The Real King Of New York: Lessons Of Success From The Career Of Derek Jeter
While mainstream rappers and hip hop artists trade words over who the reigns in the big apple, there is no discussion who the undisputed king of New York is when it comes to sports.
The monarch's name is Derek Jeter, he's the New York Yankees‘ captain, shortstop and the definition of a winner.
After five World Series Championships, five Gold Gloves, five Silver Slugger awards and becoming the undisputed leader of the game's most decorated franchise, the New Jersey native can best be described with two words: living legend.
And with the perennial All-Star earning himself another contract with the Yankees this month, it feels like a good time to revisit the captain's greatness with this list, the lessons of success we can take from the career of Derek Jeter:
Consistency Breeds Respect
Derek Jeter has never been a slugger. He's never even won a most valuable player award. Yet, he's spent over a decade as one of the league's most respected players. What can we attribute that to? If you ask this observer, it's consistency.
Year in and year out, Jeter has performed at the highest levels, earning 13 All-Star appearances. When the pressure was at its highest point, the shortstop's performances neither dipped nor peaked, it stayed at its usually great level.
In a world of lists that are full of suggestions regarding how to gain respect (keep a stern face, watch the tone of your voice, draw the line here, act like an a-hole there, etc.), we might do well to simply take a lesson from the Derek Jeter school of thought.
There's no need for the ups and downs, the hot streaks after the slumps. Just come into the workplace everyday, and consistently produce good work. Other people's reverence will follow.
Great Integrity = Great Legacy
When a baseball player gets exposed for using steroids, we're usually subject to the same song and dance. There's the denial, there's inevitable admission and then the go-to excuse: everybody was doing it.
It sounds like an easy out, but players who use this explanation may have a point. If their colleagues league-wide are popping substances like they're vitamins and improving their performances, it's easy to see why it would then be tempting to do the same.
At the end of the day, money, dreams and legacies are on the line, and nobody wants to see a competitor steal those away from him simply because that competitor didn't refuse a widely used advantage.
It's part of the reason we should find it hard to judge steroid offenders so harshly. What isn't hard though, is to say that those who had the strength of character to reject such temptation have a high level of integrity, and Derek Jeter is one such character.
While the Yankees' captain may have, unfairly, missed out on many awards to players who'd been juicing (like Alex Rodriguez and [the suspected] David Ortiz), those were just the short-term consequences of not giving into performance-enhancement drugs.
As more of the “cheaters” get exposed, Jeter's stock as a true legend increases. He is revered as a genuine superstar, a player who is deserving of every bit of praise he has and will get. While every other star is uncovered as a fraud, baseball looks to Derek Jeter as the real deal. His integrity has earned that right.
You Don't Have To Be “Out There” To Be Out There
The Yankees' captain doesn't have a Twitter account to use for random rants, nor is he a regular fixture on TMZ. In fact, whenever there is a gossip column or rumors about Derek Jeter's personal life, it stays just as that, gossip.
The reason is simple, Jeter is lowkey, and for a man who has the fame to be in the spotlight 24/7, he spends an awful lot of time out of it as well.
If he thinks he's the man, you wouldn't know it, because he never shouts it from the rooftops and rarely does he brag. But if he wanted to, it would definitely be easy to find reasons to do so.
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You Are Never, Under Any Circumstances, Predestined To Fail
When Derek Jeter averaged a mere .270 hitting average in 2010, the writing was on the wall. It was the worst figure that he had posted since his rookie season, and that year only provided a small sample size of 15 games.
The narrative for the 2011 season, then, was already written for the Yankees' shortstop. He was 36 at the time, going on 37, and was therefore destined to suffer a dip in form.
This was the beginning of the end for the living legend. Except it really wasn't, that is, once the season actually played out.
Jeter ended up improving to a .297 hitting average then really kicked up the next season, a year older and more “washed up,” as he posted an impressive .316 average while he was one home run shy of equaling the number of bombs he'd hit in the two previous seasons combined.
Jeter's success in defying the odds and postponing father time's plans when he was supposed to suffer a gradual decline teaches us one thing.
You're never, ever “supposed” to fail.
The Earlier You Achieve Great Things, The Less You Have To Talk
It's pretty harsh to praise Derek Jeter for his class and the way he handles himself with a sense of spite directed at other athletes.
After all, everyone can't be, and probably shouldn't be, expected to carry themselves with the confidence that the Yankees' shortstop has displayed throughout his career, simply because everyone hasn't had the benefit of starting their careers during a golden age for their team.
During his first five full seasons, Captain Fantastic was a significant part of an historic team that won four World Series in five years and appeared in six out of eight between 1996-2003.
By the time that amazing run was over, all Jeter had to do was let the rings talk. And so it can be for any of us as well. Just think about it.
How much convincing, how much campaigning and how many rehearsals in the mirror for your compelling argument will you need for that first interview if your resume is speaking the loudest?
If you come anywhere close to emulating the type of early, straight-out-of-rookie-year success that Derek Jeter had, in your respective field of course, the answer is “not much.”
Top Photo Credit: Getty Images
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