Develop the real you:
“Babo” was a gang member growing up in North East Los Angeles in the 1960’s and 70’s. However, while he was running around with all his homeboys and homegirls from Lincoln Heights, he also discovered something special about himself that just came naturally, and that was his ability to throw a baseball. But he didn’t just stop there with this discovery. He also had the good fortune of supportive parents who encouraged his talent and a great High School coach who helped him develop his natural talents, which ultimately lead to being drafted by a professional baseball team, the Kansas City Royals, which lead to a wonderful career pitching for his childhood dream team, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Of course I am leaving out a lot in a long story of success, but there are several lessons we can learn from the journey of Robert “Bobby” Castillo, the great relief pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers and member of their World Championship team in 1981.
1. Don’t let others side track you – Bobby Castillo stuck to who he really was. First, he realized he could not be a professional ball player and still continue on as a dedicated gang member. He had to decide which script he was going to live out: who he really was, or who he thought he was. Obviously he made the right choice, but not everyone does. Secondly, when he was drafted by the Kansas City Royals, they drafted him as a third baseman, and not as a pitcher. Now Bobby was a great all-around player, but his primary, most natural position, was that of a pitcher, not as third baseman. Once he discovered that the Kansas City organization was not going to let him “be who he really was”, he resigned and went to the Mexican league because there they would let him prove he could pitch at the professional and major league level (where, by the way, he met Fernando Valenzuela and taught him how to throw his famous screw-ball, for those of you baseball fans). Bobby had discovered who he really was and stuck to it. He then worked hard to develop it to the point where he was selected and signed by one of the most prestigious professional sports franchises in America, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
2. Developing yourself takes courage – This is a great example of the kind of courage I am talking about for leaders who want to move from the margins to the mainstream and stand out amongst your peers. It took a lot of faith and courage for Bobby to let go of his gang homeboys to pursue his baseball career. It took courage to let go of an American professional contract for a contract for less money and prestige in the Mexican league. But both of those decision were based on the success secrets of discovering the real you and the courage to believe in yourself and let go of whatever obstacles one might encounter on the journey to personal growth and development.
“To dream anything you want to dream – that is the beauty of the human mind. To do anything you want to do – that is the beauty of the human will. To trust yourself to test your limits- that is the courage to succeed.”-Bernard Edmonds
3. The twin “D’s” of all development: Dedication and Discipline – Oftentimes when we are looking at the success of someone, our tendency is to only focus on the end result and forget about the process one has to go through to achieve their dream. This is why listening to a successful person tell their story is so important because that’s how we can learn all the things it takes for us to develop ourselves into our peak potential as an individual performer or professional. As I have listened to and read the stories of the best of the best athletes that set the world records and won the championships over and again, there is one theme that runs through all their stories and that is hard work, extra work, and doing more work than everyone else on the team.
Fans only see the game performance, but what they don’t see is the discipline and dedication great performers practice and practice and practice to complete exhaustion that makes for the great performances in the “clutch” – pressure situations.
We can say that we already “know all this”, but the difference is, who is willing to take what they know and pay the price in development that separates you from the crowd as a one of a kind leader that even leaders follow? One thing I learned long ago and have remained true to is; while others are “playing” you must be “paying” if you want to be a cut above. Natural talent will get us into the mainstream, dedication and discipline will keep us there year after year.