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The Closer: 4 Lessons from Mariano Rivera's Retirement

baseball . / Credit: Anthony Correia /

Yankees great Mariano Rivera announced today (March 9) that he had made up his mind on one of the toughest decisions a worker will face in his career: when is it time to retire? Though Rivera is far from a typical 9-to-5 worker, his career in baseball provides some life lessons that all workers can learn from and apply to their own journey. 

  • Have a short memory— Rivera has thrived in his role as a closer , saving more games than other player in history, where his ultimate responsibility is to preserve a win for his team. The flip side of that equation is that Rivera is also responsible for a loss if he is unable to do his job. Despite the stresses of his position, Rivera is praised by teammates and coaches alike for his ability to forget about losses and move on with his job.  That ability to quickly forget about failures can serve as a reminder to workers, business owners and entrepreneurs alike, especially since there is a high probability they will experience some disappointment in their journeys as well.  
  • Perfect your one skill— Rivera has relied upon one pitch — a cut fastball — throughout his nearly 20-year career.  Though he does have a few other pitches in his repertoire, Rivera's cut fastball has been his go-to pitch during his baseball career. Rivera's reliance upon that one pitch shows business owners and workers the importance of picking one specific skill and perfecting it to ensure later successes.
  • Remain humble— Even though most of the blame goes to him when he loses, Rivera is always reticent to accept praise in victories. After closing games, Rivera gives accolades to his teammates, while also accepting responsibility for losses, showing workers the right way to handle both defeat and victory.   
  • Lead by example — Despite extraordinary success in his playing career, Rivera is well regarded by teammates and other players for his professionalism in the game. After each save, Rivera walks off the mound, shakes the hand of his catcher and joins his teammates in celebration. By not celebrating each individual victory with emphatic gestures, Rivera kept himself grounded in his baseball career. Rivera is also well-known among teammates for being a great example to younger players, teaching many of his Yankees teammates how to throw his signature pitch. 

Email David Mielach or follow him @D_M89. Follow us @bndarticlesFacebook or Google+.

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