The Harsh — and Beneficial — Truth About Getting Your Foot In The Door…

In Work On Your Game [The Book]
Check It Out

I get this message from a basketball player EVERY DAY. 

It always sounds like this. 

“I am [Name]. I’m [age], and [physical measurements description]. I want to play professional basketball. 

“I have [description of to-date basketball accomplishments, teams played for, stats]. I [touting personal virtues as a player — quickness, defense, shooting, etc]. 

“My problem is [description of why player hasn’t been able to get into a pro basketball career thus far — usually some form of a) college or high school coach mishandling of the player b) parents not allowing player to practice/play more c) being from a town or country where basketball is not popular d) having no knowledge of how/where to begin to get into the pro game].” 

“If you could help me in any way, I would really appreciate it. Thanks.”

These messages are always impressively well-written and professionally worded. It’s interesting to me how formal and polite people become when they need something and they think they’re talking to someone who can provide it. 

Well, they’re right: I can provide it. It just won’t be in the way that you expect. 

Here is what anyone — athlete, model, job-seeker, entrepreneur, wanderer trying to find your way in life — needs to know to get the opportunity you seek. 


There are no handouts in this game called “Life.”

PUT YOURSELF ON. There are no handouts in this game called “Life.” Click To Tweet

Yeah, there are some lucky people who are born into the right family or know someone who knows someone, and thus get to jump the line ahead of the rest of us. 

Those people are few and far between. If you have to ask if you’re one of them, you’re not. 

I wasn’t. 

If you are or were, then shit, you should write an article about it. 

A model or actor does casting calls and auditions and readings, pays for photoshoots to keep their portfolio up-to-date, all in between shifts waiting tables — for the chance that they land a role and get their break. 

There was a memorable scene on America’s Next Top Model that you can find on YouTube — look up “Tyra yells at Tiffany.” 

Tyra Banks screamed on a show contestant for her entitled behavior, exclaiming how the girl wasn’t taking responsibility for herself. That scene was great “reality” television. 

An entrepreneur starts business after business and creates and sells product after product, investing their own time and money into these failed ventures — with the hope that one eventually “hits” and they can finally support their family. 

Shark Tank investor Mark Cuban has told his story of sharing an apartment with 6 other people and sleeping on the floor in his twenties before selling his first company. 

A basketball player who wants to go pro needs to attend tryouts and exposure events, and pay their way to all of them — and maybe one of them produces an opportunity for you. 

I’ve told my pro basketball story many times in writing. I’m sure I’ll tell it again. Read Work On Your Game [The Book] if you haven’t yet heard it. 


We’ve all heard the stories of those who’ve come before us and how they all had to struggle and fight to create their chances. Sometimes we hear the stories so much that we roll our eyes when they start telling the story AGAIN. 

People tend to think — wrongly — that because someone came before them and fought to “get on,” that it means the next group won’t have to do the same. 

The basketball players who come to me with the “help me get on” requests seem to believe that sending me an email will unlock the pro basketball world for them. 

After all, didn’t I go through the struggle so it would be easier for them? 

You know, “HOV did that — so hopefully, you won’t have to go through that!” 


The benefit for the next generation of what I learned in getting into the hoops profession is NOT that you won’t have to work. 

It’s that you know exactly WHAT THE WORK IS. 

The benefit for the next generation of what I learned in getting into the hoops profession is NOT that you won’t have to work. It’s that you know exactly WHAT THE WORK IS.  Click To Tweet

I didn’t have the luxury of knowing the work. You do. 

These days, my business is best described as “online marketing.” 

There are plenty of people who are doing it and have done it — and have done it well. The benefit I get from them is not that they’ll do my work for me — it’s that I don’t have to go through so much trial and error figure out the process on my own. 

I can read and watch and listen to them and model what works. But I still have to do the damn work. 

My parents were smart and able to provide the basic food/clothing/shelter — but they were decidedly not in a position to give any more than that. 

I didn’t inherit any businesses. I didn’t grow up with any “well-connected” relationships that opened doors for me. No one taught me how to play basketball. 

And, while I don’t have anything to compare it to, it’s almost better that way. 

Maybe it’s just me, but achievements aren’t as worthwhile if I don’t have to earn them. 

Maybe it’s just me, but achievements aren't as worthwhile if I don’t have to earn them.  Click To Tweet

When I reach a goal, the best part is not the trophy or the check or the fans. The best part is looking at myself in the mirror and saying, “I did it.”

I. Me, myself. 

I believe that others who accomplish things feel the same way. 

Knowing this — that you did it — is where the confidence and swagger and self-assurance that many seek come from. 

Money gets spent. Trophies collect dust. Fans move on to the next popular person. But knowing that you — YOU — did that thing, that lasts in your forever. 

Money gets spent. Trophies collect dust. Fans move on to the next popular person. But knowing that you — YOU — did that thing, that lasts in your forever.  Click To Tweet

The challenge of putting yourself on comes with that benefit. There’s no other way to get it. 

Where have you had to “earn it” and can now appreciate all the more because you had to fight your way to achievement? Reply and let me know — I read all responses. 

PS — here are some of my MasterClasses on making it happen for yourself that you can take in: 

#549: The Real Ones Create Their Own Opportunities

#454: How To Become Your Own Opportunity

#429: The Key To Lost Opportunity: Showing Up Unprepared

#273: Preparation & Opportunity: The “Hawk Mentality”

#108: How To Create Endless Opportunity In Life

#1346: Your Current Opportunity Is Your BEST Opportunity

#1138: You Never Know When Opportunity Is Watching

#1025: The Opportunity Is In The Opposites

#842: Fast Opportunity: How To Take Advantage Quickly

#751: Opportunity Does NOT Knock

#1319: Giving Yourself More Chances To Win

#1258: When You See Your Chance, Take It

#1215: Does Everyone Deserve A Chance?

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