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Baseball and Beyond

September 20th, 2017

By Chris Lubanski

To say that baseball has been an enormous influence in my life would be an understatement. The myriad chapters I experienced from the countless hours playing soft toss in the basement with my dad to competing for nine seasons as a professional player afforded me some amazing opportunities. My baseball accomplishments—national high school player of the year, Team USA medalist, a Major League Baseball First Round draft pick—built the foundation that allowed me to excel and graduate from the University of Pennsylvania and enter the competitive world of finance once my career on the diamond was over. This foundation that baseball paved for me can be broken down into three words: prepare, perform, persist.

I recall some advice that a coach once shared with me many years ago, “…talent alone isn’t enough, you need to harness it, develop it.” That stuck with me even as a small boy and certainly a “fact of life” that I witnessed once I reached high school and began to travel the circuit as a prospect on the national stage. Crisscrossing the country playing for the USA Baseball National Team program while participating in numerous high profile scouting events, I was competing with and against “the cream of the crop” in venues from Arizona to Missouri to Florida as well as the top players in my own backyard. I discovered quickly that to have a fighting chance of realizing my potential and goals I had to outwork everyone else. I also had to adapt to changing circumstances, pick the brains of those who had already achieved success and hone my instincts to help make me a better, smarter, and more productive athlete. The approach that I subscribed to was simple but powerful:

Prepare. So many things in life are out of our control but preparation isn’t usually one of them.  My dad would always ask me, “Is there someone out there working harder than you?” I decided early on that accomplishing my goals would not be undermined by the lack of effort. I would go the extra mile again and again to prepare myself. That preparation led to greater confidence while strengthening my tools and abilities.

Perform. The world can be aggressive and, ultimately, performance counts.  You may be the hardest worker on the planet but results matter…in school, in baseball, in business, and in life. Get the job done or, better yet, perform to exceed expectations. Baseball prospects learn that “someone is always watching”. How you perform and how you conduct yourself personally and professionally can make a difference, positive or negative, in the long run.

Persist. Adversity may strike, situations will change, and competition can intensify. Persevering can be key. You are more in the driver’s seat than you may think at times. Failure can be common but the real tragedy in failing is not rising above it.  Very often, you will need to battle through and move past the obstacles while always searching for better, more creative ways to reach your goals. Sometimes those goals won’t be realized regardless of your best efforts. When that happens, look deeper for all the lessons learned and apply them as you begin to explore new paths, opportunities, and relationships.

Little did I know while I was playing baseball that this same exact approach—prepare, perform, persist—would guide me as I transitioned from professional sports to full-time college studies to an entirely new career. After spending two decades with the game I love, looking ahead to many years in the big leagues, and devoting all of my time, effort, and heart to becoming the best baseball player I could be, my climb to Major League Baseball was derailed by injury. It was time for other doors to open and although the bulk of my experience was as an athlete, the fundamentals of achieving success in the classroom and in business would be the same regardless of what was behind those doors. It’s not always about where you start but where you finish. The values that propelled me as an athlete continue to drive the accomplishment that I strive to attain today and tomorrow.

Chris graduated in 2016 from the University of Pennsylvania. He currently is a Financial Analyst with Wells Fargo in Philadelphia. Click here to connect with Chris on LinkedIn. 

4 Responses to “Baseball and Beyond”

  1. Matt says:

    Great stuff!

  2. JR Sweet says:

    Top notch kid! Success is worthy of hard work in any vocation. Focus , delayed gratification and persistence is the key to happiness!

  3. Marty says:

    Chris

    Thanks for writing this article. Life is full of surprises but hard work, strong goals and a never quit attitude will take you to where we are intended to be by a power greater than ourselves. Once that’s established there is no limit what you can achieve when the desire is present.

  4. Mark Knudson says:

    Chris hits it on the barrel when he says “talent alone is not enough.” Persistence is the best character trait any athlete can have at any level. Nice work.

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