Striving To Be An Ace

If you’re from NYC, you may want to stop reading this right now.

I am a diehard Philadelphia Phillies fan. As the only team in the history of professional sports with 10,000 losses, this has not always been peaches and cream. In particular, the Fightin’ Phils have a notorious history of lousy pitching: Floyd Youmans, Joe Cowley, Andy Ashby, Freddie Garcia, Adam Eaton. Just a sampling of pitchers who came to Philadelphia with great fanfare and promise…and immediately tanked once they put on the red pinstripes.

But these are heady times in the land of Mummers and cheesesteaks. With a pitching staff lead by Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels and billed as the greatest of this current century (and a chance to add “last century” to that billing), it is a delight to be a Phillies fan these days. What is it about these four pitchers that makes them such a joy and pleasure to watch night in and night out? They are each slightly different in their style of pitching, the pitches they throw, and their key “go to” pitch. But, they have one trait that binds them together: efficiency. Watch any of the four pitch and you will see a model of pitching efficiency. They don’t waste time between pitches, they throw strikes, and they stare down any batter who dares try to disrupt their rhythm. Halladay and Lee are the masters of pitching efficiency – Halladay started Saturday’s game against the Mets with 18 strikes in a row (for my non-baseball afficianado readers, that’s a lot) – but Hamels and Oswalt more than hold their own in that department. The games they pitch are typically shorter, fun to watch, and make for an all-around more pleasurable baseball experience.

It may sound silly to say, but this “model of efficiency” is what I’m striving for in my professional life. I am working hard to cut out a lot of extraneous clutter and keep my work profile clean and efficient. I get annoyed when things out of my control hinder my progress: unfollowed timelines; hold-ups in routing and review of materials; poorly designed databases or learning management systems; the inefficiencies of others. I’m a busy guy; we all are. I’ve got two young kids already involved in a slew of extracurriculars, a classical musician wife who works crazy hours, and I lost my assistant 2 months ago. I depend on my efficiency in the work place to keep me sane. Just like Cole Hamels can get rattled when his rhythm is disrupted, I struggle when my daily routines get screwed up.

The struggle I am battling with currently is absorbing my ventures into social media into my daily routine. As much as I have been enjoying it, I have some fear it is turning me into Steve Trachsel. Trachsel was a pitcher for the Cubs and Mets, among others, who was infamous for working incredibly slowly, taking large chunks of time in between pitches, and turning games he pitched into slow, plodding affairs. He was the anti-Halladay and Lee; a model of inefficiency. There’s no doubt that it takes time and energy to maintain a blog, Twitter account, Linkedin profile, YouTube channel, SlideShare account, etc. All of these I have started doing within the past year.

This is probably the point at which a good blog would talk about how they have been able to efficiently incorporate social media into their life and present a list entitled “Top 10 Tips for Social Media Efficiency”. Sad to say, I don’t have such a list for you. I have picked up a few tricks, but I’m still trying to figure it out. Maybe one of these weeks we can have a #CMEchat session to discuss various tips, tricks, and best practices for efficiency with social media. Then we can all work on that top ten list together.


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