"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is." ~Yogi Berra
Tonight I am going to a baseball game. The Orange County Flyers are playing the Chico Outlaws. Independent Minor League Baseball. Baseball at its best. Fewer steroids, fewer and less rowdy fans, but still that lovely green grass of a baseball field so lovingly called a diamond and the smell of hot dogs and beer. The Flyers' tag line: Orange County's Greatest Show on Dirt. I love baseball but not just any baseball. Well, almost any baseball - I just love the sport. I love watching a team get it together and make something magical happen, like a double play or a close call at home.
How did I come by these tickets? Well, I could say I paid my hard-earned cash for them or I won them in a raffle or I have season tickets through work, but the truth of matter is a little more exciting and rewarding. I went to a networking luncheon. That's all, that's it. I showed up at a networking luncheon, did my pitch (low and outside), had a nice, hot lunch and some refreshing iced tea, hung around for the message, and did a little schmoozing. The marketing manager for the OC Flyers has been diligently presenting the team at all chamber events and giving away tix in drawings at the end of each of these events.
"All pitchers are liars or crybabies." ~Yogi Berra funny
This day, Ms. Marketing Manager stood at the front of a full room and said, "Anyone who who wants tickets, come see me after lunch. I want to pack the stadium, so I have as many tickets as you would like for free." I found her afterward, made my request and she handed over seven general admission tickets and said, "Enjoy the game." I smiled broadly..., did I mention I love baseball? So, tonight I am taking my son and several of his friends to the game.
"I just want to thank everyone who made this day necessary." ~Yogi Berra
The rewards of networking are not typically a baseball game. Sometimes, they are even richer. Sometimes, networking results in a new client or even a new job. Maybe, if you are lucky enough, a new friend. The rewards of teamwork are not typically another number in your win column or a call of "Safe!" at home plate. The real rewards go hand in hand with networking and socialization. So often we hear individuals say, "I'll just do it myself." or "I want it done right, so..." Well, you can't really do this thing completely alone. You have to have clients, HMs, candidates, applicants, partners..., your network.
Legendary basketball player Michael Jordan made a poor attempt at professional baseball but, above all else, he understood teamwork. He said, "Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships." Teamwork and intelligence. So, step lively at the plate, swing for the fences, make the saving catch, and slide when you need to. But know there's a bench waiting to tweet, update, blog, and forward whatever you toss their way.
Your team's a lot bigger than it used to be.