Ichiro Suzuki, Miami Marlins outfielder
By Arturo Pardavila III on Flickr via Wikimedia Commons

Because everything in life is about LBM, two stories I heard in recent months immediately set me to thinking about your business.

The first involved Ichiro Suzuki’s 3,000th hit as a major league baseball player, a feat achieved by just 30 of the more than 15,000 people who have played big-league ball since 1871. Even more significant, Ichiro reached that mark after having spent nine seasons in the Japanese league, where he racked up another 1,278 hits.

Search the internet for profiles of Ichiro and you’ll find scores of articles about the lengths he goes in order to make sure he succeeds. He keeps his bats in a customized, humidity-controlled case. His glove is nearly 25% lighter than average, and he oils and cleans it himself after every game. He shines his own cleats, which are custom-made to be as light as possible—one more tool to help him get a hit.

Add to these traits his unique training regimen (he stretches constantly and doesn’t lift weights), a batting style that practically has him running to first base before he hits the ball, and a diet that keeps his weight constant. Clearly, this is a man who sweats the details, and together those details have made him a shoo-in for baseball’s Hall of Fame despite his modest size and foreign birth.

Ganahl Lumber, the 2011 ProSales Dealer of the Year, says it aims to “do the ordinary things extraordinarily well.” What small parts of your work life can add up to amazing accomplishments?

The second story came from Radiolab, a show that proves the old line about how radio beats TV because the pictures are better. In this case, Radiolab reported on the amazing connections that trees make with each other underground through a relationship they’ve created with tiny, tubular fungi. These connections—which scientists have dubbed “The Wood Wide Web”—permit inter-tree relationships so sophisticated you’d be tempted to say the forest has a shared intelligence. There are trees that share their nutrients with struggling neighbors, and others beyond saving that give up their nutrients to help others. Trees might look like hardy loners above ground, but underneath they’re team players.

Both stories resound extra strongly for me this month, the 10th anniversary of when I was privileged to become editor of ProSales. Since taking the job, I’ve traveled to 49 states and several foreign countries, visiting you where you work. A lot of wonderful people have taught me the details of LBM work and have been more than happy to share their experiences with me. Clearly, forests aren’t the only place you’ll find the Wood Wide Web, and the ballpark isn’t the only place you’ll find people committed to greatness. I’m honored to report your achievements.