By Kent Mulkey

Baseball is back. Let’s play ball!

Whoa … hold on just a minute. Have you ever played baseball? The people who know way more than me say that it is the most difficult sport on Earth. I believe them. I tried it and sucked at it.

Look at it this way: The average batter in the major league gets a hit right about 25% of the time — a 75% failure rate. Those rare hitters who get a hit 30% of the time over the course of a lengthy career are likely to be voted into the Hall of Fame, with a 70% failure rate.

Then there is the daily grind of a 162-game season over the course of about six months. Mind-numbing travel, constant aches and pains, and endless pressure to perform at a very high level.

Here’s the Point

What you do in creating a senior living community is harder than baseball. And it’s no game!

Every day you face horrendous employee turnover, nagging complaints from residents and families, stifling regulations, impatient investors, an out-of-touch C-suite, excessive number of meetings, unreasonable bosses, difficult employees, occupancy challenges, resident deaths, leaky pipes, grossly unfair surveys, increasing competition, less than ideal resident surveys, and a ton more.

I have talked with many colleagues who have been sales professionals or executive directors who have enjoyed long careers in senior living. These leaders keep stepping into the batter’s box to face curveballs and sinkers. They keep swinging. They are my heroes.

How to Hit a Home Run

Here are four tips they offer up about how to make it over the long haul in senior living:

  1. They accept that they will never get it exactly right. Excellence is a worthy goal. Perfection is impossible. Failure is inevitable.
  2. They remember why they do what they do: to make life better for older adults.
  3. They focus on continuing to develop young professionals into competent leaders. It’s the legacy they leave that matters most.
  4. They get away from it all on a regular basis. It means turning off their phone and staying away from the community. They don’t buy into the expectation to be on call 24/7.

Keep swinging.