Life is not always a home run – celebrate the singles

I love sports analogies because they can teach us so much about life.  Baseball is a prime example of the balance of success and failure.   A player can experience varied degrees of success and failure every time they take the field.  The players that can effectively handle these ups and downs are the ones that have the best experiences.  

As we continue through the holiday season and approach the end of the year, we need to pause and reflect on our expectations.  Whether we are looking back at the prior year, evaluating holiday gatherings, or looking ahead to the next year, expectations have a major impact on our view of circumstances.  When we see social media postings, Christmas card pictures, and selected information sharing from others, we begin to think that anything less than a “home run” in life is disappointing.  Pictures of perfect vacations, perfect family gatherings, perfect gifts, successful businesses, and over-achieving lives lead us to think that our lives should be ones of ease and success as well.  When, in fact, life is messy and difficult at times.  

Our focus on what others share leads us to think that we need to be experiencing “home runs” in every area of our life.  Anything less than a “home run” may seem less compared to others.  The problem with setting unrealistic expectations is that we miss the seemingly small, but special moments.  We miss those “singles.”  While there is nothing wrong with healthy expectations in areas of our life, we need to keep those expectations realistic, so we don’t miss the “singles.”  Perspective is so important.  Missing those “singles” and not recognizing the significance of those moments, achievements, and experiences is a tragedy that can be avoided.  

If you follow the game of baseball, you know that more games are won stringing groups of singles together than waiting on homeruns.  That same truth applies in life as well.  We may not have many “home run” moments in our life, but chances are we can stack several “singles” together.  Realistic expectations, an awareness of circumstances, and a healthy realization of life being naturally messy at times can be help us recognize and celebrate those “singles.”  

The danger of placing too much emphasis on what we see from others can lead us to unrealistic expectations.  Many of those “home run” people that you see may have a number of messy, difficult issues that they are dealing with as well.  We just don’t know the what’s going on behind the post, the picture, or the comments.  We just see what we perceive to be the “home run” experience.  Celebrate the “home run” with them if you want, but don’t place unrealistic expectations on yourself, your family, or your organization.  

Take some time as you reflect on the prior year and look ahead to celebrate those “singles.”  May 2023 be a year full of “singles” stacked on top of one another for you.  If you happen to get that occasional “home run,” then that’s just a bonus!  

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