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Fatherhood Lessons From a Major League Pitcher

One of the biggest lessons that I learned from my dad was to not let other people’s opinions have an effect on us.

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Excerpted from Lasting Impact: How to Create a Life and Business That Live Beyond You which you can find here.

I have a good friend, Todd Stottlemyre, whose story of his father and then his own children is inspiring because of the impact that his dad had on him and he now has on his children.

You may be familiar with the name Mel Stottlemyre. He is a Hall of Fame New York Yankee who played on some of the best teams the Yankees ever produced. He was teammates with legends like Mickey Mantle. Now Mel even has his own statue at Yankee Stadium. Now that is legendary!

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For this chapter, I reached out to Todd to ask him what it was like to grow up with a father who was a legendary player on one of the five greatest franchises in sports history in the biggest media market in the United States. What Todd wrote was eye opening and heartwarming at the same time. Here’s what Todd says about growing up with his dad and the lessons that he learned.

“Our dad taught us a lot of great lessons. One of the biggest lessons that I learned from my dad was to not let other people’s opinions have an effect on us. You can imagine how being a professional athlete in the New York City media market, that there were all sorts of opinions about my dad and the other players. But he never let it affect him. He taught us the same thing and that has been a powerful lesson for us.

“We grew up around legends in what they call ‘the House that Ruth Built.’ We called it the School of Champions. The people that I got to meet made a profound impact on me as a young man.

“My dad was an incredible human being. He wasn’t perfect of course, but he was an amazing father. Even when I failed in many ways in my life, I always had a point to go back to. He was a set point for me that allowed me to know what the standard was, a standard that I live now for my children.

“The day that my father died it was all over the news. They interviewed teammates, his players, managers, and owners, and the one thing that was amazing was that they all talked about Mel Stottlemyre the person, not the ball player. Everybody talked about Mel Stottlemyre the person!

“People love to look up to my father as a person but what we knew as his family was that he was ten times the person privately as he was publicly. Even in fighting the war of cancer he always made sure that everyone else felt better. He was always thinking of other people. It made me want to always ask about how I can leave other people better.

“The biggest lesson that my father taught me was to ask the question is this the best that I can do? Whether it be my role as a dad, husband, brother, friend, or business person, I want to always be the best version of myself that I can, and I learned that from my father, Hall of Fame New York Yankee who was even more so a Hall of Fame father.”

What a great legacy. How can I make the same kind of impact?

Well, first of all we have to be right in order to teach right. The best thing you can do for your children is to be the best version of yourself. Make sure that you are constantly growing and becoming better.

We must also spend time with our children. I know this can be difficult when they are little because of how busy we get with work and life but it is imperative that we spend time with our children in order to teach them the lessons we need to teach them.

There’s always been a debate about quality time versus quantity time. I believe it needs to be both. I’ve always thought it would be funny to see a cartoon where a dad was sitting in his chair reading a book called How to Be a Great Father as his young child is standing there with a baseball glove asking him to go play. The dad tells him that he can’t because he’s reading a book about how to be a great father. Reading and thinking about it is not where it ends. You have to go do it.

Pick up your copy of Lasting Impact: How to Create a Life and Business That Live Beyond You right here.

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Chris is one of the World's Top 50 Speakers, member of the Motivational Speakers Hall of Fame, and one of Inc. Magazine's Top 100 Leadership Speakers. He considers it a privilege to be able to speak to people, help them lead successful lives, become extraordinary leaders and, masterful salespeople. Chris has authored twenty books with three million copies in print in 13 languages and over 450 articles on success, leadership, sales and motivation.



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Faith

Seek Out the Good in Others

If you try, you can find at least one thing admirable in everyone you meet.

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Will Rogers, a political satirist, entertainer, and beloved figure in the first half of the twentieth century allegedly said, “I never met a man I didn’t like.” Many people have interpreted Will Rogers to have meant that he could find something admirable in everyone he met. So, too, can we all.

Something Admirable

Is there a co-worker with whom you have had a nasty relationship? Is there something good about this co-worker that you can draw upon, so that you can actually say something nice to him/her at your next encounter?

Is there a neighbor with whom you have had a continuing squabble? What would it do to your relationship if you sent your neighbor a card or a brief note that said something along the lines of, “I noticed how lovely your garden was the other day and wanted to let you know that I appreciate the work you’ve done in maintaining it.” Too syrupy, or, pardon the expression, too flowery?  Guess again.

