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SOMETHING IS COMING

Sorry that I missed you! I’m currently working on building something even better. Updates will come in a few weeks! Feel free to poke around a bit here or reach me on Twitter until then. @RCPatchett

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2017 – Raising The Bar


As with many of you, 2016 had its ups and it’s downs. The ups have become the highlight of my year, the moments I cherish and never want to forget. I thank those of you who were parts of those moments! As for the downs, I continue to learn from them. Life is a journey: your destination depends on your desire to learn, adapt, and continue pushing forward. No one said it would be easy, and it isn’t. Although my journey is still in it’s infancy, I am excited to begin to see the hints of the returns that will be coming as a result of the strong foundation that I have laid. The hard work is far from over, and 2017 is already shaping up to be filled with challenges and adventures aplenty.

Here’s to tackling the forces that stand in our way, to rising up against fear, and to making 2017 the best we have experienced!

#Goodbye2016 #PounceOn2017 #HappyNewYear #GoBiggerGoStronger

030

I have a confession to make.

 

There’s something that I do that tends to scare people and makes some people worry about my mental stability. I genuinely appreciate the concerns that are expressed when individuals discover this, but I want to make the case tonight in defense of this action.

 

So what is it?

 

When I’m overwhelmed with this world and have too many thoughts racing through my mind that I become (metaphorically) paralyzed and I cannot focus on what I should do, I pause and imagine I am on my deathbed.

 

Yes you read that correctly: I imagine I am dying.

 

In that moment, I ask myself “What does the scene look like? Where am I? How old am I? How did I get to that moment? Who do I want by my side? Would they be sad to see me go? How will I be remembered? And if this was a movie, what would be the music that completes the story?”

 

Why do I do this? Too many times in life we read about individuals who are not ready to die but must face the inevitable sooner than they had hoped. It is from these moments that we hear stories of individuals lamenting that they lived their life with regret. They say “I don’t want to go because _____.” For some, their regret may be based upon something they haven’t said to someone that they wish they now had the time to say or to make amends. For others, it may be the wish to see a part of the world before they go, or to return to a place that shaped who they became as a person. And yet for some, it may be for not having the courage to take a leap of faith into the unknown.

 

These individuals meet death while being flustered. They realize they have been living a discontented, perhaps shallow life that only bitter regret knows.

 

I don’t want this. AT. ALL! Instead, I want to die in a glowing peace, without regrets, and with confidence knowing that I did the best with the cards that were dealt to me.

 

And so, I choose to be odd in how I live my life. Instead of looking directly forward, I choose to first start by looking backwards, from the end of my life. I ask myself the series of questions I mentioned earlier, not to bring down my spirits to a depressing state, but rather to lead up to this overall question:

“If I know how I want to die, then how do I need to live my life now so that I can get to that point in the future?”

 

Somewhere along the line, society set milestones for our lives and then associated an appropriate age that mankind should accomplish that feat. How old a child must be to begin attending school. How many years we make our children study in school before they can enter into the workforce. How old a normal young adult is when they graduate High School, University, or Graduate / Doctoral programs. How old a normal person is before they get married. How many years you must work before you are eligible for a job promotion. How old a normal person is when they buy a home, or when they decide to retire. The list goes on.

 

Here’s my beef: Why do we say and believe any of that? Why do we limit ourselves based upon time and construct barriers based solely on numbers? Why don’t we focus more on our abilities or strengths? Because the moment that we accept such presuppositions, we set ourselves up for failure, for a life full of regrets. We become complacent in thinking “Well I just have to wait until a certain amount of time goes by and then one night while I’m sleeping, something will magically change and I will be able to finally do / receive that one thing I’ve waited for.” And before we know it, the focus of our existence here in this world shifts to one of waiting.

 

I cannot accept that as the fate for my life. I’m present, I’m active, and I’m a doer. Looking backwards on my life allows me to keep a fresh perspective and greater focus on what I need to accomplish as I move forward in life to get to that moment. Anything that doesn’t align with the trajectory to get me to that point is wasteful and gets cut out.

 

This technique may not work for you. Regardless, I hope you are able to find what you need in order to live your life without any regrets.

 

~R

024 – The Black Mamba

This is Part II of a series in which I share how my favorite athlete Kobe Bryant has inspired me both on and off the court of my career. You can read Part I of the series here.

