Baseball and business are two games with similar rules.

You get three swings (strikes). If you miss, take a break.
Three fails (outs): let the competition take their turn.
The smallest hit (bunt) can be the biggest success.
The longest hit (homerun) is widely celebrated and is only temporary.

There are many more. But that’s for another post.
I’m on a baseball kick, partly because I spend 18 hours a week on the diamond coaching my son, and partly because baseball’s in my summer blood.

With this baseball drive, nostalgia about my favorite baseball movies keeps me up past my bedtime. Last night, I watched “Field of Dreams” starring Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones.

For years, I thought “Field of Dreams” was about going after your dreams, not listening to the naysayers, and dreaming for a better tomorrow.

After watching again, I think the real lesson is under the covers of the broad message.

There’s a scene near the end when Shoeless Joe Jackson invites Terrence Mann to join him in heaven. Ray Kinsella gets offended. He confronts Joe and says he wants to go. He deserves to go. He built the ballfield.

Joe questions Ray, “Is that why you did this, For you”?

Ray steps back and realizes his selfishness. He did it for them. He had an idea. He acted on it. He got caught up in the moment and forgot that Shoeless Joe was his father’s hero. Not his. He didn’t do this for him, he did it for his dad.

At that moment, true reconciliation could occur as one of the players is recognized as his dad (because he’s dead too). Playing a game of catch together mended their broken relationship.
Field of Dreams isn’t about building a business so it can serve you.
It’s about serving others so that it can build you. By giving others their dreams, one day by magic, your dreams can come true.

Simon Sinek writes about this in “Leaders Eat Last.” Before you can get what you want, you must first give them what they want.

“They” is everyone but you.

In talking to a nurse, I discovered there is a severe shortage of nurses. Hospitals are closing earlier. Emergency rooms are closed over weekends, and ambulances are being routed to hospitals an hour away because there is a lack of nurses to work.

The local universities graduate 300 nurses every year. So why do hospitals not have enough nurses?

Not all nurses go to work in hospitals.
Hospitals require nurses to work shiftwork, weekends, late nights, and a rotating schedule.
Young nurses have kids, friends, and families.
Rotating schedules is the bug spray to quality family life.

The average salary of a nurse is roughly $40,000 less per year than what pharmaceutical companies are willing to pay.

Nurses are poised to serve. That’s what attracted them to the profession.
But once they arrive, they quickly realize there’s no one to serve them.

Learning from the lessons of “Field of Dreams” and what’s currently going on in a caring business like healthcare, you need to take warning that your business is in trouble as well.

The greatest employees you’ll ever have are the ones that carry you and your business in their hearts. Like nurses, they serve your customers with the care and attention to detail to not lose a single person.

Your competitors are looking for those employees.
Your customers recognize their caring attitudes and will offer them more money to leave than you think you can afford.
It’s those employees who just want to be cared for the same way they care for you.

So take care of them.

When you have served enough people the opportunity to achieve their dreams, you get to reconcile your past mistakes and achieve your “real” dream.

Your business is the ball field.
Although you may love it, the game is not your dream. It’s someone else’s.

Your dream is greater than the game.
It’s only by building the field and putting everyone’s needs ahead of yours that your true dream can come true.