Moving Up: What we can learn from the Nationals

Thousands of people in front of the National Archives for the Nationals World Series Parade.

The front of the National Archives during the Nationals World Series parade / Photo courtesy of Senior Master Sgt. Craig Clapper

Many people in the District were very excited when the Washington Nationals won this year’s World Series. Now that the excitement has worn off, this might be a good time to look at the lessons that you can learn from the champions and how to use them to improve your life. There are several things that you can apply to help you succeed.  

First, teamwork is what matters most. This was proved not just by the current players on the team, but also by a former player, Bryce Harper. If you remember, he tested free agency and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. While he will make a very large sum of money, he missed out on the ultimate goal of every athlete, to win a championship. Washington was not going to pay him that much and felt they could do well without him and they proved to be right. The lesson here is even when you are trying to get a raise; you need to keep the discussion focused on how you can help the company achieve its goals, not how much money you want. If you focus on money and ask for too much, they will part ways with you and find someone more team-oriented. If you can get the company what it wants, you will be in a stronger position to get what you want financially when it comes time to seek a raise.  

Second, if you want a promotion, step up your game when it matters the most. Max Scherzer was battling neck spasms but came back to pitch game seven and help win the title. He was already known as one of the best pitchers in the game. But when his team needed him the most, he rose to the occasion and showed why he is an elite pitcher. In any job, there will be times when everything will be more challenging. The way to stand out is to excel during those times. That will be something that will be easy for your managers to remember when you are discussing the possibility of advancement. This can be accomplished by knowing when your company is in crunch time and doing whatever is necessary to help pick up the slack. These steps will set you apart from your coworkers and make you a more attractive candidate when seeking advancement.  

And finally, remember to focus on endurance. In May, the Nationals were 12 games under .500. At that point, most teams are not thinking about the World Series, but the Nationals understood that it is a long season and they did not throw in the towel. They looked at the situation and what was going wrong (one big problem was that shortstop Trea Turner had been out for six weeks with a broken finger). This is something you can focus on and practice in about a month. As we head into 2020, it is a perfect time to remember that a year is 12 months and just because you have a struggle or two early on does not mean it will ruin your whole year. You might encounter losing a job, some major unexpected expenses, a health crisis, or major personal problems like divorce. But you can still step back, evaluate your options, and focus on making the changes needed to get back on the path to your goals.  

Whether you are a huge baseball fan or not, there was a lot that you can learn from the Nationals. Hopefully you will see the results in your life that you will consider equivalent to the success the Nationals enjoyed. 


Arthur Johnson has a Bachelor’s degrees in economics and has long volunteered as a financial mentor with The Salvation Army shelter in Minneapolis. Minnesota. He writes about financial advice and upward mobility in his column “Housing Up.” If you have questions about an article or suggestions or questions for future columns, he can be reached at [email protected] 

Issues |Lifestyle|Sports

Region |Washington DC

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