A Pro Among Pros

timhudson

Last night, the San Francisco Giants won their 3rd World Series in 5 years. In order to accomplish the feat, Madison Bumgarner, the Giants’ 25 year old ace, had to come in on 2 days rest and pitch 5 shut-out innings earning his third win of the series and the title for the Giants.

Lost in the headlines was the starting pitcher for the Giants in Game 7, Tim Hudson. Hudson, the oldest man ever to start a World Series game 7, didn’t have his best stuff and he was yanked in the second inning after just 28 pitches. After 214 wins, over 2,000 strike-outs, 13 seasons, and 3 teams, Hudson finally has a World Series ring anyway. But none of the stats, good or bad, are what stood out to me about Hudson this post-season. What stood out to me, and was tested to the greatest degree last night, was Hudson’s professionalism, team-first mentality, and character. After one of the worst outings of his career, it would have been easy for Hudson to sulk, feel sorry for himself, and hang his head after the game. Instead, he did what you see in the picture above – he celebrated with his teammates and hugged and honored his young pitching staff mate, Bumgarner, on a job well done.

Hudson’s reaction last night is a strong lesson for young athletes, of course. It reinforces what most coaches preach about the success of the team being more important than individual performance and that losses belong to the team as well, no matter the circumstances that led to them.

But the lessons aren’t just for young kids. Tim Hudson is 85 days older than me (certainly in better shape), and a example that I need to learn from as well. When I bring in business for the company I work for, it is never because of my brilliant salesmanship. It is on the back of all of the outstanding work we’ve done over the past 20 years, it is aided by the professional advice and estimating that I receive from my Project Management team, and it comes from relationships that have been influenced by a myriad of people. Similarly, when a project doesn’t go as planned and we don’t fully meet a client’s expectations, it isn’t the fault of the design team because they have bad ideas. They are informed by things I share with them, inspired by others in the workplace, and have distractions outside of the office just like the rest of us, and we all own a part of those failures. Finally, what a great reminder to celebrate your teammates’ successes – I don’t need to pout and fuss when I lose a big deal I was hoping for and my colleague wins the one he is working on because his success is all of our success. If he closes business this week, it helps the company pay my health insurance premiums this month and next month when I close something, I help the company pay his.

Tim Hudson reminded me last night that we’re all in this together. I admire Hudson for a fantastic career, yes, but more importantly I admire him for the way he reacted to the negative he faced last night. Well done. Thanks Tim, War Eagle!

How I Saved “One of those Days”

one of those days

I felt great when I woke up this morning. We went through the normal morning routine at the Searby house with no tears and no screaming, which was amazing in itself. I waited at the bus stop with the kids, and took off for my morning run when they loaded up (as is my habit when I’m home). It was a gorgeous day – sunny and cool – perfect weather for my scheduled long run of the week…but it turned out to be “one of those days.”

Any recreational runner has had ‘one of those days’ when you just don’t feel like running. Every time I came to a road I had to cross, the traffic was buzzing and I had to come to a complete stop and break my stride. A mile in I had to take a restroom break. At mile 3 I got a side stitch and slowed down so I could take some deep breaths until it passed. It seemed like nothing was going right with this morning run.

Around the 3 1/2 mile mark, it happened. Another runner, coming towards me on the greenway near my house approached and we passed each other. It took a tenth of a second for her to smile and say ‘good morning,’ and it saved my run. Just as I was starting to talk myself into walking the rest of the way home, a smile and a greeting lifted my spirits just enough to keep me going. The second half of my run got better and better with every step. I passed 3 other runners and gave each of them a smile and a ‘good morning’ and finished my run relatively close to my target time.

Life throws “one of those days” at us sometimes as well. Maybe we’re not in sync with our spouse or the kids are in a difficult stage. Perhaps work has become challenging or a friendship is strained and we don’t know how to repair it. This morning it only took a smile and two words to change my mindset about my run and turn the outcome around. I’m sure that my fellow runner who gave me that lift had no idea the mental battle going on between my ears at the time. Similarly, I don’t have any idea what is happening in the lives of most of the people I interact with on a daily basis; the cool thing is that is doesn’t matter. We all have the power to save “one of those days” for someone with a smile, a kind word, genuine listening, or a simple ‘good morning.’ I’m going make sure I don’t miss a chance today to make a save.

