Following the A's = productivity down, inspiration up.

As a business owner, there are always a thousand things I could be doing: updating my website, reaching out to new and current clients, planning art workshops—the list goes on and on. So what did I do when I got home from my weekly Thursday morning networking meeting?

I turned on the sports radio station I'd been listening to in the car (at 9:30 am—the game doesn't start until 6:30 tonight), wandered around in the studio a while, then made this little sign for my front window.

I've been an A's fan since 2000, when a similar team full of unknowns and has-beens cobbled together a great run of about 6 play-off seasons in a row. (Maybe you've read or seen "Moneyball?") My girls caught A's fever at then-ages 2 and 7. I got swept up in their enthusiasm for a team whose mascot is literally a "white elephant," as in "something nobody else wants."

As a professional repurposer, I LOVE THIS!

The Oakland Athletics are also a team that, in the world of uber-outrageous player salaries, "scrapes by" on a payroll about one-fourth the size of the New York Yankees' and less than half that of our quasi-rivals across the bay, the SF Giants. Out of the 30 major league teams, the Oakland A's rank dead last in team salaries.

In case you missed it, the A's made the playoffs last week by squeaking past the dominant Texas Rangers (5th highest payroll) in the last game of the regular season. We owned first place for exactly one day, but it was the only day that mattered. By that time we had five rookies in our starting pitching rotation. Tonight one of them will be pitching against last year's Cy Young and Most Valuable Player Award winner, i.e. the best pitcher in the league. He's ready, no problem.

As a young player said after last night's bottom-of-the-ninth-inning come-from-behind-win (the A's 15th such win this year), "We're too stupid to know we're not supposed to be winning these games."

I'd like to harness that attitude in my professional and personal life.

To some extent I already have:

  • I started HandyGal with no formal training in business—just an entrepreneurial spirit and a willingness to learn. (And an unwillingness to continue on the soul-draining path I'd been on.) Friends watching me were way more worried than I was.
  • I enrolled in a martial arts class at age 40. At age 46 I tested for my black belt. Most of the 17 other candidates were in high school or college. (I passed; some of them did not.) Pretty sure I can do more pushups now at 47 than I could at age 17.

So even though the playoffs are driving my productivity down, there's plenty of inspiration to take away from all the A's record-breaking season of never-been-done's.

My wish for all of us is this:

To use "BECAUSE IT'S NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE" as an invitation, not an excuse.

Oakland's mayor Jean Quan released a statement last week congratulating the A's on winning their division, saying "...Just like the great City where they play, no one should count them out or underestimate what they can do." Amen to that!