Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly recently sent a letter to his baseball team encouraging them to think about “the little things” before they show up for spring training. His letter contains some important lessons for anyone who is wanting to succeed in sports, business, leadership, and even relationships. But first, here’s the letter:
Now, here are the lessons:
“Little things mean a lot.”
Mattingly is 100% correct in this. So many of us want to fast forward to the big stage, the spotlight, the raise, the promotion, the notoriety, and more. But we fail to realize that those things come as the result of being diligent in the little things that are actually the building blocks to success and significance.
The “big things” in your business and in your life cannot and will not happen without someone (you) being willing to do the hundred “little things” that create the opportunity for something “big” to happen. This means that the person who is able to see the value in the “little things” and is willing to do them will make himself or herself invaluable to his or her organization.
Embrace the “little things” and you will see your influence grow.
Little things emphasize teamwork, which leads to success for the team.
Mattingly, in his letter, tells his team that he believes they will emerge as contenders this season. But that will only happen if the team truly functions as a team. And the little things emphasize teamwork.
As Mattingly alludes to, on a team there will be people who hit game-winning home runs and get all the attention. But the team will know that the opportunity for that big hit was created because someone did a little thing, sacrificing himself for the team’s benefit. All good teams must have this dynamic.
Sometimes you are the hero that everyone applauds and sometimes you are the unsung hero whose contributions do not get wide-spread acclaim. And if you want your team – or family or church – to succeed, you will be just as willing to do the behind-the-scenes work as much as you desire to get the applause.
The philosophy that little things matter is taught and passed on to others.
At the end of the letter, Mattingly states that his letter was actually a copy of a letter that another baseball manager sent to his team 30 years earlier. That team’s emphasis on “the little things” led to great success for that team, and Mattingly wants his team to experience the same kind of success.
In order to experience that, Mattingly must pass on to his team what he learned from those who came before him.
We must do the same.
Our colleagues, teammates, neighbors, and children need to see us placing importance on the little things so that they will learn just how important those things are in creating a fulfilling career and life.
And there’s no time like the present.
What “little thing” can you do today that will lead to success tomorrow?