It’s time for baseball’s 2017 World Series, and I’m excited about watching it! Maybe that’s why when a friend shared his philosophy on business success using a baseball analogy I couldn’t resist sharing it with you.

“Your work career,” my friend told me, “is like playing in a quadruple-elimination baseball tournament. Every time you lose (or fail to achieve your work goals), you get dropped into the loser’s bracket. It then becomes more difficult at each level to achieve success and to work your way out of that bracket.”

What’s more, it becomes a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy at some point that you continue to fail because you put yourself in a position where the opportunities you’re getting are not great (or even good). Maybe the job you end up with is not with a preferred company. Maybe the pay is not fair. Maybe you’re stuck with bad products. In any case, these lesser opportunities often will not move you toward success.

On the flip side, if you win, you get to stay in the winner’s bracket. The opportunities are good there and probably will get even better. In this position, the likelihood of continuing to win increases.


The Value of Being Well Positioned

The moral of the story, my friend told me, is that how you’re doing at your job today has bearing on what you’ll be doing tomorrow.

If you aren’t very successful at your job, it might very well be the best job you will ever have. Yes, that’s harsh, but you have to be successful to get more successful. And it’s all easier if you’re well positioned.

If you are successful now, at the job you have today, you likely will have many opportunities to further improve your work situation and become even more successful. Tim Kaine said it best: “In life, success begets success.

To offer another baseball analogy, he said, “It’s sort of like everyone starts on a AAA, or triple A, minor league team. If you fail, you go to double A. Fail again, and you’re at single A. Keep failing, and eventually you’re out. But if you succeed at triple A, you move up to the Major League. You make it to “The Show.” Succeed there, and you become a high-priced free agent.” You get the picture.

Everyone’s life has its ups and downs, but it doesn’t have to be terribly hard. Sometimes people make life hard by boxing themselves into an unfortunate situation. Are you on your way to your very own Show? Do what you do better—do that every day consistently—and you’ll get there.