How To Be The Best In Your Profession: 6 Lessons From Cliff Lee


This past Friday the best pitcher in baseball Cliff Lee was traded from the Seattle Mariners to the Texas Rangers.  It was the third time in less than two years that Lee had switched teams.  As I was listening to ESPN Radio’s analysis of the trade, it was noted that it was Lee’s approach that put him at the top of his profession.

Upon hearing that statement, I began to research what was unique about Lee’s approach and what we could learn from it.  Could changes in our approach help us become the best in our chosen profession?  With help from a number of sources including Mike McCall of, the following are some of the practices that make up Lee’s successful approach to life:

  1. Options – Lee has command over five pitches while most major leaguers have control of only two or three.  Leaders, for more about how to diversify your skills and get as many options as possible, click here.
  2. Focus – He developed this broad-based package of pitches because “he put his mind to it”.  Leaders, what are you putting your mind to?
  3. Confidence – As a result of his options and focus, he is never afraid to trust his preparation and throw any of the five pitches. Also, confidence is determined by our memory, not the current scoreboard of our life.  Leaders, do you find confidence in your preparation?
  4. Others – Lee had become a great tutor for Seattle pitchers Jason Vargis and Doug Fisher.  They hated to see him go.  A quality approach to life is one that is generous and benefits others.  Leaders, who are you investing in? 
  5. Perspective – After being with now four teams in less than two years, Lee understands that baseball is a business first.  He is very flexible and keeps the bigger picture in mind.
  6. Evaluated Experience – It’s been said experience is life’s best teacher.  That statement is false.  Experience that has been properly evaluated is life’s best teacher.  Lee was 4-0 with a 1.56 in last year’s post-season.  That experience and his learnings give him a sense of calm as he approaches games moving forward.

Options, Relationships, Confidence, Externally-Focused, a Proper Perspective, and Evaluated Experience.  Leaders, how are you doing in these six areas?  Let us know what approaches work best for you?

To get future insights on leadership, click here.

About Brian Dodd on Leadership

I am a church stewardship and leadership consultant for INJOY Stewardship Solutions. This blog combines my personal passions of church, sports, pop culture and family into a single leadership resource. I trust your time on this site will create conversations and add value to your life.

2 Responses to “How To Be The Best In Your Profession: 6 Lessons From Cliff Lee”

  1. qadvocate RT @BrianKDodd: How To Be The Best In Your Profession: 6 Lessons From Cliff Lee : #leadership

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