Too good to lose, not good enough to win

Seven hits and more than a dozen walks. The Mets had 20 men on base in Wednesday afternoon’s game—and scored exactly one run. The White Sox tied it up in the eighth, and the frustration continued for five more innings as I thought about the air conditioning back in my office. The Mets were not bad enough to lose, but not quite good enough to win, either.

Business writing is often like that. And as a writer—and as an audience member—it drives me crazy. I’m not saying our clients need to swing for the fences every time. Not every utterance needs to be provocative or world-changing. But so often, they fear anything that strays from the mom-and-apple-pie norm.

Talk about your successes, yes—but be honest about your struggles, too. Because overcoming those struggles put you in the position to achieve those successes. When you have the opportunity to reach an audience, whether through a speech or in writing, use that opportunity to say something. Fill the empty space with something worth your audience’s while. Be good enough to win.

Sometimes that requires taking a risk. But that’s the only way to get the reward.

As for the game, well the White Sox play in the American League, where  designated hitters bat in place of the pitchers. But by the 13th inning yesterday, the Sox were out of options so they sent their relief pitcher to the plate. He’s only stood in the batter’s box three times in his entire career. Risk? You bet.

The guy hit a double—I can still hear the crack of the ball on his bat. A couple plays later, he scored the winning run. [Sigh.] Risk often leads to reward. I wish the Mets had thought of that.