Lessons from Basketball Greats
“The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great at whatever they want to do.” – Kobe Bryant
On January 26th, the world was shocked at the sudden deaths of basketball hero, Kobe Bryant, his daughter Giana, and seven others in a tragic helicopter crash. This month, as “March Madness” consumes the sports entertainment world, what lessons can we learn from the legend of the “Black Mamba” and his colleagues? Perhaps the lessons of basketball can translate into business?
Be Unafraid of Failure
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan
Failure is part of the human experience. Every business deals with failure in some aspects. The question is, “What will you do with the failures that come?” Instead of letting failure knock your company down, learn the lesson beneath the surface. What went wrong and how to make it better; to improve neglected areas; to get back up and try again. And, honestly, that feeling of getting back up after having the wind knocked out of you…it’s empowering! Besides, your company, and each person that plays a role in it, is worth infinitely more than any achievement or goal – let alone failure.
Don’t Be Normal
“We can always be kind of average and do what’s normal. I’m not in this to do what’s normal.” – Kobe Bryant
There are so many ways for your business to be, well, vanilla. Boring. Average. It takes grit to be above average, and courage to be abnormal. Set high goals for your company. Don’t let those goals be lip-service. Surround yourself with people who push you to greatness. Get yourself a “coach” who is willing to tell you what you need to hear – even when you don’t like what they have to say. Go that extra mile. Take the initiative. Do what is right, even when it is hard. Real success isn’t achieved by taking the easy road.
“Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.” – Kevin Durant
Raise of hands – who has felt that “feeling” of complete, total satisfaction upon falling into bed at night after a full day of hard work? Who has felt that same “feeling” after a day of doing nothing? It doesn’t compare, does it? And while anyone can be busy, hard work is purposeful. Focused. Deliberate. Set BIG, but attainable goals for your business. Keep your eyes on the prize – the why behind your company’s mission statement. Let the feeling of accomplishment at the end of the “game” be your driving force. Finally, when you’re down and done in, with no desire to keep going, take a cue from Nike. “Just Do It.”
Hold Your People Close
“There’s more to life than basketball. The most important thing is your family and taking care of each other and loving each other. No matter what.” – Stephen Curry
While having courage in the face of failure, being above average, and a tireless work ethic pushes us to higher achievement, what would the point be without our loved ones? As the families of the nine people killed in the fateful crash in January have assuredly learned – nothing else matters. So tonight, when you lock the door and go home after a long day at the office – tell your family you love them. Hold them tight and capture these moments. Sure, it’s a pretty somber thing to think about, but you won’t get those moments back.
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