Sports are not just for pleasure. When we watch with a discerning eye, sports willingly give us the tools and assets we need to build our lives to win at whatever we pursue. I look at our core values structures. In basketball, we need to look no further than LeBron James to see a fierce competitor who always gives his best. These Winter Olympics, we’ve seen grit and perseverance personified by athletes like Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu and skier Marit Bjoergen of Norway.
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Each day we’re immersed in situations that provide definition and clarity to our lives — enabling us to see parts that we can add to make our own, becoming the sum of who we truly want to be. It’s the kindness that we show to a stranger, allowing them on the subway first. It’s gratitude shown to a daycare worker who puts the needs of your child before their own.
We see love and commitment in the world around us. Our prism to see this is amplified in magnitude when viewed through the paradigm of sports. I’ve coached basketball for six years, and it’s been among the most rewarding experiences of my life. I’ve learned about positive attitude, hard work, and discipline, all values that appear in my book, The Value of You.
These values and lessons are not just fundamentals for living a successful and happy life, they will transform your way of thinking and lead you to magnificent opportunities and relationships.
Few movies have had as profound an impact on me as the classic, Hoosiers. It came out when I was just a kid, though as I began to play the game of basketball, I saw its wisdom in how I created my makeup and approach to the game. I realized that even in sports, it’s so much more about the mental, emotional — and even spiritual — makeup we have.
As I got older and became a business coach, sports coach and professional, I understood why so many of the lessons from this movie resonate with millions today. I’ve listed out seven parts of Gene Hackman’s legendary locker room speech to his team prior to the state semifinal game. I’ve broken each part down by the true message he aims to convey.
Its wisdom and lessons are practical for all of us. They’re filled with great guidance you can deploy in your life — no matter your profession or where you find yourself trying to go. I hope you find this rewarding on your journey!
1. “There’s a tradition in tournament play to not talk about the next step until you’ve climbed the one in front of you.”
Focus on the task at hand. Immerse yourself with maximum effort and a positive attitude in that one moment. I encourage you to make goals, dream big and focus on the task at hand. Don’t concern yourself with all the next steps when you’re there in the trenches working on the task at hand.
2. “I’m sure going to the State finals is beyond your wildest dreams, so let’s just keep it right there.”
We all dream, imagine and realize that the moment of standing in the winner’s circle will be exhilarating and triumphant. This is what we work for. And yet, if we concern ourselves with this too much while we’re in the moment — on our journey — we fail. We get nervous. The best way to keep your nerves in check — and succeed — is to focus on the process.
3. “Forget about the crowds, the size of the school, their fancy uniforms, and remember what got you here.”
Forget about all the glittery things — frankly the things that don’t really matter. Especially when you’re competing for something, focus on doing the job to the best of your ability. The more you progress in life, the more important it is to keep moving forward. Yet, it’s just as important to remember all the great things you’ve done to lead you to where you are today — standing as a proud man or woman of accomplishment. Closer to your dream.
4. “Focus on the fundamentals that we’ve gone over time and time again.”
Plain and simple — focus on your values. Focus on the fundamentals that serve as the foundation for you to live the life you want — on your terms.
5. “And most important, don’t get caught up thinking about winning or losing this game.“
Don’t worry too much about the result. Rely on all of the preparation, values, planning and being yourself to do your best. I’ve read how college basketball coaching great, Jay Wright doesn’t even talk much about winning and losing. On your journey, focus on building yourself up to who you truly desire to be. The dreams and visions implanted in your heart and mind will suffice and permit you to move forward at the pace you desire.
6. “If you put your effort and concentration into playing to your potential, to be the best that you can be, (and) 7. I don’t care what the scoreboard says at the end of the game, in my book we’re gonna be winners!”
Hard Work. Focus. Competitive Greatness. Dedication. Devotion. Maximizing your potential.
And again, if you focus on the task at hand, do your absolute best without worry, you’re going to always end up a winner. Regardless of whoever is keeping the official score. You will always win when you define success, create goals and then work for them with a values-based, winner’s mindset. Focus on the moment. That moment is really all that matters.
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