We must also love ourselves before we can fully radiate the joy out into the world that we wish to. Choose joy, choose love, choose happiness. “I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God.” -Isaiah 61:10
Hey, I think I see you walking my way. Oh boy!
About the Author:
Coach Shane is an International Coach Federation (ICF) trained life coach and graduate of the Certified Professional Life Coach (CPLC) program from the Christian Coach Institute (Charlotte, NC). He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree (BA) and Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA), both from Lakeland College.
Coach Shane is ready to walk alongside you on your life journey and help you get from where you are to where you want to be. The results are significantly better when working with a life coach rather than trying to go it alone. Statistically only 10% of people who set New Years resolutions are successful in achieving what they “resolve” to do. The positive impact that people feel in their lives when they work with a life coach is real. In 2017, or better yet right now, start living your life with more meaning, passion, clarity, and fulfillment as you achieve the goals that you have in your life. You can do it, Coach Shane can help!
PHONE: (920) 428-1564
FACEBOOK: Shane Hansen, Christian Life Coach, LLC