 

At the end of the 2005 – 2006 season, Kobe’s year came to a close after an excruciating exit when the Phoenix Suns came back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Lakers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Kobe’s mind-boggling season was one of the most dominant individual seasons for a shooting guard in league history (the 62 point game in 3 quarters vs Dallas, the 81 point game vs. Toronto, scored 45 points or more in 4 consecutive games, averaged 43.4 ppg for the month of January, and finished the season with 35.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 4.5 apg, 1.8 spg). Yet despite a season filled with personal highlights, Kobe still finished 4th in MVP voting, behind Lebron James, Dirk Nowitzki, and MVP winner Steve Nash.

 

It was then that Kobe decided he needed to reinvent his image. He did so by switching from number 08 to 24.

 

Why was this a big deal? Kobe’s official response was that 24 was the number he first wore in high school (before switching to 33) and he wanted to wear it again. When Kobe first arrived at the Lakers in 1996, 24 was claimed by George McCloud and No. 33 was retired by the Lakers for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Kobe now had the chance to switch to 24. But there are other theories out there that suggest the number change found its purpose on a deeper level. Some say it was Kobe’s attempt to be one greater than 23 which belonged to Michael Jordan (who many consider to be the greatest to ever play the game). Others say it was a marketing scheme to boost new jersey sales.

 

But there’s one theory that I am more inclined to believe:

 

Kobe switched numbers to leave his past behind and create the opportunity for he alone to cement his future legacy.

 

Why would Kobe do this?

 

To start, there was the 2003 adulterous sexual encounter in Colorado that, although was dropped after the accuser refused to testify at trial, tainted Bryant’s reputation (both on and off the court) and cost him significantly in terminated endorsement deals and decreased jersey sales.

 

In addition, while wearing No. 08, Kobe was part of one of the most dominant 1-2 punch duos in NBA history. Both he and Shaq led the Lakers to become only the 5th team in NBA history to Three-Peat (win three championships in a row) during their championship runs from 2000 – 2002. No other professional sports team (in any league) has accomplished that feat since the Kobe & Shaq years. But all was not perfect in Hollywood as Kobe and Shaq began to feud. Kobe was viewed as the “Little Brother”, the young guy, the second fiddle to Shaq’s dominant rule. Kobe wasn’t happy with these titles, and who can blame him? During the 2001 playoffs (not season, PLAYOFFS), Kobe filled the stat sheets with 29.4. ppg, 7.3 rpg, 6.1 apg, and 1.6 spg, while shooting almost 47% from the field. These stats rivaled the best postseason stats that even Michael Jordan was able to muster during his prime!

 

By switching numbers, Kobe was able to put a powerful reboot on his career by giving himself a fresh look and a new identity. Gone were the days and the talk of Shaq’s Lakers. Kobe was letting the world know that he was no longer a role player for the Los Angeles Lakers, but instead he was THE STAR and the Lakers were HIS team! And along with a new number came a new nickname that instilled fear into coaches, players, and opposing fans throughout the league.

Kobe was reborn as #24: The Black Mamba.

 

Did it work?

 

In 2007, Kobe’s game continued to elevate. He would win the first of another 3 NBA All-Star MVPs (adding 2 more in 2009 as Co-MVP with former teammate Shaq and again in 2011). That year, Kobe also had a four game stretch where he scored 65 points, 50 points, 60 points, and 50 points, becoming only the 2nd player in NBA history to have 4 consecutive 50+ point games (second only to Wilt Chamberlain) and only the second Laker to score 50+ points in three straight games (which was also a feat that had not been accomplished in the NBA since Michael Jordan did it in 1987). Kobe would end the year with ten 50+ point games. TEN!

 

In 2008, the highlight reel dunks kept coming:

 

 

Kobe also became one of the first athletes to go viral when a video surfaced of him reportedly jumping over an Aston Martin:

 

 

In the middle of the season, the Lakers pulled off the greatest coup in NBA History by trading center Kwame Brown to the Memphis Grizzlies for Pau Gasol.

 

Pau Gasol was the missing piece to complete the Lakers quest to contend for the NBA Championship. By the end of the regular season, Kobe (FINALLY) won the League MVP. The Lakers would make a deep playoff run, but ultimately, they fell short in the NBA Finals, losing to their arch-rivals the Boston Celtics in 6 Games.

 

That summer, Kobe then became the undisputed leader of the 2008 USA “Redeem Team” and led the USA to a Gold Medal over Spain.

