Sunday, June 24, 2012


With the NBA season coming to a conclusion we revisit the legands of the past:
  • The great Larry Bird said he had only cried twice in his life, once when he lost the NCAA championship and once when losing an NBA championship...both times he lost to Ervin Johnson.
  • Michael Jordan said that he loved the thrill of winning a championship so much that he dedicated himself to winning as many as he could.
  • Billy Beane (Oakland A's GM) admitted that he hated losing even more than he enjoyed winning.
  • ...and now Lebron James has finally fulfilled expectations. 
Of the above mentioned only one of them had it right. Let's explore why:

Great Expectations
The Great Cathy Berky recently shared an act of vulnerability in our LinkedIn group. She noted that her expectations of herself had always been exceedingly high (which is what makes her great).
She followed up by saying that she had found peace by allowing curosity to lead.

I wonder if Larry Bird loved basketball as much as we all think he did? He was a pure shooter and a fierce competitior, equal parts artist and warrior. The questions lies in why he cared so much? Did he want to win more than anything in the world or was he terrified of losing?

That's what losing sounds like...
The Great Billy Beane was quoted as saying that he hated losing more than he enjoyed winning. That sense of motivation built a fire in him that put him in a position to become the best paid in his profession. The true joy comes in winning and if you win only to keep from losing, you neglect your ability to celebrate.

To prepare and best an opponent seemingly stronger and more qualified than you is the ulitmate feeling of success. You don't prepare and try hard because you want to see the Giant cry. You win to prove to yourself that you can do anything and that nothing is impossible in this sad and beautiful world.

It's about freaking time!
Lebron James, the greatest basketball player of our time, has finally won a championship. Always big for his age and blessed with extraordinary athletic ability, Lebron James became a fan favorite by the time he finished high school.

Then something happened....

The expectation of greatness bestowed upon Lebron James did not manifest itself quickly enough. In this quick fix society, we want results....right away. So Lebron's love for Basketball turned into a job. He stopped running around with joy in his heart and started over-thinking the process of winning. He lost the joy and laced up the shoes with an assumed obligation to fulfill public expectations. When he hoisted the championship trophy on Thursday night, the thrill of being the best was replaced by the relief of achieving what everyone knew he was capable of.

...the real answer
My Dad once told me never to make a decision based on money. I replied that he had money. To which he retorted, "that's because I never made a decision based on money". My Dad knew what Tony Hsieh later explained:
If you lead with a purpose for which you have a passion, the profits will come naturally.

Think of it this way...
would you rather win a championship with your truest friends by your side or move across town just to play on a better team with a bunch of strangers?

Our motivation cannot be defined by what we think to be the right way, but by what we believe we were put on this earth to do.

Do you remember the show The Wonder Years? Kevin's dad would come home angry every day and proclaim "work is work". Do you ever feel like Kevin's dad? That the work you do is lacking purpose? That the passion is gone? That you are just in it for a paycheck?

It's not 1950 anymore! You are now more empowered as an employee than Kevin's dad ever was. In fact, you don't have to put up with losing anymore!

You are in control!

To put effort into something so as to avoid losing defeats the purpose of living. To win your way, by your rules, is the most empowering thing in life. If you allow others to make the rules, your chances of losing increase. To play another person's game and to win serves to validate your worth. Love is created by flipping the rules on their ear, finding a better way, and proving that it works better.

Your greatness is defined by the JOY you find in winning, not the relief of doing enough to keep from losing!

Don't Forget to Remember!


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