There are more players walking around the gyms and playgrounds of the world who feel they could play pro ball than there are available roster spots. This means, you need to have qualities that separate you from the rest. If you think your differentiating skill is that you can score more points than the next guy, good luck. EVERY player thinks he/she can score 30. And even if you do, that doesn’t make you unique. We’ve all had our stat-sheet moments — and every player holding down the job you want has, too. So try again in deciding what makes you different.
Being a professional has nothing to do with what team you’re on (or if you’re even on a team) or how much money you have/make or how many points you had in your last game. The following qualities are what makes a pro, a pro. These apply to any aspect of life, as there are professional dog trainers, auto mechanics, and music producers. These traits are all 100% under your control and you can assume all of them, on purpose, right now.
- Showing Up Every Day, And People Knowing They Can Count On You To Show Up.There are lots of distractions out there for athletes. Resting on our laurels, chasing our sexual desires, hanging with our non-athlete friends, easier and less physically-taxing ways to make a living. I was in the gym working out some years ago and played this kid one-on-one. We talked after and he told me he really wanted to play overseas or college ball, since he hadn’t played since high school. Sizing him up — he was far from pro-ready but he had some skill to build on — I figured he would at least be useful as a practice dummy, so I told him to come to the gym every day and he could work out with me.He lasted about three weeks and I haven’t seen nor heard from him since. I doubt he made it to college or pro ball.
- Besides Your Family, Career Is First In Line.Everything you do should be done with business considered first. Yo could go out Friday night, but how will you be able to get up for Saturday’s gym session? You could give in to peer pressure and take that shot of Patron, but think about how you’ll feel the next afternoon when your trainer or workout partner is pushing you past fatigue. Will that patron help or hurt you? Spend the evening walking the mall, or staying off your feet to rest your feet and legs? If you choose to put the pursuit of pussy or “turning up” in the club with your friends ahead of your business, just know that you chose to do so, no one else.
- Understanding That It Is Not Just About Talent (Unless You Are In The Top .05%).The top .05% — that’s one-half of one percent, for this of you who hate reading decimals in percentages, like me — are the ones who have been star players their entire lives, were stars in high school, (went straight to the NBA or) high-D1 scholarship, first round draft pick (leaving school early) regardless of their college production, and will always be given a chance to play somewhere because their amazing talent is too much to risk missing out on.Does all of this description sound like your basketball career thus far? No? That’s Ok, it’s not mine either. This just means that talent alone will not save you. You have a nasty crossover? You can dunk with two hands off the vertical? An open jumpshot is a layup to you? Cool. Me too. And 10,000 other players, too. If you didn’t leave college early to enter the NBA Draft, your talent is not one-of-a-kind, which means you are replaceable. There is another player out there, who can do everything you can do, who wants your job. Are your current actions making it easier or harder for her to take that job from you?
- Anyone Can Get Lucky Once. Can You Build On It?Getting one contract and playing for one team is great: Now your foot is in the door. You should feel good. Now what will you do — kick your feet up and relax, or assume the actions of your new position? Reaching a higher level means you need to work and focus more, not less. Signing a contract makes you a target for all those players who are still in the place you just left. They want what you have. How will you defend it?Vanilla Ice made one great record. Ever see those half court shots at halftime of NBA games? It’s great when someone makes one. Think they could make it twice?I always feel that a person has to do something at least twice to prove it wasn’t a fluke. Prove it wasn’t luck by doing it again.
- Getting Paid Does Not Make You A Pro. Getting The Job Done Every Day, No What Your Emotions Are Saying, Is What Makes You A Pro.This is what Cus D’Amato (Mike Tyson’s trainer, and the man who taught Mike boxing) told Mike Tyson before a fight while Cus lay on his deathbed. Mike went out and won his fight, because that what a professional does: Block out all distractions, put emotions on mute, and go to work.If you’re on the sideline right now, you can “go pro” by changing your mindset. Pro is not about your physical location, material possessions, or even who knows your name. Pro is how you treat your craft. Are you consistent? Do you treat your work like a business (even when there is no money coming in)? Do you consider the effect that your daily actions have on your pro-ness? If you want to be something or someone, start acting like you already are.
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