When any baseball player gets a game winning hit to end a tie game in the ninth inning it’s pretty special. When Derek Jeter gets a walk-off hit in his final Yankee Stadium at bat it’s a Pinnacle Performance of the highest order. A perfect fairy tale ending to his 20-year major league career.
Earlier yesterday, mere hours before Mr. Jeter put the exclamation point on his long list of accomplishments with that game winning single, I had read the excellent Sports Illustrated cover story on the man himself.
Here’s a preview > SI cover: Derek Jeter’s exit interview
As the title implies, the article was an interview with Jeter so he could, in his own words, have his final say.
I took away many things that are consistent with high-achievers and the Pinnacle Performance principles I preach and teach my very valued clients.
Here’s a few highlights:
Jeter has been concerned with winning and winning only
“I think most people want to win at anything. But the thing that separates you is if losing bothers you.”
This ‘success and nothing less’ mindset, where losing bothers you at your very core, is an attribute of all high-achievers.
Jeter is fanatical about preparation
“I’ve always been a believer in hard work and no excuses. I would never want to play a game and be unsuccessful and think, Well, I could have been successful if I had done this.”
Average and weak performers often view high-achievers and think they’re gifted, lucky or in the right place at the right time. These people fail to recognize the countless hours of effort and preparation high-achievers (like Jeter) have put in to develop and master their craft.
Jeter Stays Positive
Derek’s parents never let him use the word ‘can’t’ when he was growing up, insisting that anything was possible with hard work.
“When people are negative a lot, it starts to creep into your mind, and then you start having doubts. My job is to limit distractions. My job is to stay positive.”
Jeter has Fun
“I learned to have fun. That’s a big part of being able to play all those years” to enjoy yourself.”
As I often say, you will not truly be engaged and achieve the level of success you’re capable of achieving in a job/role that you don’t enjoy. Those that lack enjoyment in their work have no passion, a key ingredient in success. Fun makes everything better.
Derek Jeter shows up to play every day. He has the most hits and played in the most games since the 1994-95 players’ strike.
“Playing well gets you here; consistency keeps you here. That’s the thing I’ve always tried to focus on.”
As Jeter ends his extraordinary career this weekend at Fenway Park, I, along with countless Boston Red Sox and sports fans, wish him well and thank him for leaving baseball better because he was part of it.
(Photo: William Perlman, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com via USA TODAY Sports)