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Humility, Gratitude and “Silent” Words

July 4th, 2018

By Bob Gast

There is no “professional self” or “home self” or “personal self”.

We are who we are and wherever we go, ‘there we are’. The only question is whether we are learning, growing and breaking down the illusionary walls we have created. Sometimes the small and silent moments yield the largest hammers to breaking down barriers.

After I was drafted and signed by the California Angels, I was invited to work out with the team as they came to Baltimore for a series against the O’s. I was scheduled to throw for Buzzy Bavasi who was the GM at the time. I will never forget how surreal it was for me to walk into the clubhouse at Memorial Stadium where I watched the Orioles for years as I grew up. I never forgot how the then Angels manager, Jim Fregosi, looked up and said, “You that new kid they just signed?… get him a uniform!”

I had a “field of dreams” moment that day which still gives me goose bumps. After throwing in the bullpen and showing some good heat for the brass, I did my running with the other pitchers and was shagging fly balls during BP. As I was out there doing what I loved, I thought about how hard I had worked, against more than a few naysayers, and then I looked up at the upper right field bleacher seats where I remembered sitting with my Dad at my very first Oriole game when I was around 6 years old.

I know that my Dad did not always agree with all of my decisions but I realized right then that he always supported me and was my biggest fan. It all came flooding back and it was, for a moment that seemed to last longer than it did, like a reconciliation that had been long overdue. It seemed appropriate that I was able to find my Dad among the many friends who had come into the stadium by then. I remember catching his eye and just nodding to him as I walked in to the dugout and when I saw him nod back with a smile.

I knew that the reconciliation was complete without speaking a word. Some moments do not require words and yet “say” more than a thousand words could ever express. This was one of them. A couple of years later when I watched Field of Dreams, I knew exactly what Shoeless Joe meant when he told Ray, “No, Ray… it was YOU!” when Ray suggested that the voice which told him to build the field was for his father.

If we hope to grow, we need to always be open to those surprising moments when our prior weaknesses and those places where we were heretofore “stuck” can emerge and teach us. I would say that humility and gratitude are the key attributes to look for in determining a growth mindset. Leave the tired old “keywords” du-jour at the door and go deeper. You have to be in the moment – even if you are a numbers guy.

What good are numbers if you do not have the vision to “see” what they are really saying?

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