Opening day for baseball fans is an exciting event and, in some cities, is practically considered a holiday. Communities come together as the “10th man on the field” cheering for their home teams, and every year the anticipation is reborn as fans root for their baseball faves through the good times and the bad.
Identifying your fans
Chances are you haven’t progressed through your career entirely on your own. Everyone needs a fan club—people in your vast network of acquaintances who support you through the ups and downs of your career. Your “10th man” is someone who has invested in you and your success. They pick up the phone when you call. They listen and offer advice when you have a question or problem. They are on your side even when they would have done things differently than you did. It’s important for leaders to identify who these loyal fans are so that first, you can thank them, and second, you can maximize the benefit of having them on your side. As with everything in life, you need to be intentional with this special relationship.
Why fans are critical to success
The pace of our everyday lives has increased exponentially over the past twenty years. There are so many opportunities today and a variety of paths one can take to achieve career goals. Whether you want to start your own business, reinvent yourself in a new career, or simply become the best version of yourself in your current career, your fans can help. For example, they may talk you through a difficult decision or encourage you to rebound gracefully from failure. Resiliency is a critical life skill and fans will usually provide you with honest and immediate feedback. Have you ever caught yourself booing your own team? We all need to ask for and listen to constructive criticism once in a while.
Take a few minutes to think about who is part of your fan club. Then consider whom you cheer for. It’s important to have fans, but it’s also important for you to fulfill that role for someone else in your network. By behaving in this way, everyone scores a home run.