How An NBA Hall-Of-Famer Cost Me Some Friends

In Basketball, Blog, Discipline, Personal Branding
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How An NBA Hall-Of-Famer Cost Me Some Friends - Dre BaldwinI was on the phone talking to a guy who was interested in having me conduct some business for him. He was the “Decision Maker” of his company when it came to finding people like me. I asked him about his budget for hiring people and he explained that there were many people they needed to hire in addition to me (which I knew). Thusly, he had to make the budget stretch to fit everyone: The more he pays one person, the less he has to pay another, and so on (I understood that). Since I had this guy on the phone, I figured I should learn more about how he — and others in his position — really thinks. So I started asking more questions.

As we talked, I perused this man’s business website and noticed that he had two people headlining an event he was putting on (that was similar to the type of event he was offering to have me involved in). One was a guy whom I’d never heard of, but from a quick Google search I could see that his name was well-known in his field.

The other headliner was a famous basketball player whose name you know very well. Maybe one day I’ll tell you who. But it’s not important to the story.

I got to ask the Decision Maker about the headliners of his future event — how they find those people and how they decide who to reach out to. Decision Maker told me that there was a separate group of people who chose the headliners and that he — Decision Maker — was merely a “worker bee” in the organization.

I remained silent. He kept talking (learn from this point).

Decision Maker went on to share how much they pay people like the headliners — this well-known guy whom I didn’t know, and Famous Basketball Player. The number he threw out were 100X more than what he had just offered me 4 minutes earlier.

Yes. One-hundred times more money. For the exact same amount of work (probably more work, actually), in the same place.

Once we got off the phone (no agreement has been made yet on our conversation, talks are ongoing), I had a moment of self-exploration that caused some fundamental changes within me. Here were my thoughts.

  1. I’m a guy who gets handled by “worker bees”? No. This must change. NOW.
  2. _________ (Famous basketball player) is 100X better than me? Hell no! (This wasn’t for anything basketball-related, I should note, though the answer would still apply).
  3. (After the emotion subsided — about 2 minutes) Ok, well if he’s getting 100X more money than me, he must be doing something that I’m not doing. The people who offered him what they offered him see something in him that they don’t see in me (or at least 100X more of it).
  4. Since he’s not 100X better than me, this is not a skill difference (Tony Robbins alert!) — It’s a philosophy difference. A Standard difference. The wiring of Famous Basketball Player’s mind and business are fundamentally different from mine.

I talked a few weeks ago about the people you surround yourself with. We become the average of the 5 people we talk to and hang with the most. I didn’t make up the principle, but it damn sure makes sense. If you think about different environments you’ve been in and the people in them, it’ll make sense to you to.

Then I thought about Famous Basketball Player and the people he probably deals with day-to-day. They’re not wasting time talking about bullshit — if any of them would even dare to call Famous Basketball Player with any BS, they’d be out of his circle without a second thought.

I once heard a supermodel quip, “We (supermodels) don’t get out of bed for less than $10,000.” It’s not about the money. It’s the principle of it. It’s her saying, ‘I’m on this level — either you meet me up here where I’m at, or don’t talk to me. I don’t come down there — ever.’

I looked at my phone and my recent text messages. I read some of the nonsense in there and it all came together.

Can I go from what Decision Maker offered me to what Decision Maker’s company offered Famous Basketball Player by surrounding myself with these people? Is Famous Basketball Player having conversations like these (in my texts)?

No and no.

So I had to eliminate some people. I didn’t call them or make an announcement. I just stopped replying. When (if) they call, I (will) answer and tell them the deal, which is this:

“I don’t have anything personal against you, but where I’m looking to go in life, I need to surround myself with people who are either there or on the same wavelength and headed there. I’m not mad at you, and I’m not judging you, but your actions show me that you’re not one of those people. So I can’t be talking to you or fuckin with you. ”

Usually the response is one of incredulity.

What are you talking about?

Huh?

Who do you think YOU are? 

I’m a guy who just got told by a “worker bee” that someone else was offered 100X more than me for the same job. And that can’t happen.

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