On September 6, 1995, Cal Ripken Jr. made history when he played his 2,131st consecutive MLB game. He broke a record set by a legend that had stood for 56 years. How’d he do it?
“You can’t accomplish anything unless you’re willing to show up,” Ripken told Forbes back in July.
Today’s market seems to be giving many business leaders a sense of uneasiness. Interest rate increases, inflation, continued supply chain issues, technological disruptions, a challenging labor environment and the peek-a-boo prophecies of a recession paint a foreboding picture. And this market doesn’t stand alone. Business leaders aren’t far removed from 2008’s great recession, the reverberations from which had barely subsided before COVID-19 crashed a growing economy. After nearly two decades of what can seem like constant, insurmountable challenges, it’s understandable why some business leaders may not have a positive outlook.
But something else Ripken said in that same Forbes interview applies: that breaking what was once considered an unbreakable record was about more than just being present.
“You want to be counted on,” he’s quoted as saying. “There’s a term in baseball called ‘gamer.’ All that means is that you’re willing to come show up and try to meet whatever challenge it is today.”
The challenges today may be many, but it’s up to business leaders to set the tone — to do more than show up, but to be counted on, put in the work and find opportunity where others see obstacles. It means rising to the occasion, identifying the competitive advantage in this environment and leading the steady charge toward it.
While recent years may have been a challenge for many, and the future can seem rocky, it’s important to keep grinding. Ripken’s record reached 2,632 consecutive games on Sept. 19, 1998 — a record that is unlikely to ever be broken — and he played another 369 games before finally retiring. In his speech after his final game in 2001, Ripken addressed the question of how he wanted to be remembered: “My answer has been simple: to be remembered at all is pretty special.”
When you and those in your organization look back on how you handled difficult times, how do you want to be remembered? ●
Fred Koury is President and CEO of Smart Business Network Inc.