The Yankees’ Don Larsen did something that had never been done before (or since). He pitched a perfect game in the World Series. For those of you who don’t follow baseball (we do have quite a few international readers here!), a perfect game is one in which 27 batters come to the plate and none of them reach first base. 3 outs per inning, 9 innings per game. No walks, no hits. Perfection. It’s an extremely rare feat under any circumstances – there have only been 23 perfect games in the 100+ year history of major league baseball. To accomplish it under the pressure of the World Series is amazing.
I don’t know what was in his mind as he took the mound that day but I’m willing to bet his focus was on getting the next batter out, not on making sure none of the 27 would reach base. Let me give you a similar thought. There are two Swedish golf instructors who operate Vision54. The thinking is that if we can birdie every hole during a round of golf we’d shoot 54. That’s perfection of another sort and it sounds impossible. Then again, as I pointed out to someone over the weekend, he’d made birdie on every hole on our course at one point or another, just not in the same round. Like a baseball pitcher who’s retired every batter he’ll face that day at one point or another in his career, the task is to turn what you’ve done before into a consistent reality, one pitch or one swing at a time.
That’s the business point too. We look at daunting tasks – double our sales, find 50 new customers in a few months – as impossible. Yet we’ve increased our sales and we’ve found new customers. We have the ability to do the remarkable because the remarkable is just stuff we can do done each and every time. It’s less about ability than it is about execution (and maybe a little luck thrown in from time to time).
What do you think? What impossible thing will you do today?