 

Back home, Kobe would continue on with (then) record setting performances, such as his 61 point performance at Madison Square Gardens (check out his spin move at 5:17):

 

Kobe and Pau together would lead the Lakers to back to back championships in 2009 & 2010, during which Kobe would be named the NBA Finals MVP for both years.

 

Check out Kobe’s circus shot around Dwight Howard in Game 5 of the 2009 NBA Finals (at 4:45):

 

Lakers fans will remember the stress we endured while watching Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals play out in Los Angeles as the Lakers sought revenge over the Celtics for their 2009 Finals humiliation. (And who can forget Metta’s clutch 3 or his post-game presser “Kobe Passed me the ball!” line). Even after coming back from a 13 point deficit, the most iconic moment from the night was when Kobe ended up standing above the scorer’s table, flexing, and screaming with the roar of the crowd as confetti fell from the rafters and Kobe was again named Finals MVP (see 12:54 in this clip).

 

 

In 2011, Kobe was on a personal vendetta to prove his haters wrong and win not only his second Three-Peat, but his 6th NBA Championship. Although the quest would fall short, the year was still filled with many vintage Black Mamba moments:

 

In 2012, Kobe would score 30+ points in seven consecutive games, a feat that would become the longest streak in NBA history for players 34 and older. As the season wore on, the number of games where Kobe had 10+ assists a game increased, which led to a modified nickname of “Magic Mamba” in tribute to Lakers legend Magic Johnson.

 

In that same year, Nike also created a series of commercials entitled “Kobe System” as a promotional campaign for Kobe’s latest shoe release. The commercials featured celebrities from various industries across the world. Kobe truly had gone global:

 

During the summer of 2012, Kobe rejoined the USA Men’s Olympic Team and again led the team to another Gold Medal victory over Spain.

 

 

By 2013, the voice of the critics continued to grow louder, citing that Kobe was past his prime and the glory days of the Lakers had passed. Kobe had other ideas, and he began to carry the team on his shoulders towards the playoffs.

 

Feb 5, 2013: Kobe sends a message to the league that he not only will still take on a team’s center, but he’ll still posterize not one but TWO players simultaneously!

 

On March 3, 2013: Kobe again served up another posterizing slam dunk, this time over former Slam Dunk Champion Josh Smith:

 

March 6, 2013, Kobe led the charge as the Lakers overcame a 22 point deficit on the road to defeat the New Orleans Hornets. Kobe provided the exclamation point as the Lakers embarrassed the Hornets on a final inbounds pass, leading to a Kobe breakaway dunk (see 6:06):

 

A few days later on March 9, 2013, after once again falling into a major deficit and needing a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, Kobe could not be stopped.

 

And then it happened.

 

April 12, 2013

 

At home against the Golden State Warriors, with 3:08 left in the game, Kobe’s body finally gave way. After a season of extensive minutes and years of playing through the pain, while driving to the basket, Kobe’s left Achilles Tendon snapped. He immediately crumpled.

 

While many feared a torn achilles, no official diagnosis was given immediately during the game. Instead, Kobe had another Hall of Fame moment as he hobbled back to the free throw line and sank two free throws.

 

After the game and once the official diagnosis was released, the sports world was stunned. Not only because Kobe had experienced an injury that for many was career ending, but also because Kobe blew us away with his toughness. Who else in the world could tear their achilles and still sink two free throws like it’s no big deal!?

 

As the sports world began to rally around Kobe and offer him encouragement, Nike released a powerful ad entitled “You Showed Us”.

 

Kobe would shock the sports world by returning from his achilles injury on December 8, 2013, less than 8 months after the initial injury. However a few games later, Kobe would fracture his knee which again side-lined him. Kobe would be plagued by injuries over the next year, including a torn rotator-cuff.

 

After announcing his retirement at the end of the 2015 season, Kobe’s farewell tour began. Stadiums around the nation were packed, crowds sold out, all to see No. 24 play for one last time during his Hall of Fame Career.

 

Then on March 22, 2016, in one of his final post-game interviews with Inside The NBA, Shaq managed to shock Kobe one more time.

 

After commenting on his 20 point game that night, Shaq then turned the conversation to the Lakers’ final game of the season, a home game against the Utah Jazz. It was then when Shaq said (starting at 2:38):

“Kobe… Can you promise me one thing: I need 50 (from you) that night”.

