Understanding that FAILURE is necessary! Once I started to understand that…success started to come a lot faster in my life. It took 27 years before I understood that. Now I embrace failure.
As a part of my series about sports stars who are making a social impact, I had the pleasure of interviewing CJ Beatty.
CJ Beatty is a native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. His athletic accomplishments led him to be selected in the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. From there, he would soon become a hip-hop artist and motivator who specializes in teaching and inspiring people to believe in themselves when nobody else does. With hits like “Mr. I Don’t Bunt” and “Bad Umpire”, his YouTube channel has reached people in over 200 countries and continues to provide a source of inspiration for many. Since 2013, CJ has traveled around the world delivering powerful messages to a wide range of audiences by crossing age and cultural lines. For more information, please visit: http://www.cjbeatty.com/. Follow CJ on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, YouTube and LinkedIn.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share with us the “backstory” that led you to your career path in professional sports?
I started playing professional baseball at age 5 and fell in love with the sport right away. I grew up watching my baseball heroes who included Ken Griffey Jr, Derek Jeter and Tony Gwynn. I wanted to be like them so bad and admired everything about them as athletes and as public figures. I studied them daily and copied their movements to be the best athlete I could possibly be. As I got older, I started to realize that baseball was my ticket in life. I told my mom and dad I was going to get drafted one day and I made that my ultimate goal.
In high school I was getting a lot of attention from the media, college scouts and even pro scouts. Every newspaper article that was printed about me was fuel to keep pushing for more. After receiving over 65 letters to attend practically ANY baseball college in the country, my family and I chose North Carolina A&T State University on a full ride scholarship. AGGIE PRIDE!
After my junior year at NCA&T, I was selected in the 2009 MLB Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. My dream came true.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career? What were the lessons or takeaways that you took out of that story?
Haha for sure! One Saturday, we had a double header scheduled on the books. We finished Game 1 and Game 2 was being delayed as we waited for the umpires to switch roles. That’s when the home-plate umpire becomes the field umpire and the field umpire needs to change and put his equipment on to become the home-plate umpire. I assumed we had about 25 mins before the next game started, so I talked my mother into going to get me and my teammate some Wendy’s Chicken Nuggets because we were HUNGRY!
Mom comes back with the food and my teammate George and I are in the locker room chilling and eating Wendys. I remember asking George, “Hey…why are we the only ones in the locker room?” George said, “Chill Beatty, if they were playing we would hear the announcer call out the starting lineups”. I agreed and continued to enjoy my nuggets. Suddenly……the locker room door BUSTS open and in walks our head coach. We freeze in our lockers with our mouths open wide like we were caught red handed haha. Coach went on to say some choice words and told us they had started the game. We scurried out of there like mice. I had sweet and sour sauce on my mouth and jersey from moving too fast to get on the field! My life lesson was never choose Wendy’s when in a rush …..stick with jimmy johns for faster service haha.
What would you advise a young person who wants to emulate your success?
I would advise them to read more books and ask more questions. Knowledge Is power and essential to a successful life and career. It’s also important to understand that each journey is unique. I aim to help pass on “nuggets of knowledge” to those I speak to while also reminding them no two successes are exactly the same. While I admired other baseball players when I was young and wanted to be like them, as I got older and now looking back I realize my path was very unique in comparison. Success is not matching who you want to emulate, but taking parts of what worked for them and making it your own.
Is there a person that made a profound impact on your life? Can you share a story?
Yes, Willie McGee, who is a Hall of Fame St. Louis Cardinals Player. He taught me about the saying, “chew the meat and spit the fat’’. That meant to take in information from ANYONE willing to share it. Don’t judge anyone based on their race, age or background. Listen to what they have to say and take from it what you need. That is how wisdom is gained at a rapid pace.
Ok super. Let’s now move to the main part of our discussion. How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting causes you are working on right now?
I have been spending much of my career lately as a motivational speaker. I live to motivate and educate for a better tomorrow. I just recently released some faith based music called “Faith Vol.2” which is available online and on Youtube. This project features some amazing uplifting songs.
I just partnered with Easton to celebrate the return of one of the most iconic bats in the game — the B5 Pro Big Barrel (commonly known as “The Green Easton”) — with an original song and music video. The Easton brand and particularly its bat innovations have been such a big part of my journey in baseball. Being part of a launch like this, where it brings the original bat and legendary players like Bo Jackson, Tony Gwynn and Mark McGwire that used it together with a brand new bat for the next generation of players… it’s unbelievable. If the song and music video can tell the story of the B5 Pro and encourage current players to unlock their potential, individually as well as part of a team, then mission accomplished!
What methods are you using to most effectively share your cause with the world?
Music, Social Media, Zoom, Sports Camps and Clinics, Workshops and Books. You have to be where the people are. Everyone is online in one way or another.
Can you share with us the story behind why you chose to take up this particular cause?
I wanted to become an international speaker just like Dr. Eric Thomas. Dr. Thomas is electrifying and he captivates everyone when speaking. I knew after listening to a few of his audios….speaking was the life I wanted.
Can you share with us a story about a person who was impacted by your cause?
I often get parents, youth coaches or players sending me messages that detail how they were going to quit or give up on life. They say that after listening to my Youtube videos and uplifting faith music everything started to positively change in their lives. Those are the stories that keep me going as a speaker.
What are your 3 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1. Read more self help books.
Because once I understood that…my life started to shift in a positive direction quickly. My bank account started to grow faster over time. My relationships with friends, family and significant others started to get stronger. Overall, everything changed for the better mentally and physically
2. Quality over Quantity
I loved to practice baseball growing up. No matter the weather outside. I would practice until blisters formed on my hands and feet, I didn’t even notice. But looking back, I was just focused on the amount of swings, throws and catches. I wish I would have been told to slow down, focus on what you are doing and make it “game-like”. I learned later in my career that practice needs to have a certain level of intensity. If you fail to bring that intensity at practice, you are simply making it impossible to come through in clutch situations come game day. If you make practice super tough, the games will be a lot easier and your stats will show that. This applies to all areas of practice in life.
3. Understanding that FAILURE is necessary! Once I started to understand that…success started to come a lot faster in my life. It took 27 years before I understood that. Now I embrace failure.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would start a “Help Others” movement!!! The world needs this movement now. It’s when you target at least 3 people a day to help physically and/or mentally. For example, buying groceries, providing a car ride, washing a person’s car or simply calling someone to encourage them. One day this will be a huge campaign I will strategize and launch.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you explain how that was relevant in your life?
Yes. “Never pray for challenges equal to your strength…rather pray for strength equal to your challenges” -unknown It’s my favorite quote to live by because it reminds me to never quit and to never blame anyone or anything for where I am. I just need to pray, work hard and keep moving forward regardless of the situation or challenge.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Politics, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
Oh my God that would be amazing! I would love to meet and chat with John C. Maxwell. He is my favorite author and his motivation smacks me directly in the face. I love his energy and his technique of speaking. I encourage anyone looking to improve their lives to pick up a JCM book and enjoy the transformation.
How can our readers follow you online?
Instagram & Twitter: @cjbeatty44
Youtube (search CJ Beatty)
Thank you so much for these amazing insights. This was so inspiring