I listen to a great deal of content from some top-notch people. I use some of my personal heroes as a barometer to let me know I the things I think are lining up. Sometimes you get a little fuzzy about what matters and what doesn’t and the “gong” of a leaders voice can help focus that. One of the individuals that I listen to the most is Gary Vaynerchuk. Describing Gary V. is almost impossible in such a small space but if there was a see saw where people sat on one side and brands sat on the other, Gary V. is the guy making sure that the fulcrum is in the right position. Basically, he understands how people work and tries to help brands do the same.

In any case, he’s a pretty constant source of quotes and one-liners but the other day, I think I heard my favourite.

“Winners give winners at bats” – Gary V.

Now what does that mean? Well, to me it all goes back to a conversation I had with one of my favourite marketers, Ross Simmonds.

There’s nothing specific in the conversation that matched what Gary V. was talking about in this quote. At the time of this meeting, I was a relative nobody. I’d been doing a few hours of work here and there while raising my children full-time. I’d dabbled in trying to get my business moving, but I’d had little success. And so I turned to Ross.

At this point I hardly knew Ross. We were casual Internet acquaintances. We didn’t run in the same social or professional circles. I’d merely heard Ross speak and loved what I saw. At the time he was travelling all over the world, speaking about the various ways he’d been successful at building himself and his brand. He’d just produced a book outlining his path to billing $250,000 in consulting in a two-year span. And I was a full-time dad and very part-time web guy, trying to figure out exactly what to do with my life.

Looking back, there’s every reason that Ross should have blown me off. I was able to offer him virtually nothing in return. I had no specific knowledge to share with him, nor a product to barter, nor a service to offer. I was not a gateway to an introduction that he needed. So why did Ross agree to a late night coffee meeting at a Starbucks in the North End of Halifax?

Because winners give winners at bats.

Obviously, we have to be somewhat frugal with our time sometimes. I won’t sacrifice important time with my family. I won’t sacrifice finishing projects that my clients are depending on me for. I won’t sacrifice sleep. But there’s lots to give up in our lives. I’ve finished Stranger Things…a few times. I know what’s going on with Game of Thrones and now I’m working my way through Once Upon a Time for the second time. I just won a Super Bowl as the coach of the Los Angeles Raiders in Madden 18 and I’m 4 games into my first season as head coach and general manager of the Halifax Rebels in NHL 18. The point? I have some free time.

So when I’m asked, by people that I think are in it to win it, for some of my time, I give it. Because winners give winners at bats. It’s not just about recognizing the potential in others but also understanding that we’re our best selves when we’re offering to support others. I’ve helped people plan and execute small social media consultancies and web development agencies because I’m very comfortable with what I’m doing in that space and because cooperation breeds cooperation.

Sometimes people are going to ask for a bit of your time. They’re going to have nothing to offer you in return. They’re not a stepping-stone to the next level. They’re just someone looking for some guidance and support on their journey. And if it is remotely within your power to help them out, do it.

Because winners give winners at bats.