The world lost a legend today when Kobe Bryant and four passengers were tragically killed in a helicopter crash. It’s the first time a famous person’s death has actually shaken me. I hugged my wife. I text my best friend. It was a sobering reminder of how fragile life is and that despite our best precautions, we never know when today will be our final one.
I always process emotions best through writing. Putting my thoughts down helps me process my feelings inside and try to find peace when my insides feel like they’re in the midst of the storm. Kobe and I never met but, like many sports fans outside of Los Angeles, would classify our relationship as a “rollercoaster.” As a Dallas Mavericks fan, he tormented us in the regular season, going 42-22 against us, including one game where he dominated us by outscoring the entire Mavs team 62-61 through three quarters in 2005.
He was the type of player you loved to sports-hate (as Shea Serrano would say). He was incredible to watch, playing with everything he had every night. He had ice in his veins and a fire in his heart that you love when it’s in your team’s best player – and hated when he’s playing your team. No matter how you felt about playing him, Kobe was one of those special players who always had your respect.
Kobe made himself into one of the top 5 best ever to pick up a basketball. He retired from the game in 2016 but remained a fixture in basketball, attending WNBA games, Lakers games, and investing his time into building & creating the second phase of his life post-playing career.
The one thing Kobe Bryant did well? Compete. Love or hate him, you cannot deny that he was one of sports’ fiercest competitors. Reflecting back on his career after today’s devastating news, I can clearly see the five lessons I learned watching Kobe grow up in front of my eyes on the Staples Center court and social media after retirement.
1. Everyone messes up. How will you respond and choose to be better?
Kobe made mistakes on and off the court throughout his NBA career. No one is perfect, and Kobe was intentional in rebuilding his image and character reputation after those early shortcomings. He invested heavily in launching new brands, supporting the WNBA, and making loads of time for his growing family.
It’s likely we will fail at one point in our professional career or personal life. Mistakes happen, but what matters is how you learn from it and grow. Our response is the most important.
2. Success requires that you be relentlessly driven for your most important goal.
Watch this short clip:
Kobe is so focused on his goal & objective that the fake pass doesn’t even cause him to flinch. He’s unphased at the distraction, committed to guarding his opponent. Kobe was a relentless competitor who remained fixated on winning championships and being one of the best ever. Just the same, our biggest achievements will require a relentless commitment to reaching it.
3. Never let the same obstacle/opponent stop you twice.
What separates greats from all-time greats is their ability to self-assess, diagnose weaknesses, and turn those flaws into strengths.Kobe Bryant, The Mamba Mentality
After reading The Mamba Mentality, it’s apparent Kobe’s off-court work ethic was unmatched. He constantly worked to improve his skills and studied his opponents so that he could understand his own weaknesses, where they attacked him, and how he could turn those weaknesses into strengths. Successful leaders build their self-awareness and study their competition. If they fail once, they learn how and why so they don’t fail the same way twice.
4. Treat every day as if it’s your last. End on empty.
Fast forward to the 28-minute mark for why Kobe chose “24”
Kobe practiced & played with a “today’s the day” mindset. He knew that this day was the only one he controlled and made sure to put his heart, soul, & every ounce of effort into it. His style of play – never taking a night off – is one reason he was one of the best players. He was never going to just “give” you an easy night. Every game you had to earn it if you wanted to beat him because he wasn’t going to willingly give up any ground.
One phrase I’ve used for years is “End on Empty.” It’s the idea of leaving behind the question of “what if” and emptying everything you have into every day for the goals you’ve set and people you love. We should aspire to finish each day and be done with it, knowing that we gave everything within us for the things and people that are most important to us.
5. Your pursuit of greatness will create your power of impact.
Know that if you strive for greatness, your influence & impact will stretch farther than you ever know. You will impact people you’ll never meet. Your legacy will be remembered by the positive mark you left on others’ lives. Pursue greatness so you can make a great impact.
Millions are mourning Kobe’s passing today. Most had never met the iconic Laker, but you can’t deny his game, mindset, & life greatly impacted them.
How they shot fadeaways in that empty basketball gym.
