Friday, September 28, 2007

Focus and Dedication

I've just returned from meeting Roy Halladay, Toronto Blue Jays pitcher extraordinaire. This has been a dream of mine for a while now and I'm almost jumping out of my chair.

But wait, I can hear you say. He's a baseball player. What does he have to do with the arts?

Well, athletes and artists have a great deal in common. Both are asked to make huge sacrifices to follow their profession. Most athletes make very little income and need another job, as do most other artists. Both groups need a lot of study and practice to hone their skills. Both need to make their work fit in with the work of the team. And both need to have incredible drive to succeed.

I really love what this article says in the second half. You get a real sense of the man and where his priorities lie. The owner of the store who did the signing today told me that he didn't care about how much the autographs cost (that was negotiated by his agent) but only wanted to talk about how the store was partnering with his charity. And he was incredible with everyone who wanted his autograph - spending time with them when they wanted it, being encouraging with the kids.

In the intervening time since Summerworks, I have watched the way he pitches. When he's on, it's poetry. What really sticks with me is the way he focuses on what needs to be done. He allows himself to get angry when things don't go his way, but almost always he expresses it then shakes it off and gets right back at it. That's a valuable skill for anyone.

I asked him to sign a baseball, along with one word that summed up success for him. He wrote dedication. That's something I'm going to have staring at me every morning to remind me what I need to do.

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