Earlier this week I stopped by a local Starbucks to get a cup of coffee on my way to an in-home meeting with a 2018 high-school draft prospect and his family.

As I waited for my cup of coffee, I looked closely at the coffee machine with all the beans piled up high in the grinder. I made this elementary perception; “Without the grinder, there is no coffee. Beans are just that, beans.”

Leadership works much the same way. You can spend all of your time trying to stay fresh and on the cutting edge as a baseball coach or scout by saying yes to everything and everyone, however at some point you have to be a strong grinder to not only be great at what you do as a coach or scout … but a great leader as well.

The daily grind gets a bad wrap. I’ve been around some who don’t even like the terminology “grinder.” Few, if any, wake up excited about the grind. That’s because most like taking the path of least resistance.

However what if that changed for you? What if each day you approached the grind as an opportunity to bring value into the lives of your teammate, staff or athletes you lead?  What if you equated the grind with your chance for influence? The grind, is never a grind, if you love what you do.

One of the keys to staying focused on the grind is the ability to say no! This is a skill that may leaders fail at and it impacts their ability to lead effectively. It will actually burn a leader out. They will soon become a “Dead Leader Running.”

As a leader, saying no is OK. You have permission. You must say “no” to some good things, so you can say “yes” to the best things!

If what you’re being asked to take on or do does not line up with your core mission and values as a team, staff, department or organization, it’s OK to say, No!

Walk away. Go the other direction. It may even be a good thing – but it’s not necessarily the best thing. Learn to say no and keep grinding forward.

The best leaders are the ones who consistently show up and discipline themselves to do the little things with excellence. Remember, never perfection, but always progress.

Embrace the grind, stay focused, stay disciplined and learn to say no. Doing so will maximize your influence!

Have a great week!