Around midnight, he was still in the gym. For an hour and a half after the game, he took shot after shot after shot. This was not some student trying to practice harder on his home court to maybe make the varsity squad. This was someone who a month prior had won the MVP award of the NBA All-Star game and will go down as one of the best players of all time. This was Kobe Bryant.
Who does that kind of thing? I realize that he missed a shot late in the game earlier in the night that could have helped the Lakers win, but no one stays late in the opponent’s arena after a loss on the road and continues to practice. At best, the ones who care usually get on the flight to the next arena and act on what they could have done differently to achieve a different outcome. Others just go on to the next game never learning and growing in the process.
I have always admired Kobe Bryant’s work ethic, his will to win, and the 5 NBA championships that have resulted from his fierceness. But, this event made me think even harder about how we can apply this kind of dedication, preparation, and perseverance in our own lives in any role that we play. Consider the following questions and how they might apply to your life:
- Do you give up too early when things get hard? – When things become difficult in a relationship or on a project at work, do you check out, give up, and walk out? Or do you show resilience and grit to persevere through the difficult moments?
- Do you want the ball in your hands when the game is on the line? – As a parent, are you investing in the lives of your children and preparing them for the next stage of life? As a leader, are you using your platform and sphere of influence to mentor others? As an athlete, are you embracing pressure and focusing on the opportunity to perform at your best?
- Do you give up on your teammates? – Do you write off people when they let you down, or do you extend grace and mercy knowing that you are not perfect either? Do you look for opportunities to make people better?
- Do you go the extra mile to become the very best? – Are you doing everything you can to become the best you can become?
- Do you have a commitment to lifelong learning and growth? – No matter how talented or successful you are, are you constantly striving to grow, learn, and get better even when you feel you have “mastered” your craft?
- Do you focus on the little things? – Are there times in your life when you go through the motions, or do you place a priority on doing the little things that matter on a consistent basis?
I believe that true champions wholeheartedly commit to preparation, effort, and hard work. They “sweat the details” of the things that they need to do to maximize their potential and achieve their goals in sports, business, and life. John Wooden, one of the greatest coaches to ever live, said, “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”
In other words, it has little to do with others and has everything to do with you! Commit to doing the work necessary to achieve the results you want!