Family Time

momdadkids oct 2014

I have a handful of friends who are fortunate enough to have their parents or spouse’s parents living close enough that their kids get to see Grandma and Grandpa on a regular basis and they are there for the emergency school pick up or a spur of the moment Saturday night dinner out. I am envious of those friends and often remind them to be thankful for their parents’ proximity, even when it comes with the occasional meddling or parental advice that seems annoying.

My parents are 6 hours away from our home in Charlotte and my wife’s parents are 16 hours away, so the luxury of unplanned, unexpected, or spur of the moment family time is not a part of our lives. Being this far away from immediate family is a relatively new phenomenon in the United States. Before World War II, if a young man left his small Southern Illinois town to get his medical degree (as my Great Grandpa “Doc” Parmenter did), he’d hurry back to his hometown or a small town near there when he was done with school to practice. He often married a girl from the same area and they raised their children in the shadow of all kinds of family that would get together on a regular basis and help each other out as needed. It was the generally accepted way of life all over the country. When the next generation of young men went off to war in the early 1940’s, they returned with some different attitudes. Suddenly, farm boys from Kansas who had been globetrotting around Europe for 3 years decide to move their young families to California and live a different lifestyle; and young men from New York City came home and headed South to places like my hometown of Charlotte where the climate was more like where they’d been fighting in Southern France. All of a sudden, families started to spread out, and the dynamics of the extended family changed.

Over the past week, however, I was reminded of the importance and value of finding that family time, regardless of miles. My in-laws made the long drive to spend the week with us last week and help my wife out while I was gone on a business trip. The kids got off the bus for a few days to a waiting Granny and learned plenty of new things (good and bad I’m sure) about their maternal grandparents. Most importantly, they were reminded that there are other adults who care very deeply for them and want to encourage them to grow mentally and emotionally, as well as physically, strong. This weekend, we packed up the car and met my parents in the mountains of North Alabama (picture above) for a few days of relaxation and time together. Along with my mom’s never ending supply of songs, my kids saw yet another peek into what makes them who they are and felt the love and caring of their paternal grandparents who gave them all the attention they wanted. It was also a good chance for me to talk out thoughts and ideas with the only two people who have been a constant presence in my life.

I am so grateful for both my parents and my wife’s parents for the sacrifice of time and money that they make to spend time with us. We haven’t chosen to live in the same town as either of them or even close enough for regular visits, but it is important enough to both of them to have family time that they are willing to carve out time and resources to make it happen. Who knows what extended family life will look like as our kids grow up, but I have learned from the example of my kids’ grandparents that I need to set as a priority time with my children when they are adults and their kids when that time comes. Family time isn’t always neat and tidy, but it is an important connection to who we are and an informative look at the people who have shaped us. If you are fortunate enough to have your parents or in-laws close by, you should tell them thank you. If you’re like us, you should do your part to make family time a priority.

Across the Pond

london8

In 1776, the American colonies declared independence from Great Britain, fought a war to defend that independence, and shortly thereafter became a sovereign nation. Americans have been traveling back to England ever since. Until this week, I’d never visited the “Mother Country,” but as tonight is my last evening here I thought some thoughts and photos were appropriate.

Some random observations I’ve made this week in London…

London is OLD. The United States is a little over 200 years old, London was founded by the Romans 2,000 years ago. While not all of the history has endured, there are some pretty amazing old buildings, including the Westminster Abbey (below).

london7

London is WET in October. I’d like to come back in the summer when I can walk around the city a little easier.

England is OBSESSED with futbol. I know, I’m not telling you anything you don’t know, but I spent my week at Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea FC, at a sports conference and let me tell you…these people are WAY more passionate about their futbol than we are about our football.

london6

London has a learning curve. When you visit, you’d better learn quick to look right first when you cross streets (I almost got smashed by a double decker bus), you’d better “Mind the Gap” in the Underground, and if you’re doing business here, I’d strongly recommend that you “dress smartly” to avoid embarrassment. It will take me a few more visits to get the hang of things.

All in all, I loved London. I’d love to come back for a holiday and see it in more depth. I’m not sure how we’d have turned out if we were still a part of the British Empire, but they’ve done quite nicely for themselves without us. Thanks for a great visit, London, and one of my favorite runs of all times along the legendary Thames. Cheers!

london3