For those of you who’ve never heard of Yogi Berra, I suggest you free up about 30 minutes in your schedule and Google “Yogi Berra Quotes.” I can guarantee that you’ll be entirely confused and not at all disappointed. How can you be, when Berra is the man behind famous words of wisdom, like “Ninety percent of the game is half mental”?
Berra is popularly known for these unusual words of wisdom, but when I had the opportunity to attend a dinner hosted by the Baseball Assistance Team in his honor, the biggest takeaway of the night was that Berra is more than just a great baseball player with an unusual way with words; he’s one of the most beloved players of all time because of the heart he had hidden beneath the bold letters on his uniform. During his career, Berra was the guy everyone hoped to have the opportunity to learn from. He could put a smile on a rookie’s face right before his first big league at bat, making him believe he was about to knock one out of the park. In the words of his lifelong best friend, “They just don’t make them like Yogi anymore.”
To celebrate Yogi Berra and all of the people whose lives he has touched, I would like to share a bit of Yogi wisdom with Levo. I’ve racked my brain, squinted my eyes, and tilted my head in order to understand what Berra was really saying in some of his most memorable “Yogi-isms.” And while it’s clear that no one can put words in his mouth, I think I might have nailed down a few Yogi-isms that we can use to hit our own homeruns in the workplace.
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
This famous Yogi-ism came from a time when Berra was giving directions to his home, which was accessible from either of the streets making up the fork in the road. To me, it is a reminder that even if we don’t know our destination yet, we must always keep moving forward because no matter which road we take, it will lead us to where we are meant to be.
In the first ten years of our careers, we are faced with an incredible amount of decisions that will determine our professional direction. Even when we aren’t exactly sure what destination we are hoping to reach, we can start by choosing a road and taking it. Many more opportunities will come up to continue in one direction or find a new one, the important part is to keep on moving. You will learn more by trying one direction than by standing still.
“How can you hit and think at the same time?”
To the baseball and softball players of the world, I know this one speaks to you! The best and most frustrating piece of softball advice that my dad ever gave me was to “just see the ball and hit it.”
As it turns out, this was one of the many things my dad ended up being right about. Just as great hitters trust their bodies to put the bat on the ball, you will have moments when you have to trust your intuition to help you hit the professional world’s nastiest curveballs. If you are in an uncomfortable situation or faced with a difficult decision, always go with your gut. If it is anything like my dad, there is a very high chance it will be right.
“It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”
One of the greatest lessons sports can teach us is that the deal is never sealed until you are taking off your cleats and stuffing them into your bat bag. Underdog teams have scored six runs on two outs to win games that most people had written off before they even started. Crazier things have happened folks, but only when someone decided they weren’t ready to be done yet.
When it comes to fighting for the win, such as making a sale or landing your dream job, do everything you can do. (How’s that for a Yogi-ism?) Maintain your enthusiasm, professionalism, and confidence throughout the entire length of a project. Games can always be won in overtime, and you never know what could happen in the bottom of the ninth.
What wisdom have you learned from Yogi Berra, or others like him? Tell us in the comments!
Ask Lauren Maillian Bias, Founding Partner and Managing Director of Gen Y Capital Partners, for her best wisdom!