There will always be the debates because it is fun to debate. Each generation always thinks their player is the best, but it is hard to debate against Michael Jordan.
The recent documentary about Jordan was just a reminder to all of how dominant of a player that he was. He certainly had the style and charisma on the court that made him entertaining to watch but he was more than that. He inspired others around him. With Jordan around, the other players were better. He wasn’t just a great player. He was a leader.
There are lessons we can learn from MJ even if we don’t play sports. The lessons apply just us much to us as leaders off the court.
One takeaway for me is that his team knew they could depend on him when it really mattered. Obviously, he showed up all the time. He pushed others hard in practice, but when it really mattered and the game was on the line, he would step up.
Jordan inspires me to say, “Give me the ball.” When the game is on the line and we need to step up and lead, we are willing to take the shot. It may look different off the court, but I want to be the kind of leader that people can count on.
Entrepreneurs and leaders can learn a lot from the G.O.A.T. and how he inspired those around him. How does MJ inspire you?
Golf is a funny game. Perhaps no other game is more challenging to master. There are so many similarities between golf and life. The lessons we learn on the golf course we can take off the course as well.
One lesson is that positive adjustments do not always give us positive results in the short-term. Often times we can decide to make a small adjustment in our golf swing. It could be a positive adjustment to our grip, our setup or our swing itself. Maybe it was instruction given by a professional that we paid to help us get better. While it may be a positive change to make us better, it doesn’t feel that way. It feels awkward. It feels uncomfortable. This results in us hitting the ball even worse. We feel like we are going backwards not forward.
I have experienced this more times than I can count on my golf journey. But I have also experienced it off the course even more. So often the changes we make to get better in the long run bring short term discomfort. We make adjustments to give us a better future, but it makes us more uncomfortable today.
This is the choice we are all given in life. We can stick with what is comfortable or we can risk making an adjustment. It may be uncomfortable. It could even make things worse. But it has the potential to make things so much better.
This why mastering anything is hard. It is a never-ending journey of risking being uncomfortable to breakthrough to a new level.
Be a man of your word. That is old fashion advice that leads to better living. We should honor our word and do what we say we are going to do.
When Coach John Wooden was still early in his coaching career, he thought he had gotten the coaching job offer at the college that he wanted to coach basketball. There was a scheduled call to confirm the job. They didn’t call on time. In the meantime, UCLA called and offered him the job and he verbally committed because he hadn’t heard from the other. It turns out there was a huge snow storm and the phone lines were down so they couldn’t call on time. But they did end up calling later that day to offer him the job. It was the job he wanted. The one he had been waiting for, but he declined. Not because he had signed any contract but simply because he had already given his word to UCLA.
Keep in mind UCLA was not the school it is today. The facility was terrible. It was not the better place to coach, but it was where he committed to. His word was as good as any contract.
Even though it wasn’t what he wanted, he honored his word first. Then he made the best of it. He went on to build one of the best college basketball programs in the country and become one of the greatest coaches of all time.
I’m not sure many people would make the same decision he made today. But I’m not sure many people would have back then either. Coach Wooden serves as a great example to us all.
How good is your word?
Zig Ziglar was one of the most well known motivational speakers. He inspired millions through his simple communication style. There are many of Zig’s quotes that people often share but I think one that he was most famous for.
“You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar
Like most sound advice, it is easy to say, but more difficult to actually follow. What if the goals and desires of my team don’t match up with mine? What if what I want for them is different than what they want?
We may not actually be that articulate or even voice it, but our selfishness can come in to play. Some people may try to first manipulate people in to what their desires should be so they are aligned.
That is not what Zig meant. He meant we should serve others and help them get what THEY want even when it may not align with what we want for them. Some times we may help people and not get anything tangible from it. Other times we will. I believe he was right. It is a better way to live and a better way to lead. Just help people get what they want. If we help enough people, we will be just fine and we will be happier in the process.
Have you ever had someone be very hurtful to you when you didn’t feel you did anything to deserve it?
It can be a total stranger or close friend or even a loved one. More than likely we have all experienced this at some point. Our natural response is to feel anger. We don’t understand how someone can be mean when we didn’t do anything to deserve it. Often this feeling causes us to respond in a similar fashion: with meanness
We all know this only makes the situation worse and has the potential to escalate in a negative way often times killing relationships.