How they attacked their workouts.
How they relentlessly attacked their life.
Whenever we choose to pursue greatness, we will positively impact people we’ll never meet. You don’t do that by playing it small, accepting limits, or trying to blend it. You only do that when you pursue greatness as he did on and off the court.
How do we honor Kobe?
We honor Kobe Bryant’s legacy by how we live. We embrace his Black Mamba tenacity for the goals & people we believe are most important.
And we make sure that no opponent will ever contain us. R.I.P. Black Mamba.
Football season has returned, and with it, fantasy football.
It’s the time of year when more than 59 million North Americans invest more than $7 billion into individual players’ performances every Sunday during NFL season. And inevitably, your weekly bragging rights will come down to the last quarter of Monday Night Football. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, how big of a network you’ve built, or how many social media followers you’ve accumulated – none of that influences whether you’ll win your weekly matchup or the league that season.
Rich or poor – your fate rests in the hands of professional athletes who don’t even know who you are.(more…)
Last night my Texas Rangers lost to the Minnesota Twins 13-6. I turned the game on during the 5th inning and saw my team was already trailing by 10 runs.
Ten runs is a huge amount in baseball. In fact, only a few times in baseball history has a team overcome a 10-run deficit to win the game. It would be very easy at that point to call it a night and start looking toward tomorrow if you were losing.
In baseball, maybe more than any other sport, great players know the importance of every single at-bat. It doesn’t matter if you’re up 10 or down 10, a great player won’t mail it in at the plate just to get through the inning. They’ll work the count and do everything they can to get a hit.(more…)
It’s time for your HALFWAY checkpoint for 2019!
There are 6 months left until 2020.
This is a perfect time look back at the progress you’ve made/didn’t, adjust your daily process to fit your plan for the next 182 days, and then hit the ground running.
Just like in sports, if 2019 is kicking your butt and you’re losing big at halftime…there’s GOOD NEWS – it’s just half time.
A POWERFUL finish can easily overshadow a slow start, so come out of the second half on fire.
And just like in sports, if 2019 is going GREAT and you’re up big at half, don’t fall into the complacency trap and take your foot off the gas! Keep competing hard every day to make your second half even BETTER than your first.
Here are 3 things you can do to set up a big second half:(more…)
The little things usually matter most.
There’s a burger joint near my wife’s office that we frequent occasionally. The food is great, but we go back time and time again because of how they behave at the bar.
The bartenders are trained to replace your martini glass as soon as they see the ice frosting disappear. A great martini should always be served in a chilled glass so that stays crisp longer. Many restaurants may serve the drink initially in a chilled glass, but then you’re on your own.
This burger restaurant continually replaces your glass until you’re finished drinking your cocktail. I’ve sat at the bar in a number of high-end steakhouses around the country – places where you’d expect them to take this much care with your cocktail at the bar – and have never once seen them take this action.
But this Plano burger bar does – every time.
The last trip there got me thinking about the importance of this one little gesture in the big picture.(more…)
Can culture help you steal customers from competitors?
Yesterday my wife and I had to take one of our dogs to a new veterinarian because our main vet was booked until next week. Our poor boxer, Sugar, has had multiple issues since we adopted her in October so trips to the vet have become almost a weekly occurrence.
I’m sure you know how frustrating it is to start at ground zero with a new doctor / dentist / vet / business… you have to fill out tons of paperwork, answer lots of questions, and then help the new doctor get up to speed on the current situation.
But this experience was QUITE different from what I expected.
This new staff asked us a TON of questions. It was more thorough of an initial process than I think I’ve ever experienced. They took a picture of Sugar for her file, and talked us through the range of treatment options. The entire experience involved this new staff doing what they could to make us feel better about the treatment process with Sugar.
Then just before we left, they provided us with a folder of information including:
- a copy of their file on Sugar (which included everything we had shared with them),
- doctor’s notes about how sweet of a dog she was and treatment prescribed,
- brochures of products and local companies they recommended, from the ER to heartworm medication.
