Monday, July 28, 2008

4 Steps to Help You Knock "It" Out of the Park

I’ve been thinking about excellence in performance lately, and I realized that there are 4 key things that I focus on when trying to knock it out of the park. What’s it, you ask? “It” is anything you want it to be. Maybe it’s a project, a task, a job, a duty, a proposal. It really is anything you want it to be, and you can help yourself knock it out of the park by going through these 4 steps:

1) VISION – Create a vision of what you want to accomplish, and then visualize yourself accomplishing it. It’s simple! Before you step into the batter’s box, visualize the pitch coming, visualize your perfect swing, and then visualize the trajectory of the ball as it leaves the park. That is, take time before you start in on your project/task/proposal, and visualize where your journey will take you. This will help you get to the next stage of focus.

2) FOCUS – To knock it out of the park, you have to have focus. When you step into that batter’s box, you have to focus on the task at hand. You have to see that ball flying through the air and focus on your swing as you connect with the ball. For a project/task/proposal, you have to be able to focus on the necessary parts of the job. You can’t let crowd noise (distractions) get into your head. Block everything out and just focus on what you are about to do. If your focus gets blurry, then back out of the batter’s box and take a break. Perfect focus will help you with execution.

3) EXECUTION – You’ve visualized success, and you are focusing on the task at hand, so now it’s time to execute; to perform with excellence. You’ve already visualized how you are going to perform the task, so now that the task is there, it’s time to make any necessary adjustments and execute. The ball is in flight, and you now need to take all those fundamentals that you have practiced for years, and begin your swing. The thing about this step is that it takes a lot of training and practice to be able to master it. Just as a batter takes batting practice daily for his one moment to knock it out of the park, so you have been practicing daily for your moment. The perfect execution will automatically bring about your follow through.

4) FOLLOW THROUGH – This is where it’s all at. Just as a baseball player can’t expect to knock it out of the park with a half swing, neither can you expect to knock it out of the park with a half swing. You’ve already begun your execution and are nearing completion of your project/task/proposal, so now it’s time to follow through. Finish up strong! Make sure you see it to the end, and then afterwards, follow up with everyone else involved to watch it fly out of the park! This step is critical, especially if you came up just shy of the fence. This step is where you see the mistakes you made in vision, focus, and execution, and then fix those mistakes for the next time you get up to bat!

The above are four critical steps to knocking anything out of the park, to performing with excellence and success. You have to have a vision. You have to focus on that vision. You have to execute. And, you have to follow through. I would speculate that Babe Ruth followed these when he stepped up to the plate.

note: picture courtesy of

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