What the Chicago Cubs can teach us about living a better story…

When you know who you are & Where you’re going…you can overcome anything.

The Chicago Cubs have spent the last 108 years mired in an infamous championship drought. Despite the loyal fan base they maintained their reputation as “lovable losers” that was until this group of 2016 Chicago Cubs decided to start living a better story.

Last winter Jason Heyward was one of the most sought after players in free agency. The protypical “Five Tool Player” who could do it all, hit for power, hit for contact, run the bases, catch and throw; and at 26 he would be a force to reckon with for years to come. At least that’s how the story was supposed to go. Heyward would go on to have the worst season of his young career. Struggling to hit consistently, he was even benched for parts of the playoffs most notably game one of the World Series. However, despite his personal struggles he remained a great teammate and continued to display a positive attitude, which brings us to a turning point in our story.

The cubs had battled back from a 3 games to 1 deficit in the series to force a winner take all game 7. In a back and forth affair that will go down arguably as one of the greatest baseball games ever, there was a brief intermission in the top of the 10th inning. With the Cubs on their heels, reeling from a blown lead, rain started to fall from the Ohio sky above and the players headed for cover. It was at that moment Jason Heyward decided to call his teammates together for an impromptu meeting in a cramped weight room under the stands.

Of all the people to call such a meeting, Jason Heyward would not have been the first to come to mind. Other options might include: Future Hall of Fame manager Joe Maddon, The presumptive MVP, third baseman Kris Bryant, or perhaps even the little used, but greatly respected 39 year old Catcher David Ross. The way this story usually plays out, Jason Heyward would have been sulking in a corner, begrudging his misfortunes. Instead he decided to push the plot forward in this epic story still in need of a conclusion.

The Cubs did indeed go on to win that game, coming out of that delay with a resiliency that was overwhelmingly evident. When the final out was made and the celebration had begun, reporters wanted to know how did the cubs find the resolve to battle back and overcome adversity, when history would tell us they should’ve collapsed and registered yet another forgettable chapter in their franchise’s existence? To a man, players began reciting the words Heyward spoke to them during the rain delay. Time after time, they sang the praises of this most unsung hero. When the reporters and cameras finally made their way over to Heyward he offered the following,

“I just had to remind them of who they were. I told them I love them and I’m proud of them, and I just had to remind them of how good they are.”

In any good story, there needs to be some form of character development. This happens when something or someone provides action, pushes the plot forward and the character changes as a result. While the Cubs spent the last century-plus developing the character of a loser, this year a new identity was birthed, the identity of a winner, one who would overcome all obstacles to pursue and fulfill their purpose.

In that cramped room, Jason Heyward held a mirror up to his teammates and offered them the chance to embrace a new identity. Once they were reminded of whom they were and what they were after they knew they could overcome any obstacle, and the same is true for us. We don’t need to look for obstacles, they usually find us. Instead we only need to know who we are and where were going. Those two powerful elements set us out on a trajectory that can help us navigate the ever present challenges that lie ahead. So today take the time to hold up the mirror in your own life, offer up a new identity, get crystal clear about your purpose and go overcome. After all in a moment the lovable losers became champions of the world. If the Chicago Cubs can do it, so can you!

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