Life Lessons From The Chicago Cubs

I moved to Chicago in the late 90’s and lived in Lincoln Park, not quite Wrigleyville, but still close enough to walk home from a game on a warm summer night.  And as seems to be the case with everyone who moves to the Northside of Chicago, I immediately became a Cubs fan. Wrigley Field, loyal fans, a fun-loving crowd, a long tradition, there was so much to love.  This year, like so many others around the country I was excited to follow the team and to celebrate the World Series win.  It seemed so epic it got me thinking of what we could all learn from the Chicago Cubs:

Change Doesn’t Happen Overnight and It’s Not Easy: Everyone knows that this winning season didn’t happen overnight. Theo Epstein, the Cubs President was hired in 2011. He started to clean house, brought in lots of new talent and it took 5 years to win the World Series.  In those 5 years there were some really rough times and tough losses (remember “try not to suck” was a recent motto), but the team kept their focus on winning.

Experience Counts: You have to love the young guys on the Cubs team Rizzo, Hayward, Lester, Chapman, Fowler, Baez, and Bryant just to name a few. But the 39 year-old David Ross, or Grandpa Rossy as nicknamed by his young teammates, who had spent 21 years playing professional baseball was described as the heart of the team and a deeply powerful influence on their winning.

Focus on the Win: Since the late 1930’s a flag is raised above the scoreboard at Wrigley Field to denote the team’s win, with a W or loss, with an L.  In more recent years this symbol really took off, with fans displaying it often and proudly in and out of the stadium. The lesson is no matter what, focus on the win.  You saw this focus all year up until the very last game of the series when at an impromptu team meeting during the rain delay “everyone was fired up” according to Jason Hayward. 

Let Go Of Limiting Beliefs: The Cubs hadn’t won the World Series since 1908 and many believed that the reason was that the Cubs were cursed. There are several curses but the most famous is The Billy Goat curse, going back to 1945.  When asked what he thought about it Cubs manager Joe Maddon said “If you want to believe in that kind of stuff, it’s going to hold you back for a long time”.  I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Real Men (and Women) Do Cry:  From the fans, to Bill Murray, to the players themselves (Rizzo! Ross!), plenty of tears were shed over the win.  Even at the bar in California where I watched the game with my fiancé and a mix of fans - a winemaker, the kitchen staff, a bartender, some tourists, and another Chicago transplant - the tears were shed.  And didn’t we all feel better?

I could go on with a bunch of additional lessons on teamwork, focus, family, perseverance and tradition, but I’ll wait until next year for those. In the meantime, Go Cubs!


What Would You Do With An Extra 5.8 Hours A Week?

I recently read the May 6 article in the New York Times where writer James B. Stewart shared that the amount of time users spend on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger combined is an average of 50 minutes a day (up from an average of 40 minutes in 2014). That’s over 5.8 hours a week and it isn’t even counting Pinterest, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Youtube or other social media outlets. Yikes!

Nobody seems to have enough time and this really got me thinking about the excuses I’ve heard repeatedly over the last few months:

I want to get more sleep, but it’s hard to get to bed on time because I’m busy

I’d like to get to yoga more often but can’t seem to find the time

I’d love to get back to taking Spanish classes but I’m too busy

Sound familiar? These are just a few of the dozens of actual excuses I have heard in the last two months, some of them repeatedly.  No, not from my coaching clients, but from me!

Perhaps this isn’t you. Perhaps you have all the time to do all the things you value most (and I sincerely hope you do).  But be honest with yourself. How much time do you give to facebook and other types of social media that you could be giving to something else, something that really matters to you?

Will this new knowledge lead me to give up facebook and other social media? Definitely not.  But next time I have an extra busy day or a deadline or I hear myself complaining that I don’t have time, I’ll be thinking about the 50 minutes that I can spend each day any way I want.