It’s 5:27pm and I am back in Charlotte from Indianapolis. One of the first things I do [after getting something to eat] is unpack and organize the things that were in my bag for either the wash or back in the closet. Organization is key and I am always going to stand firm on that principle. If your life and business affairs are in disarray, it will be that much harder to accomplish the goals you have set for yourself. And while I can [and will one day] do an entire blog on organization and organizational skills that’s what I am not going to write about tonight. Instead, I am going to focus on the topic word, which is ‘preparation.”

For many people I know, tonight is the season premiere of the hit show “Scandal.” But for me and millions of NY Yankees fans across the country, tonight is Derek Jeter’s final home game before he retires. For baseball fans alike, this will be a somber night but one that we all knew was coming. The Captain has blessed the game for 20 years in The Vaunted Pinstripes and he has said that he’s ready to hang up the cleats and pursue other ventures outside of baseball. For that, I salute him. Derek has 5 World Series rings to go along with countless other achievements and will be a first round Hall of Famer [if not the first unanimous selection]. But through it all, how did Derek Sanderson Jeter from Kalamazoo, MI get there? Hardwork. Dedication. And Preparation.

There are countless stories on Jeter’s game day, season and off-season preparation. He worked his ass off to be the best shortstop he could be and he was always prepared. Prepared for day games. Prepared for night games. Prepared for April games. And of course prepared for October games. It is how he has lasted and maintained productivity for this long. We can all take a page from Derek’s story and adopt that level of preparation to our nonprofits.

We must consistently prepare for each day, each month and each year if we plan to be viable and sustainable.  Our preparation must trickle down to each team member so that they too are ready for each day we open the doors. It will be preparation that holds us together when it’s time to audit the books or roll out the carpet for a new program. You don’t get 20 years in anything if you are unprepared.

So as we say farewell to #2, Derek Jeter, #2 [Bob Sheppard voice] tonight inside Yankee Stadium, let us not forget what got him where he is. Hardwork. Dedication. And Preparation.


Keith Cradle


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