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“It took me seventeen years to get three thousand hits in baseball. I did it one afternoon on the golf course.” -Hank Aaron

Name someone you know who’s perfect. Go ahead. I’ll give you a second.

You can’t. No such thing.

So why are we so hard on ourselves? Why do we hold ourselves (and by implication, those around us) to an illusory and impossible standard of performance?

It’s hard not to fail in the face of unrealistic expectations.

A top professional baseball player may hit one out of three pitches; he fails two thirds of the time. No player realistically expects to hit two out of three pitches consistently. They may hope, they may aim for that, but they don’t expect it.

And that’s the point: realistic goals; goals that motivate, objectives that are reasonable and achievable, performance sandards that don’t demand we sacrifice our health and self-esteem.

Working sixty hours a week (or more) consistently is unrealistic, unhealthy and not sustainable.

We are working our people too hard, stretching them too thin, judging them too harshly.

No one hits a home run each at bat. Why do we expect it of our colleagues and direct reports?

The next time you (or someone you manage) miss the mark, remember that the best players have the shortest memories.

They forget the last pitch, or the bogie hole, or the missed sales goal. They learn from it but they let it go and concentrate on this pitch, this shot, this client.

Those who truly achieve are those who can forgive themselves (and others) for making a mistake.

It not only makes them better at what they do it lifts the game of everyone around them, too.

“Every day is an opportunity and you can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again. That’s the way life is, with a new game every day, just like baseball.” -Bob Fuller, American baseball pitcher for 18 seasons with the Cleveland Indians

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