As soon as my wife and I walked out of that visit, we both agreed that we wanted to move our business from our previous vet to this new one. We felt informed in what they shared with us, comfortable that they were taking great care of our dog, and most of all, their level of thoroughness in both gathering Sugar’s history and sharing about her health issue made us feel safe working with them.
That was no accident.
This specific vet intentionally created the environment to make customers feel safe and welcome, even down to the complimentary coffee they provided – which was offered in mugs, not styrofoam cups. They understood that any trip to the doctor (be it a dentist, family doctor, or yes, even the vet) can be stressful because the majority of the time, you’re going to them because something wrong. This office took steps to make you feel comfortable and safe.
It’s this type of intentional experience that can be a game-changer for your business.
Every customer has an experience with your brand. Most experiences don’t generate a mark unless it swings heavily in one direction or another. Think about it:
We don’t generally remember our service at a restaurant unless:
- it was slow & terrible (poor), or
- the staff was quick, courteous, and surprised us with something personal (great).
Otherwise we never give it a second thought.
We don’t think about our experience with an e-commerce brand unless:
- Our package arrives damaged, we have serious issues with their customer service to fix a problem or the like (poor)
- Our shipment includes a surprise like a hand-written insert, special packaging, or amazing customer service help (great).
Just “ok” won’t help your company win.
The reason that extremes stand out is because customers expect a simple, clean process. Business owners want a smooth, seamless transaction, but the problem lies in the fact that an expected process doesn’t become a memorable one.
In their book Talk Triggers, Jay Baer & Daniel Lemin talk about the importance of creating these unique experiences for customers in order to stand out in the customer’s mind, and most importantly, create that lasting connection. I spent the first two years of building Compete Every Day by writing a thank you card to every single customer, and now, I still send random thank you cards to customers. I even will send small thank-you videos to new followers we gain on social media.
You can’t scale this type of activity, but it’s not the scalable activities that make your company stand out.
How to do better.
In order to do better, your team needs to be equipped with the right mindset and focus to make an impact on your customers. This focus goes beyond just “getting the job done” and more on “doing my job the best I can.”
See the difference?
“Getting the job done” implies doing the minimum to get by. Instead of going for straight A’s, you’re good with C’s & D’s, because with this mindset, you “still get a degree.”
“Doing my job the best I can” is about striving for excellence. This mindset asks how can I do the best I can on this, and when complete, reviews to see where they can do better next time. It’s consistently giving full effort, no matter what the situation or how the person feels in the moment. It’s a belief that “getting by” & “good enough” isn’t actually enough.
A company full of people who embrace the pursuit of greatness excel well past their competition.
Do you have a company culture that is great enough to steal customers from your competitors?
If not, we should talk. Because in order to create that winning culture, you’ll need a team of Competitors who know what it takes to pursue greatness – and are committed to that pursuit.
So you work with someone you absolutely cannot stand?
Been there. Done that. Most all of us have. If you’ve ever been in a setting where you were put on a team with others, the chances you’ve had to work with someone you don’t like are high. Take any group of people with different personalities, agendas, and backgrounds, throw them together and you’ll have an adjustment period.
School projects. Team sports. Corporate clients. I don’t think I’ve ever been on a team where I liked everyone.
And that’s ok.
But how do you successfully handle those situations?(more…)
I saw clips of Kevin Hart recently on the Joe Rogan Podcast on Twitter and decided to download the full interview.
There is a lot great information in their conversation but what stood out most to me is something I’d known for quite some time and appreciated Kevin sharing. Joe asked Kevin about going on tour and when he would do another comedy special, which led Kevin to sharing his formula and timeline.
Here’s what goes into one of Kevin Hart’s 90-minute specials:(more…)
Accountability breeds a strong, positive culture – in the locker room and in the boardroom.
When an organization embraces accountability from the top to bottom, employees are empowered in their role, motivated to do it to the best of their abilities, and proactive to reach the goals they’ve set.
People strive to help and do more when they believe they’re a valuable contributor to the overall success of the organization.
Here are the three keys to building accountability within your organization:
Are you getting distracted by worrying about what everyone else is doing, believing they’re your competition? Or are you focused in on your finish line and what you’re really up against?