Yogi Berra kept baseball fans worldwide entertained for nearly two decades as catcher for the New York Yankees. But the sports icon left behind more than a passion for baseball, as he is also one of the most quoted personalities of our time. Mr. Berra and his “yogi-isms” have crept into our lives over the
years, giving us “It ain’t over till it’s over” and “You can observe a lot by watching.”
While many of his sayings hit home personally, one of my all time favorites- and one that I refer to often when talking to future leaders is about as simple and understated as can be. “When you come to the fork in the road, take it”. As leaders, we have opportunities to make decisions every day, yet too many of us spend our time pondering the alternatives without ever making a choice at all. And by the way, no decision is, in effect, a decision, too…a purposeful decision of inaction!
Mistakes Are Learning Opportunities
Despite what many of us think, great leaders are not born, but developed over time. And that’s great news when it comes to leadership because it means we can learn from our mistakes. Some of the wisest and most successful leaders in history made egregious mistakes- and that’s okay. By having the chance to make mistakes, you can build the insight necessary to not make the same mistake twice. It’s an invaluable opportunity and something many of us forget.
Learn To Go For It…Within Reason
You can’t win if you don’t play. Taking it one step further, you can’t expect great success if you don’t take chances. Here’s the tip. Many leaders make the mistake of overestimating risk, which creates fear and paralyzes, leaving them incapable of making decisions. It’s smart to think about the consequences of a wrong decision, but it’s not smart to let it render you powerless to choose. Learn to go for it within reason and when that fork in the road shows up, you’ll be ready to go. If by chance you choose the wrong fork, remember there is almost always the opportunity to make another, better and more informed decision…another fork in the road. Life and business is about making continuous decisions, so think of it like a long-term decision tree whose “forks” continue to offer more opportunity.