Early in my basketball career, one of my power moves was driving to the basket. As soon as I would receive the ball from one of my teammates, my coach or my supporters would yell, “Drive to the basket!” I did and I did it well, but do you know the countless times my defenders tried to hold me back from making each basket? Me neither, but it was physically draining. However, it was something about passing my defenders and scoring that influenced me to seek different ways to reach the goal. I would often go baseline, drive into the paint, not to mention my intention to get the “And 1” in order to earn a free throw. Reflecting on those competitive times in my life, the back of my jersey should have had “Icy Hot & Epson Salt” logos on it from the bumps, bruises, or pain I experienced just for gaining points or a free throw, which later in life was interpreted as the glamorous pathway to receive a “free education”. Nonetheless, it was a powerful feeling or thought that goes along with making this type of power move, driving to the basket, especially, when your defenders aren’t able to stop you from scoring. In your competitive mind, you’re thinking, “You can’t stop me or you can’t hold me down!” “Are you trying to block my destiny?” Watch me find another way to get to that basket! “Talking Trash” and fighting your fears with courage as your ammunition to make that goal! #Don’tBeASlaveForTheGameButRedefineTheRulesWithYourFreeWill
I can apply this same competitive concept to the game of business with the risk I am willing to face for free enterprise. There’s a target audience for what I plan to do and I believe they will be anxiously waiting to hear my motivational words of wisdom and will be eager to apply my disciplinary principles in a workshop formation. I look forward to the opportunity to coach people on the “WORK” that is necessary for winning results! We’ve all learned in this “game of life” that most people desire an easy basket, even want you to shoot for them, or you to drive to the basket taking the bumps and bruises for them while they watch, as well as, analyze your game from the sidelines. In fact, some people don’t respect you until you beat them at their own game. Yet, I believe redefining the game is when we respect people upfront ; eliminating the hate or vengeance involved with being divided and spend more time, money, or energy on winning this game together! So my organization, Compete With Purpose, LLC will explore the collaboration of two concepts: Competition vs. Compassion so that we “All” can Win With Wisdom! #CompeteWithCompassion
So getting back on track with my reflection – Towards, the end of my basketball career, I began playing smarter when attempting to score. For instance, the two strategies of many that I used to become a better basketball player were to deliberately box out and work diligently on my outside shot. As “life players”, we know we have to work on our inner and outer game in order to remain balance in this “game of life”. Therefore, starting from the ground up, boxing out with your feet solid on the ground while positioning yourself for an offensive rebound is the best strategy to master your opponent in order to rise up to the occasion of winning competitive games. Not to mention, the perimeter shot that can look so “artistic” when the shooter’s arch “poses” with a precise “stroke” outside of the “paint”. Furthermore, when you discover the physics and the mathematics behind making a basket, it will reward you with the sweet sound of the net welcoming the ball with open arms. Of course, everyone knows the perfect harmonic sound when they hear it, “Swoosh”. The sound that any “balla” wants to hear to validate his or her greatness while playing the game of basketball. So as life players, let’s strive to stay balance, grounded, and embrace the love behind the game. #Love&Basketball
Next, I would like to continue to share the concept of boxing out, a powerful yet underrated strategy, which connects to the business principle, “positioning”. It focuses on positioning yourself for achieving your goal. Now naturally, I had the gift to jump, but over time my knees became tender and it added some excruciating pain to my game. So instead of trying to out jump my opponents, I positioned myself so that if the ball bounced to my side of the basket, it would “fall in love” with my hands. This “learning concept” demonstrates that when I applied my mental ability, it outweighed my physical disability. It was a great technique that made my flaws look so flawless and made some people fall in love with my graceful game. #PlaySmart&MakeItLookPretty
