Published January 22, 2010
I spent 14 years behind the mic as the stadium announcer for the Kansas City Royals. It was a great experience, and I got to meet a lot of really interesting people – from some of the great ball players to some of the great announcers and writers to some of the best support staff in any organization. One of my favorite acquaintances was the late, great Buck O’Neil, a first baseman and manager in the Negro League back in the early to mid 50’s. During my tenure with the Royals, he was a scout for the team.
Buck and I used to talk about a lot of things. Mostly golf. But I remember one conversation that really hit home. It was one of the few times we talked baseball. I asked him “What’s the main difference between major league players and minor league players? Is it talent?”
“Oh, no,” he answered. “There are a lot of players in the minors that have more talent than some of the players in the bigs.”
He went on to explain that certainly experience is a big factor, but the biggest difference, he said, was players that knew what they had and what to do with it.
“For example,” he said, “You take a young pitcher that can throw 98 mph. If he doesn’t know how to use that talent and when to use that heat, a hitter in the big leagues will take him downtown every time.”
I’ve thought about that conversation many times. Especially when that 80 year old baseball legend kicked my butt on the golf course.
That principle holds true in any business. And it certainly holds true in the voiceover business.
Want to succeed in your business?
Know what you’ve got and how to use it.
I’ve been in this business for about 25 years. I’ve made so many mistakes in business I deserve some sort of award like the “What The Heck Were You Thinking” award, or the “Yup, You’re A Moron” award. And almost every mistake and bad decision was because I thought I was better or different than what I am.
You are who you are. Deal with it.
You have the talent you have. Deal with it.
But here is the good news. You can make a good living being one of the best at what you do best!
So…you’re in the minors. You wonder if you will ever make it to the bigs. And even if you do make it to the bigs, do you have the staying power to make a good life for yourself?
The answer is in the simple question: “Whatcha got and whatcha you gonna do with it?”