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What Is Your Ready Stance?
When You're Running a Rapid-Fire Game
Though I’m a born-and-bred New Yorker, I spent most childhood weekends and summers in my parents’ cabin in the far reaches of northwestern Connecticut. It was a world apart from my NYC reality.
One of my favorite childhood pastimes was playing solo baseball against a stonewall on the back lawn. It was a beautiful, imperfect wall of granite rocks curved in a convex arc. I would stand in the lawn roughly a pitcher's distance from the center of the wall, pretend I was one of the 1986 New York Mets pitchers (usually Ron Darling or Doc Gooden), and pitch a tennis ball against the stone wall. Because of the stone wall's imperfections, the ball bounced at extreme angles in the same way a batter might hit the ball down the third baseline or far into right field.
When it careened off the wall towards third base, I’d run to field the grounder, pretending I was Wally Backman on 3rd, throw it back at the wall and field that ball as if it was coming to first to close out the play. It was frantic and fun and so addictive: a fast-paced frenetic game that my boundless young-lad energy thrived on.
Here’s why I bring this up. During the course of the game, there were essentially two modes of game I would play. One mode was pure, wild; flailing about to keep up with the ball. Just hopelessly sending myself by leaps and dives into grass stains and knee slams. Fun, a little out of control, and certainly less effective by objective measures.
The other mode was what I call the always-getting-to-ready stance. Because here’s the thing: from the moment the ball left my hand, I had max one second to get my body ready to launch in whatever direction the wall’s crannies dictated of the ball. There was still a lot of full-send energy, but when it came from a ready stance, I barely ever missed.
I bring up this anecdote because sometimes our life and work is like this. Whether by habit or circumstance, sometimes we play the rapid-fire game. And when we are in this mode, a lot of the productivity frameworks and systems go out the window. There is no “hell yea or no” when you’re grinding a passion side hustle in your off hours. Pomodoro technique is a fantasy when you’re in a rapid sprint to minimum viable product. The Eisenhower Matrix is just another chore on a pile of chores when you’ve got hairy goals and beastly deadlines. Sometimes that’s the game we play.
So when you’re in the rapid-fire game, what’s your ready stance? What’s the minimum viable somatic and mental adjustment you make between rapid-fire actions to get yourself back to ground? It’s pertinent for any creative or entrepreneurial work. These times in our lives, these projects that we undertake that are so meaningful for us, we must find the ready stance that enables us to respond effectively, to weather the curve balls, to remain agile against the common crannies we face.
So in your big endeavor, what is your ready stance? How do you know you're in it? What feats of inner and outer hardiness does it enable in you? How is it ushering you to your success?
Photo Credit: Michael Grab “Gravity Glue”