Today I went for an early morning run that took me past the local park where a group of young men had gathered for what appeared to be an little bonus practice. Based on the fact that it was Sunday, very early, and the overall lack of enthusiasm demonstrated by these young men who showed up. Although I have to give them credit. At least they were there. At least they showed up. I often tell entrepreneurs, parents, and players, that just showing up consistently, on time is 75% of the battle. I live by that advice to this day. I am consistently amazing at the lack of respect for other people’s time shown by so many people today. It is the most common complaint form small business owners. Just getting employees to show up.
But as I ran through the park, I had the opportunity to observe these young men for a few minutes. As I watched them, I realized I had been missing something in my "Just Show Up" rant. Showing up may set you apart from three-quarters of the rest but that isn’t good enough. Out of the dozen or so young men at the park awaiting practice, there was only one not sitting on a park bench, bent over his phone. Just one guy. On the court, practicing layups. Dribbling up and down the court. It was so profound. That guy was the difference maker. That’s the guy that will achieve his goals. His dreams. He may not make it to the NBA, and I don’t know if he was even any good. But I pray that his coach saw him that morning. I hope the boys glued to their phones realized the difference between just showing up versus taking advantage of every opportunity.
While the rest did show up, none were taking advantage. None wanted it bad enough. Jim Rohn has a great quote I refer to often “If you want something bad enough, you will find a way, if you don’t, you will find an excuse.” There were a million reasons not to do layups before the coach got there, but there was only 1 reason to put in the work, to put in the effort. That consistency is what will make you the top one percent. If you will do that, then you will become known for it and the opportunities will continue to present themselves.
NBA superstar, Jason Williams showed up early to the Staples Center to practice before a game versus the Lakers. When he got there Kolby Bryant was already there, practicing. Sweating. Putting in work. On a game day. As Jason went through his rehab and completed his practice, he realized Kolby was still going. Hard. After Jay finished, Kolby was still practicing. At this point, Jason had to go get ready for the game. So, he left and went on to play the game. Kobe kept practicing another half hour.
So on to the game. Kolby drops 40 points in the win and after the game Jay asked him, "Man, why were you practicing for so long especially on a game day?" Koby said “Because I saw You come in. I saw you and I wanted you to know that it doesn’t matter how hard you work. I am willing to work harder than you. You inspire me to be better." That is the difference. You have to want it bad. You have to be willing to outwork everyone else.
To be truly great at something requires a level of dedication and sacrifice that very few people are willing to make. But that level of commitment will also require sacrifices in other areas of your life as well. Genius is often simply an aptitude for patience. Always remember, at the point where you are ready to give up and quit, is the point someone else has been waiting for. The Obstacle that makes you want to quit is the opportunity the prepared person has been waiting for. Make sure you are that person. And keep shooting!