If you are following the current baseball season, you have seen the ongoing farewell tour for NY Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter. This is Jeter’s twentieth and final season in the big league. Much like last season’s farewell for Yankee reliever Mariano Rivera, the process has become something of a circus, with each team looking for novel ways to honour the retiring superstar.
The other side of the story is how the Yankees and Jeter have had to manage the expectations of those he is visiting. With local media in each city begging for some face-time with the man of the hour, it has been left to Jason Zillo, Yankees director of media relations, to keep the hounds at bay. How has he done it?
Zillo was quoted in the Globe and Mail saying: “The toughest thing has just been trying to manage everybody’s expectations from a media point of view. I’ve had to learn to say no about 10,000 times this year.” (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/baseball/for-jeter-the-farewell-gifts-keep-piling-up/article20714586/)
Saying no can be difficult, especially when we are trying to please others. Parents know this as they seek to please their kids but curb their desire for treats. Employers know this when they have some success, but cannot meet the desire for greater pay and still meet budget. Perhaps you know this personally from your own experience. Which of us has not agonized over having to say no when we wanted to say yes. The reality of the situation meant we had to “play the heavy” and say no. I’ve been that person more times than I’d care to remember.
Perhaps one other thing Zillo said can help us as we seek to manage those expectations, even with a, “sorry, but no.” He adds, “Derek said it in spring training and he’s been consistent with it all year: His primary and main focus is to win baseball games.” There it is, the reality behind the necessity to say no. For Jeter, as for each of us, the good can distract from the main purpose. Zillo took his cues from Jeter, and said no to anything that might interfere with that.
How about you? Are you learning to say “no” when what is being requested interferes with your main purpose? For each one of us, managing those expectations of us may well mean saying a polite but firm, “No.”
© Brian F. Reynolds BFRspace 2014
“What do you expect? The question you need to ask!” is now available in paperback for $20 (Can) from Scarlet Cord Press (.).