Conversations in Management: Morgan Ensberg, Astros Third Baseman

 


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"Unfortunately, I become so focused on the game that true enjoyment isn’t really there for me. " -Morgan Ensberg, Astros third baseman

Of all the things said about the 2005 World Series, this is probably the saddest. Every Series brings joy to some and despair to others in about equal measure. But as all things go, there wasn’t much to complain about this year. The White Sox hadn’t won a series since 1917 and the Astros made their first appearance in franchise history—certainly enough to please all the fans to one extent or another. And even though the Sox swept the Series; the games were close enough to make for some pretty exciting baseball. The Sox won, but it was no rout.

By most standards, things are looking pretty good for Morgan Ensberg, too. Professionally he’s a gifted player who keeps getting better. From his role on USC’s 1998 College World Series winning team to his 2005 career highs of 36 home runs and 101 RBIs with the ‘Stros, his value as a player just keeps growing. The $450,000 annual pay check doesn’t hurt either. On top of all that, Ensberg appears to be a good husband, role model, committed man of faith and a positive influence around the clubhouse. With all that going for him, it’s particularly sad that true enjoyment of the game has become an elusive commodity for Morgan Ensberg.

A lot of us find ourselves in the same boat. We may not be star athletes, but in our own game of life we’ve experienced that loss of enjoyment from things we expected to give us so much pleasure. It may be the person you thought you couldn’t live without, who turned out to be the one you couldn’t live with; or the career you spent the better part of a decade preparing for that turned out to be just another job. Maybe it’s the material things that promised so much in the advertisements. Later we discover that the dream house, or extreme wheels or even more extreme cosmetic makeover didn’t live up to the hype and leaves us with sleepless nights and unpaid bills.

So how does this happen? Sometimes it’s because we invest things with unreasonable expectations. Intellectually we know that a new product isn’t really going to change our lives but it is fun to indulge in the fantasy (particularly when the promise is to magically shed pounds without diet or exercise). When the novelty inevitably wears off, we’re left with nothing more than some well-earned buyer’s remorse. But in important areas of our lives losing the enjoyment of a thing is often a matter of losing perspective. Over time even the most loving of relationships or rewarding activities can go stale. We end up responding only to the frustrations and irritants while overlooking the positives. We become so overwhelmed by our obligations and responsibilities that enjoyment is a luxury we can’t afford. Sadly for us, we soldier on with grave earnestness and miss out on a tremendous amount of pleasure that’s there for the taking.

I suspect that as the intensity of the season and the Series fades, Ensberg will find some enjoyment in the game again. The cyclic nature of his work will make that possible. The rest of us will have to slow down for a moment and take a quick personal inventory. If the enjoyment has gone out of your life game, try adjusting your perspective. Figure out what’s going right and have some fun with it. The game’s not over yet!

About the Author:

George Ebert is the President of Trinity River Seminars and Consulting, a firm specializing in the custom design and delivery of team building, personal growth and ethical development programs. Mr. Ebert is a highly sought after speaker, educator, and consultant with over thirty years experience in both the public and private sectors. He has presented widely throughout the Unites States. George is the author of the management cult classic, "Climbing From the Fifth Station: A guide to building teams that work!"

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