Swinging for the fences

Chris Esh

Back when I was seven or eight years old, I played Little League baseball. One day I walked up to the plate and crushed a grand slam home run. There were no fences, and it probably wasn’t that impressive of a hit, but the other team wasn’t able to get the ball back into the infield before I crossed home plate.

After the game somebody told me that I was the first and only kid to hit a grand slam in that Little League. Looking back, they were probably just stroking my ego. But still, it felt great to know that I was the only kid to ever hit a grand slam in that league. 

It may sound like I’m just bragging at this point, but trust me, the story isn’t over. I spent the rest of that season swinging for the fences and striking out every fucking time. Now I don’t know if I literally never hit the ball again… but that’s what it felt like at least. That season was filled with tears and heartbreak, because every time I stepped up to the plate I swung for the fences… and missed. I wanted to hit home runs so bad that I swung way too hard, and I barely even looked at the ball. Honestly it’s a really sad story and it pains me to even think about it, but that’s what happened.

Fast forward to my first personal blog

Fast forward a few years and now I have a personal blog. Usually, I’d throw the link on Facebook and get maybe 20 page views and several likes. But one time I decided to put a lot of effort into a post about hip hop. I spent a lot of time and put a lot of work into it. To be honest, I felt really good about it.

So I posted the link on Facebook and it got a lot of attention. At least relative to what I was used to. I probably got around 15 likes and 100 or so page views. In my head I was thinking, “Aw, hell yeah, I finally found my voice. I’ve finally figured out how to do this blogging thing. And people are starting to notice that I can write.” Again, I’m not trying to brag here.

Truth be told, I never posted on that blog again. I had so much pressure in my mind from trying to deliver another magical moment that I stopped myself from writing anything at all. Just because every new blog I started seemed like it paled in comparison to that one awesome blog post.

The mental block that held me back.

So this was a trend in my early life. I would set lofty expectations for myself, and if I felt like couldn’t meet those expectations, I stopped trying all together. Or in the case of my little league career. I’d set really high expectations and try way too hard to meet those expectations. Ultimately resulting in failure and striking out every time.

I’m glad I realized this trend early on. Now I know the better approach is to just show up and do the work every day. Yes, I realize that sometimes I will fail, or I will get stuck. I also realize that sometimes I’ll crush it or exceed expectations. In life there are ups and downs with everything you do. But if you really want to take something seriously, you show up and do the work.


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