My time in professional baseball helped set me up for future success.
Back in 2014, I was drafted by the Seattle Mariners out of high school. It was something I had worked so hard for and something every baseball player dreams of. I ended up playing a total of five seasons in professional baseball; three with the Seattle Mariners organization and two with the Minnesota Twins organization.
I had lofty goals and a lot I wanted to accomplish in professional baseball, but I also had interests outside of the game — philanthropy and business. During the season I would volunteer my time at various nonprofits. Major League Baseball is very involved in the local communities, and that trickles down throughout the minor leagues. I’m very thankful for this aspect of the game and the leagues — it was a part that I knew I’d forever be involved in.
In the off-seasons, I spent my time training, but I also began to dabble in the stock market. I self-educated myself and started trading. I would take as many online business courses as I could — my goal was to use the offseason to improve myself across the board, as both a baseball player and businessman.
After my fifth season in professional baseball, I was released by the Minnesota Twins. I was devastated and struggled a lot — it was something that I knew I may have to face someday, but something a baseball player is never fully ready to embrace.
I took some time to gather my thoughts and figure out what my next play in life would be. I mapped out my plan and relocated to Los Angeles. I decided it would be the best move for me and my new goals. Two years removed from professional baseball and I have started three companies, including a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
Here are five ways professional baseball contributed to a successful career change. I will forever be thankful for the opportunities and experiences the game of baseball has brought me, and I am excited to watch this new chapter in my life continue to unfold.
1. I Learned How to Make Goal Setting a Priority
From little league to professional baseball, I always had goals that I was working towards. There is no way I would have advanced to the next level each time without having very specific goals and mapping out a plan to accomplish them.
I take the same approach to business, although now my goals are broken down into several micro-goals, all leading up to much larger goals. I know if I take the same goal-setting approach I used in baseball and apply it to my business ventures I will do everything I set out to accomplish.
2. I Used Competition to Motivate Me
I’m a very competitive person by nature. I knew that in baseball if I wanted to be the best I had to outperform the best. Rather than seeing my competition as a threat, I see it as motivation. Baseball players are very stat-focused individuals.
I would constantly know what my competition was in terms of batting average, hits, home runs, doubles, etc. It fueled me and lit a fire under me, causing me to work even harder — I wanted to be the best.
Competition in business is also healthy and causes companies to step it up. Want to beat your competition? Offer a better product or a better service. Go above and beyond what is expected. Introduce something game-changing to an industry. I will always embrace competition, as it’s a great source of motivation for me personally.
3. I Learned How to Perform Under Pressure
I’ve always felt the pressure to perform. It started in high school, knowing there were scouts from professional organizations in the stands watching my every move I made on the field and then carrying over to professional baseball, where you are under an even larger microscope.
This prepared me for the pressure to perform I’ve experienced thus far as a business owner. While the kind of pressure is different, the desired outcome is the same — excelling and winning. I feel that I thrive under pressure and I can thank my experience in baseball for that.
4. I Embraced Failure and Losing as Part of the ‘Game’
Growing up I always wanted to win when we played, and that desire never died down. If anything, I wanted to win even more the higher I advanced in the game. But, regardless of how badly I wanted to win, I also knew that winning every game wasn’t possible.
As soon as I embraced losing and failing, and using each instance as a learning experience and something to grow from, I began to find ways to improve as a player and as a teammate. Each loss was an opportunity to learn and grow.
The same applies to business. Throughout the first two years of my entrepreneurial journey, I have experienced some losses — and I am sure there will be more in the future. I welcome them because I know they will only make me better.
5. I Understood the Value of a Team
Baseball is a team sport. If one player puts up incredible stats but his teammates don’t contribute, they won’t win. I knew my stats were important, but I knew that without everyone on the team contributing we would not win.
Teammates help each other and elevate each other to a higher level. The same approach applies to business. I had this approach from day one. I focused on putting the best teams together when I set out to start my companies.
I knew that having the right people in place was the only way the businesses would be successful. Every role in a company, from co-founder to entry-level is important, just like every position is important on a winning baseball team.