An era has ended with the conclusion of Derek Jeter's 20-year Major League Baseball career. In celebration of the future member of the Hall of Fame who played the game the right way, here are 10 lessons every entrepreneur can learn from Derek Jeter.
1. "My office is at Yankee stadium. Yes, dreams do come true.'' Love what you do. Derek Jeter loves the game of baseball. He took something that he absolutely loved and turned it into one of the most decorated careers. You can’t go into something half-heartedly and expect to be successful -- it just doesn’t work that way.
2. "There may be people who have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do – and I believe that.'' There are no shortcuts to success. Derek Jeter was one of the best players to never be linked with performance enhancing drugs in an era that was rampant with steroid use. He was willing to work harder than anyone in order to make it.
3. "When you put a lot of hard work into one goal and you achieve it, that's a really good feeling.'' Do your job and do it well. You don’t have a 20-year MLB career with the New York Yankees if you don’t perform well and to the highest standards. In a high-pressure environment, Jeter thrived and won the admiration and respect of NY fans and baseball fans in general. If you want to be successful you have to perform to the highest standards.
4. "Surround yourself with good people. People who are going to be honest with you and look out for your best interests.'' You need a good team around you. Never a selfish player, Derek Jeter always put his team first. He became the eleventh Yankee captain in team history, an honor that was given to him because of his leadership qualities. Building a successful business, just like winning a World Series Championship, requires a team effort.
5. "When I was younger, I was always taught not to make excuses.'' Don’t put the blame on others for your failure. A very small percentage of players advance through the minor leagues and make it to “the show,” and only a very small percentage has a 20-year big league career. Derek never made excuses, he just put his head down and made it happen. Nobody is going to do the work for you and if you fail there is only one person to blame -- yourself. As entrepreneurs we control our destiny and have to take full responsibility if something goes wrong.
6. "If you're going to win games, you're going to have to come up with the big hits. That's the bottom line.'' Be clutch when needed. Derek Jeter didn’t earn the nickname “Captain Clutch” for nothing. He would rise to the occasion time after time throughout his career, delivering clutch hits and making clutch defensive plays to win ball games. Some moments and opportunities in your entrepreneurial journey will only come once -- clutch plays are not exclusive to the baseball diamond.
7. "Your image isn't your character. Character is what you are as a person.'' Don’t show off or brag. During Derek’s 20-year career he managed to stay pretty low key in the largest media market, New York City. He wasn’t craving attention and he wasn’t showing off. There were no MTV cribs appearances and he never gave out the ‘I am better than you’ vibe. Stay humble and let your accomplishments speak for themselves.
8. "Don't get me wrong; it's not like I didn't go out and have fun. But there's been a lot of players that come to New York and get caught up in the lifestyle, and before you know it, they're sent away to another team because it affected their performance.'' Stay focused. The list of awards and honors that Derek Jeter accumulated during his career is nothing short of amazing. He was a 14-time American League All Star, won five American League Gold Glove and five Silver Slugger Awards, was the American League Rookie of the Year, was named both the World Series and All Star MVP in 2000, and won five World Series championships. None of this was accomplished by luck or doing anything half-assed. To reach your goals you have to remain 100 percent focused.
9. "You have to have a moral compass…an obligation to do the right thing.'' Give back. The Turn 2 Foundation was established by Jeter in 1996, his rookie season, and focuses on promoting healthy lifestyles among youth. Its mission is to see children grow safely and successfully into adulthood, becoming the leaders of tomorrow. Giving back doesn’t necessarily mean simply donating money. For example, my company allocates a yearly budget to help nonprofit organizations with their online marketing on a pro bono basis.
10. "I want to own a team one day. You know, that's my next goal.'' Know when it is time to move on. Derek Jeter knew that it was time to move on. Hence, the farewell tour this season. He had an excellent career and had absolutely no regrets about making the decision to hang up his hat. Sometimes a venture has run its course and it is time to move onto the next one. The right exit timing will often transition into the next opportunity.
Congratulations to Derek Jeter on a great career -- #re2pect.