A Shining Moment: 8 Lessons Learned From a 17 Minute Rain Delay

Once upon a time, there was a year dominated by turmoil – where groups were pit against groups and fear was being instilled everywhere – anti-immigrants against immigrants, cops against blacks – unfortunately the list is endless.

Then came an event that shook the world from China to Chile to Poughkeepsie and beyond.  People from all walks of life put fear and the election on hold and bonded while they sat in front of their TV or radio. Some crossed oceans in hopes to witness and be part of history.  Of course, I’m talking about The Chicago Cubs winning the World Series.  So, in case you were visiting a distant planet this past October, here’s a quick recap of what happened:  There was this little team who won the World Series in 1908. AND, they hadn’t won since.  And, it’s not because of the lack of support.  The Cubs could be 0 and 22 (wins to loses) and there wouldn’t be an empty seat in the house.  So, season after season, generation after generation, the people would come with hopes high and leave, heads down, still declaring, “Next year!”  You’d rarely hear anyone mumble, “That’s it – I’m no longer a fan!”  Quite the contrary – they were nicknamed “Loveable losers!”  There are also a couple of curses that may have contributed to their loses.  Whatever it was, it sure had a grip on The Northsiders.

Now onto Game 7 of the World Series against the Cleveland Indians.  First, no one believed that there would even be a game 7 – the Cubs were behind in the series 3 games to 1.  It’s the best of 7 and all the Indians had to do was win 1 more game.  And, all the Cubs had to do was win the next 3 – you must be kidding.  They won 2 and the series was tied.  We are now in Cleveland, top of the 9 th inning, Cubs were winning. Could this be real, three more outs, that’s it – the Cubbies win the World Series!  Nope.  The Indians tied the game and we’re now going into extra innings!  Really??

And then carain-delay-12-16me a Force of Nature – it started to rain.  The tarps came out and we’re now in an official rain delay.  All the momentum was going to Cleveland – they stole the thunder. In that 17 minute rain delay, here’s what happened in a small weight room down below the field:

We’ve seen it in movies; the manager/coach comes in and gives them the pep talk of a lifetime.  Not here.  Instead, veteran player, Jason Heyward, who was in a slump this first season as a Cub, gathered his young team together and told them – he loved them.    He also told them that he “was proud of them for overcoming everything this season.”  Heyward invited them all “to look in the mirror, and know everyone contributed to this season and to where we are at this point. I said, ‘I don’t know how it’s going to happen, how we’re going to do it, but let’s go out and try to get a W.'”

In those 17 minutes, the 25 Cubs realized that they almost lost what had brought them this far – the conviction that they have each other’s back and the appreciation for the camaraderie and collaboration they had all season.  No one person had to go out and win it on their own nor did it matter who did what for the team.

As you know, the 17 minute rain delay was over and after 108 years the Chicago Cubs won the World Series in the 10th inning.

There’s much to be learned from this Cub win and the 17 minutes rain delay both organizationally and personally.  See what you can do with these 8 lessons:

  1. Start seeing obstacles as rain delays.
  • And then start seeing rain delays as a time to regroup, inspire and motivate yourself and your teams.  No time to point out the differences or mistakes.
  1. When two or more people on your team get discouraged, it may just take 17 minutes to remind them of their worth and contribution and that you’ve got their back.
  • It’s a risk but can you really tell your co-workers you love them? I don’t know – try it.
  1. Sometimes when we don’t get what we want we are invited to have more persistence and patience.
  • And more persistence and patience, and then more persistence…
  1. Bring people into your lives that don’t know OR care about your past.
  • No goofy curse or almost-made-it history mattered to this young team.  It was only about the present.
  1. Let go of your own past.
  • Bring in a new internal voice that could care less about your childhood, last failed project or self-destructive history. IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO CHANGE.
  1. Collaborate and make it fun!
  • The average major league baseball player makes $4.4 million – and they’re playing a game. That should make you start lightening up on yourself and each other.  Play is good!
  1. When you’re personally in a slump and your team is down, why not learn from Heyward; set your ego aside and be cheerleader who reminds everyone that “rain delays” happen and it’s a perfect time to acknowledge what got you this far.  Maybe it’s time to really have each other’s back.
  2. Lastly, you are oh so valuable (lovable) even when others see you or you see yourself as a “loser.” Take a long look at how you handle mistakes.

If, after 108 years, the Chicago Cubs can do it, surely we can learn to come together and start making more Shining Moments.

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