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You’re on this planet for finite amount of time. Do you want to go through your life trading hostilities with people, never having the where-with-all to restore some semblance of civility to the relationship?

Finding the Good

Try thinking of and listing five people who you may not have a good relationship with but can acknowledge. Next to each person’s name, write what is good about them. Do they maintain a nice garden? Here are some ideas for you in case you’re drawing a blank. This person…

* Is kind to the receptionist at work.
* Turns assignments in on time, and hence, supports the team.
* Walks softly past your office, so as not to disturb you.
* Greets you in the morning when you arrive.
* Maintains his or her office well.

Away from work, here are some ideas for finding the good in others:
* Keeps the street in front of the yard free of debris.
* Is respectful of others’ needs for quiet.
* Dresses well.
* Has well-behaved children.
* Drives safely in the neighborhood.

If you try, you’ll find something good!

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Faith

Reducing Stress Through Prayer, and More

Taking a few minutes out of a hectic day can spell the difference between frenzy and tranquility

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Prayer has been an effective method for soothing the soul since people first believed in God. For some people, the payoff comes with sitting still, and being quiet. Many feel a direct connection with God which, in itself, is calming. Those who attend a place of worship every Sunday find that praying with others is comforting. Reverence to God, fellowship, and familiar chants and hymns can all aid in reducing stress and bringing inner contentment.

If you haven’t prayed in a while, in addition to the religious aspects, the stress reduction can be magnificent. Even if you never attend a formal prayer service, informal prayer, by your bedside, in a comfortable chair, or somewhere in nature can work as well. Some of the most accomplished and admirable people who have ever walked this earth have been deeply religious and have found great comfort in prayer.

Other Options

In our rush-rush society, your ability to take a few minutes out of a hectic day can spell the difference between frenzy and tranquility. The majority of stress we experience is a result of the daily deluge of information and communication we come in contact with on top of the amount of tasks we need to accomplish. If you have been experiencing severe stress, it might mean the difference between a long life and a shortened one.

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People have long used drugs (prescribed and otherwise!) and medications to achieve certain effects. I’m not knocking all of these substances – some of them probably live up to their mystique; however, there is no need to engage in drugs, considering there are so many other ways to effectively reduce stress.

Amidst the flurry of reports from medical researchers, many people also rely on a glass or two of wine each day to relax. If this is your habit, and it works for you, you’re probably on reasonably safe ground. The latest research, however, paints a less rosy picture about wine’s beneficial effects. I’m concerned, as well, about the long-term effects of having two glasses of wine, 365 days a year, for 10 or 20 years.

Change for Real

It often seems like people around you are enamored by some techniques such as meditation or yoga, but in reality, most people who practice these or other techniques do so only a handful of times. Then, they revert back to what they did previously.

The changes that you implement need to come without too much pain, to be subtle, even natural and easy. Otherwise, you probably won’t stick with them. Lasting and effective change can come from small incremental change. So, keep in mind that not every technique will strike your fancy. Enough of them will fit your lifestyle, and will work for you enough of the time for you to stay with them and to ultimately exercise control in ways that you have always wanted.

Talking to Someone

The mere act of talking to someone about issues confronting you can be stress reducing, and certainly more effective than mentally stewing over things alone. In The Psychological Society, author Martin L. Gross concluded that “the modern industry of psychology in America was no more effective in treating patients than witch doctors in Africa were in treating people who came to them.”

The key was whether or not the patient believed that the doctor had healing powers. Hence, if you believe that a witch doctor can help you, then a witch doctor can be as effective as a psychiatrist. A trusted friend or relative, with whom you can discuss your problems, can be equally effective.

The idea of talking to someone about what is stressing you is not so much that you will find a solution then and there, but that the mere physical act of discussing the stressor moves you closer to resolution, perhaps using one of the techniques discussed in this article.

Using Humor

Throughout the ages, humor has also been a primary tool in helping to reduce stress. Don’t discount the power of humor before trying it. If it’s been a while, or forever, since you’ve engaged in humor to reduce stress, you’re in for a treat. I’m not talking about jokes or side-splitting belly laughs, but rather a gleeful, playful acceptance of the inane and absurd situations that you encounter, and as a business owner you have your share of them.

The ability to laugh at yourself or to laugh at your situation might spell the fundamental difference between those who show resilience in the face of hard times, and those who face nervous breakdowns.

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