In Monday Morning

Lessons on Life from Major League Baseball Hall of Fame Shortstop Ozzie Smith

“Live in such a way that if anyone should speak badly of you no one would believe it.” -Unknown

As a kid, I grew up a rabid baseball fan.

My favorite player was an acrobatic, slick-fielding, timely-hitting, 13-gold-glove winning shortstop named Ozzie Smith. He was an outstanding player then and his charitable work in retirement has made me an even bigger fan of his today. So, the recent opportunity to visit with the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame shortstop on the Live Inspired podcast was simply too good to pass up.

I asked Ozzie about his upbringing, his dreams as a kid, challenges he faced in making it to the big leagues, difficulties of balancing family and career, and a few specific questions penned by my son Jack, who is his biggest fan today.

During our time together recording the interview, I realized that the most powerful aspect of Ozzie’s story wasn’t his remarkable mother (although she has a lot to teach us all), the encouragement of coaches who elevated his game (although it needs to be heard by each of us), or even what he considers the highlight of his career (although the reminder of overcoming ought to be embraced by us all).

No, the most powerful idea Ozzie Smith shared was his response to a simple question about the potential negatives of fame. I asked about the challenge he deals with of being immediately known by everyone, everywhere he goes.

Ozzie understood the question and agreed that loss of privacy and occasional interruptions carried some drawbacks, but that he didn’t view it as negative. He shared that he understood it represented something bigger than him. That these individuals grew up watching the Cardinals with their dad or granddad and the experience shaped their lives. Besides, it may be the only time that the individual gets a chance to see him; to actually meet him.

He paused for a moment, looked me squarely in the eyes, and added that he wanted to make sure that their one encounter with him might leave them better afterwards.

(Whether you grew up an avid baseball fan or just want practical ideas on achieving your dreams while positively impacting others along the journey, check out my conversation with Ozzie Smith on the Live Inspired Podcast here.)

My friends, what one of the greatest baseball players in history understands is what the rest of us need to also fully comprehend.

Each day as we go through our morning routines, drive to work, go about our days, and interact in the community, there are most certainly people watching us. As you interact with your partner, kids, and family; as you engage with your patients, staff, and professional colleagues; as you encounter fellow drivers, shoppers and sojourners you’ll likely never see again, seek and ensure that their one meeting with you might leave them better afterwards. [Tweet this.] | [Share on Facebook.]

It is advice offered by a Hall of Fame baseball great. And, if actually practiced by each of us, will allow us to lead inspired lives that make the world a better place.

Today, choose to live in such a way that if anyone should say anything badly of you no one would believe it.

This is your day. Live Inspired

How do you strive to make others better after their encounters with you? Share your examples in the comments below.

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