John Maxwell in one of his books teaches a principle that helps us in these situations. He says, “hurting people, hurt people.” Often times when people are hurtful towards us, it is because they are hurting themselves.
This is an important principle for us to remember. It doesn’t mean that we won’t feel hurt when people are hurtful towards us. But it can help us to slow down and have a little empathy. Maybe the person is hurting and we have no idea about it. Maybe that stranger has been dealing with some major stress in their life and filled with pain. We don’t know, but it helps to remember the principle that hurting people hurt people.
Let’s not forget that this applies to us as well. Are we hurting others because we are hurting?
I often contemplate what drives someone. Where does motivation come from in certain people? Drive is important. We don’t act to change our circumstances or create positive change in the world around us without drive.
Where does it come from? There is a lot to be said on the topic. Entire books have been written about it, but let’s look at one source of drive for so many.
I heard a CEO say that he likes the people who have a chip on their shoulder. The people who have something to prove. It was just one quality that he mentioned, but his point was that people who have a chip on their shoulder are often hungry to succeed to prove something.
It is true. Imagine how much progress has been made in the world by people driven to achieve something because of the chip they were carrying on their shoulder. It is a driving force for some of the most driven, successful people. To take something negative and use the energy to achieve something positive is a much better alternative than using it to do something destructive.
We all probably have some type of chip on our shoulder. We can use it for drive and motivation, but here are my questions.
Should we still deal with the chip?
Will a certain amount of success get rid of the chip or will we still be carrying it around even after succeeding?
Even if the chip creates positive drive, does it have potential to harm other areas of our life?
If we lose the chip would we lose the drive to succeed or would we find a healthier alternative?
Is our drive simply a band-aid to an injury that needs much more to be healed?
Those are my questions.
What drives you?
Balance is interesting. Most of us want to live a balanced life. Meaning we want to have it together in all the areas of life.
We have all seen the examples of the movie star with the great career, but the rest of their life is a total mess. It could be the athlete, the business person or the mom. The point is all of us have multiple areas of life that we want to excel in, but that isn’t always easy.
I think it helps to start with how we view balance. When you think of balance, what do you think of? For many, the idea of balance is perfectly in the middle. The idea that all areas are equally thriving at the same time. This is perfection. This would be balance.
If that is our view of balance, we will continuously fall short of it and live in frustration. I don’t believe that definition of balance is possible.
I prefer to view balance like riding a bike. While it may appear to be perfect especially as we pick up speed and momentum, the reality is we are constantly making adjustments from one side to the other. We are shifting back and forth to keep from falling off to one side. When we are moving slow these shifts are very obvious but they become more subtle the faster we go. There are endless examples, but this is a principle of balance. It is back and forth making constant adjustments and corrections to maintain what we call balance.
There are times in life that a certain area may require more attention to shift the momentum in that direction. A person gets a wake up call that it is time to make their health a bigger priority. Another realizes he better start paying more attention to his marriage. Another wakes up to discover he is out of a job and finding another becomes most important.
This is how life works. This is what balance really looks like. So what does being out of balance look like? It is when we are so focused on one area maybe because it is going so well that we don’t shift our focus back. This is very easy to see in others. It is not always so easy to see in ourselves. I think this why balance can be difficult.
How do you view balance? When was the last time you shifted your focus?
All of us want recognition on some level. I’m not talking about fame, but simply receiving recognition for our achievements.
It is a strong motivator often times even stronger than financial compensation. Recognition is a healthy part of any organization as it drives productivity.
Like most things in life, the need for recognition is a double edge sword. While it can drive productivity, it can also kill it.
Ronald Reagan said it best. “There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.”
Often times our desire to be recognized holds us back. More importantly it can hinder the growth of the business, organization or even ministry. Dealing with people’s egos is tricky. I think that is what Ronald Reagan was talking about.
It is important to ask ourselves what is most important. Would we rather be recognized at all cost or would we rather progress be made? Ronald Reagan certainly received his share of the credit, but he also understood the importance of not letting that get in the way of progress.
We could all benefit from giving more credit away. Not only would it make the organization healthier, but it might even make us healthier in the process.