Imagine your basketball career is over. Maybe you finished up as a high school player, maybe you made it to the college ranks, or even played professionally. You’ve played your last competitive game and are now looking back on your career. Take a moment and imagine how you’re feeling. Are you disappointed or proud?
What would have to happen for you to reflect on your career and call it a success?
Is it about accomplishing a certain goal? Earning a college scholarship? Playing in the NBA? Earning a certain amount of money? Winning a championship? Being named MVP?
When I first did this exercise, I started thinking about awards, stats and championships. Winning league championships in high school and college, being an all-American and hopefully playing in the ACB one day. But as I thought about it more deeply, those awards became less relevant and I shifted to a different idea: reaching my full potential.
John Wooden’s definition of success is spot on.
If I could look back on my career and say with complete certainty that I made the most out of my ability, I will be content.
That being said, I don’t think that anyone has ever truly maximized their potential. Even the greatest players in history have left some scrap of talent unrealized. Maybe it meant not treating their body right and leaving a bit of athleticism undiscovered. Or maybe they didn’t put in quite enough effort toward improving their ball handling or shooting.
It’s impossible to be perfect, but I want to get as close as I can. I’ve worked diligently to extract the most from my physical gifts and to develop my skills and basketball knowledge.
The next (and most difficult) step I have to take if I want to become be best I’m capable of becoming is to overcome my mental hurdles (I’ve mentioned some of these hurdles in previous posts here and here). I view these mental hurdles as just another obstacle in my way that I plan to overcome.
When I was too skinny, I hit the weight room and got stronger. When I wasn’t a good enough shooter, I went to the gym and worked to improve my shooting. Now, the problem I face is mental. But I plan to attack that weakness in the same way I’ve dealt with other challenges in my game.
The reason I’m sharing this is because it's not fun to look in the mirror and honestly evaluate my weaknesses. It would be much easier for me to not address my mental shortcomings and live in the comfort of ignorance. But that would be antithetical to my definition of success. And by sharing this with you, I hope you can have the courage to see the truth in yourself.
I know It’s not comfortable to dredge up the fears you may have both on and off the basketball court. But revealing the truth is a necessary step if you want to reach your full potential. And reaching your full potential is how I define true success. So if you want to be able to look back on your career and be able to call it a success, it’s necessary to face your flaws with courage and work diligently to improve them.