This weekend I was reading a book written by Michael Jordan and it reminded me of why I have always liked him. Sure we all know what he was capable of doing on the basketball court and so that is a given, BUT it has been deeper than that for me...it is his story, his thought process (his mind-set), his work ethic. In his book, he shared a lot of his emotions, thoughts, and feelings not only with the game of basketball but in life. I want to share with you some of the main highlights of his beliefs and how it may help you overcome challenges in everything you do. Or it may give you an understanding of why it is important to stay true to your beliefs/desires/dreams.
He begins by stating that it wasn't about celebrating the results as much as it was about understanding the process that produced those results. I think that is an amazing sentence. Some of us get caught up in the destination of our success rather than our journey. He believes that this process is pure...leading and staying true-AUTHENTIC- to those fundamental values that flowed downstream from his parents and later Coach Dean Smith. We all have a foundation that our parents have provided us and we all get tested and challenged...it is knowing where you came from and being strong enough to endure any obstacles.
In his second chapter, EARNED, he discusses that in today's world, players receive the rewards before they prove their worth. "If you look around, you will see that it happens in a lot of places, not just sports."-MJ. Jordan explains that back in his day, there were no expectations for him. Yes, he was third pick in the NBA draft and received a contract with a lot of money at the time. BUT, he stresses that no one expected him to become the player he became. Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Julius Erving were the stars in 1984. No rookie was expected to come into the league and challenge the status of veteran stars. So he didn't have to be concerned with trying to live up to the expectations. "What I did on the floor drove the marketing, not the other way around. The Jordan Brand was driven by what I did every night playing the game."-MJ
It comes down to earning your success and appreciating it at the end of the day. When you are in the gym, you need to work hard to earn every pound you lose or to perform better. He says, "I had to earn what came to me and I never knew any other way." To me that is a blessing in disguise. I remember when I was playing basketball and believed that if I practiced everyday and worked hard (dedicating myself and not giving up), I would earn and achieve the goals I set for myself.
Jordan states that when his playing started providing him with rewards, he wanted to prove that he deserved them. He states, "I never felt the desire to rest on what I had accomplished. I never felt like I deserved to drive a Bentley when I got my first contract or live in a mansion. Those things might be symbols of success to some people, but there are a lot of people who confuse symbols with actual success. Real quick, I want you to think about this paragraph and see how it applies to you in your everyday life. We are all rewarded when we work hard and accomplish something...but what do you do after you receive that reward? Do you stop working hard? Do you believe once you receive that reward that there is no where else to go?
I have seen this process so many times in personal training. For example, here is a person who works so hard to lose the weight...they dedicate themselves to the training and nutrition program. They stay consistent and they don't give in to temptation. By the end, they have accomplished their goal. They have lost the weight, they have increased their fitness level, they have inspired the people around them to get in better shape, their confidence level increases, they have more energy, they feel good about themselves...all these things are the rewards they receive from their success. And then they stop! They stop the process that has given them so much! They don't appreciate the rewards that their success provided them.
THE WORDS THAT JORDAN LIVES BY ARE BY HIS HIGH SCHOOL COACH, CLIFTON "POP" HERRING, "IT'S HARD, BUT IT'S FAIR."
You should never settle and you should always want to be challenged. I told someone today...if it (training at a high intensity) was so easy...everyone would be doing it and sticking with it. And if it was so easy, you wouldn't appreciate it. You should embrace your hard work and your dedication in the gym. "Nothing of Value comes without being earned."-MJ
Jordan states, "I practiced hard everyday because I wanted every one of my teammates to know what I expected out of myself. If I took a day off, then I knew they would, too." Work hard in the gym...YOU SET THE TONE! BE THE EXAMPLE! BE A LEADER!
He states that great leaders are those who lead by example first. People respond to what they see. And isn't that the truth, say you try on a pair of jeans that you haven't been able to fit into...and they fit and you look at yourself in the mirror, what do you do then? You feel joy and happiness...and your response is to finally wear those jeans tomorrow. YOU DID IT! YOU EARNED IT!
Have a passion for what you are doing and work hard. If you have a passion, then you are going to be challenged every day to give your best. These are the words that Delores Jordan (mom) instilled into Michael. And these are the words I want you to remember when you are in the weight room or just living your life. Apply yourself and NEVER doubt what you can do!
Jordan, M. Driven Within. Pgs. 8-13, 17.