The second strategy worth acknowledging is my effort towards enhancing my outside shot. If people only knew the work behind my outside shot around the perimeter; I must humbly confess that I was hardly a natural outside shooter. In fact, I believe my shooting form was “literally inarticulate” during high school when I attempted to communicate my shot with the basket around the perimeter. Therefore, I took comfort in scoring by driving to the basket, running hard as I could during fast breaks just to score an easy layup, not to mention, the infamous drop step, my first coach, Mr. Selby taught me. Furthermore, shooting the ball was a life lesson that took hours of preparation. I truly remember learning how to master the necessary force to shoot the ball based on how high I jumped. This academic lesson connected shooting a jumper with the momentum of physics, along with the repetition of mathematics in order to master the acute angle of making a basket. For example, I recall one of my college teammates, Tammy Brown and former college coach, Doris Moncrief who showed and helped me with the scientific method of shooting. Doris really helped me my senior year in college to experience the magic behind shooting, which was the highlight of my game against Bowie State when I achieved my 1,000th point. Who would have thought that science, art, and love had such a connection to the game of basketball? In my opinion, if school lessons were taught with these types of metaphors, everyone would bring their A game to class. #MakeYourWeaknessesYourStrategyToWin
Now, most fans of basketball look forward to the entertaining talents on display as these players are participating in the challenge of “Survival of the Fittest”. Everyone who is watching the game from the stands just see the outcomes of this work ethic I speak of; No one really knows that when my peers were sleeping, 5 o’clock in the morning I was on my way to the gym to meet up with teammates who wanted to play this “Hunger Game” with me. Furthermore, if I did not work as hard during the basketball season, then I had to redeem myself during the summer. So when some of my peers were chilling out with idle time or trying to find love, I had a serious attitude about accomplishing my goal. During high school and college, I recall some summers getting up early in the morning to play at Druid Hill Park or neighborhood courts by myself or with my friends playing against a whole bunch of grown men, who would often argue about every single play. Also, I recall summer evenings playing at Dorsey Road’s basketball court with All-American, Chanel Wright, one of my big sisters from Western High School matching up with talented men. We knew that if we played with or competed with men that would enhance our game to new levels. One of my strategies while playing with males would be to play the point guard position in order to work on my ball handling skills. Furthermore, I spent time working out during my sophomore year with my childhood friend, Ali Culpepper, who was an All-American football player. I would lift weights with him to build my strength and attempted to do calisthenics with his trainer to prepare me for complex game situations. Consequently, the way that I maximized my time and chose my company had a lot to do with my success as an athlete. I’ve learned that when preparing for big events in your life, you are often alone and people do not even understand why you are so serious or intense about this game of life. The only thing I can say is that with that disciplined mind set, You Will Get Results! #CollaborateWhileCompeting
Overall, taking time out to prepare to score is a simple yet routine task that most people avoid especially when they feel like they are too smart to prepare because performing comes naturally. Others may want the ball to magically go in without putting forth any effort. Furthermore, some people may use their charm to get what they want out of the game of life and are not prepared to do their jobs, often letting a team of great potential down. However, I firmly believe that you can have a “winning team” when you seek and utilize each individual’s talent so that everyone can determine their best way to score a basket. Thus, proves that there is more than one way for each individual to make a basket which defeats the traditional rule that “one size fits all”. Therefore, downplaying diversity does not count anymore! It is my duty and obligation to confirm that we cannot win this game of life without embracing diversity! #MakeitCountForEveryoneWhoIsInvolved!
Lastly, I may not have mentioned every one that has helped my basketball game, but I thank all past teammates from Northwood Recreation Center (especially Shemeika Johnson and LaKEYsha Holmes because we started playing basketball together), BNBL Leagues, Project Survival Leagues, AAU Summer Leagues, Western High School (special shout out to Ms. Breezy Bishop, who showed us that big things come in little packages and to go get a piece of that American pie!), and Fayetteville State University (I cannot forget to acknowledge Coach Mike Rich, who recruited me and made sure my academic schedule was on point. Also, Coach Eric Tucker who has the gift of humor about life that we all need while competing in this world). Not to mention my opponents because you all made me better too and that is what life is all about, “Making Each Other Better”! Challenging each other for greatness! So I look forward to sharing some other life lessons that I’ve learned and giving other valuable people some shout outs because it is always important to self-reflect on the people and events in your life that give you that compelling edge to “Compete with Purpose”!