To which Kobe just about falls out of his chair, laughs, and responds “No, absolutely not!”

 

And then, on April 13, 2016, in the final game of his illustrious Hall of Fame career, Kobe again proved Shaq wrong and put on one of the greatest farewell performances in the history of sports.

 

Kobe dropped 60:

 

He willed the Lakers to one final victory;

 

 

Kobe dropped 60 and walked away from the game as a winner, a legend, one of the greatest to ever play the game. In a fitting way, Kobe left the league the same way he entered it: at the free throw line.

 

Between the bookends of his career, Kobe went from the kid from Philly to the NBA’s 3rd All Time Leading Scorer. He won just about every title imaginable, and he rewrote many of the record books. More importantly, he defied the critics, even through his last game.

 

So what does Kobe’s career have to do with me?

 

Kobe taught me work ethic. He taught me age is only a number. He taught me how to be obsessive in the pursuit of my goals. He taught me having haters probably meant I was doing something right. He taught us how to be both a villain and a hero. He taught me what an incredible feeling it is to prove others wrong. Kobe taught me that excellence isn’t a phase, it’s daily habit. He taught me how to not shy away from pressure. He taught me how to never stop learning and instead demand perfection from myself. He taught me to stand up to demons: both my own and ones others try to throw my way. Kobe taught me that while others may count us out, nothing is over until the final whistle sounds. He taught me how to fall, but most importantly, how to get back up and continue fighting. He taught me the value in living in attack mode. He taught me that even in the most agonizing pain, every moment is a must-win. Kobe taught me that greatness is born from one thing: being relentless. Day in and day out, always be relentless.

 

Thank you Kobe for all that you have inspired me to become! The journey is not over. It is only beginning.

 

~R

 

P.S. Think I left something out regarding Kobe’s career? Comment and let me know!

022

It’s not over until buzzer sounds.

 

There are a number of variations to this phrase that we could list or quote, but they all have the same point: Go all out until you know without a shadow of a doubt that the end has arrived.

 

Tonight’s NLDS playoff game between the San Francisco Giants and the Chicago Cubs demonstrated just that. In the top of the 9th inning, the Chicago Cubs were not only facing a 5-2 deficit, they were facing the potential of revisiting headlines and stories that have become dishearteningly routine over the past 108 years of the franchise’s history. Would the Cubs once again enter into the off-season reminded of the curse that has created the longest drought in sports history?

 

Down to their last 3 outs, the Cubs stared into the hostile stadium and said “Not tonight!”

 

Before their first out of the inning, the Cubs had tied the game 5-5. After an errant throw by the Giants, they had a runner in scoring position. A few pitches later, and the Cubs take a 6-5 lead. I’m not sure their pitcher threw a pitch less than 100 mph to close out the inning and the game. Phenomenal comeback for the Cubs as they move on to face the winner of Game 5 between the Washington Nationals and the Los Angeles Dodgers (Go Blue!).

 

Tonight’s game though reminded me of why we play the FULL game, and why it is so important to put in ALL of our effort in our work. As much as we want to plan for them, we rarely know when opportunities will come our way. What we can control, however, is our preparation and whether or not we will be ready to take advantage of the opportunities as they are presented to us.

 

That’s why victories aren’t determined out on the field, the courts, or on stage. Victories are won in the preparation before you even enter the arena.

 

Keep preparing as though there is no tomorrow. Keep pushing on despite what the critics might say. Keep believing that when opportunity presents itself, you will be ready to strike and seize it! Do this, and you will write an incredible future!

 

Was it surprising that the Chicago Cubs came back and won the Divisional Series tonight? Perhaps not. Their preparation is reflected in their league best record of 103 wins and 58 losses. They reached the NLCS last year, and although they were swept, the spent the off-season bulking up the roster for another deep post-season run. So far it’s working out for them.

 

One Positive note today: one of my template designs was reviewed in a system wide meeting and after voting, it was selected to be the model for new development. Granted, it’s nothing much and more so sets the standard for naming conventions and how everything else will be built moving forward, but that extra validation from other locations was a solid boost for me!

 

Hope you all are having a fantastic day! Keep smiling, keep laughing, keep rocking life!

 

~R

020

Negativity can be overwhelming and soul crushing. I like to think of myself as a strong minded individual, but even I have my days where everything seems to be too much to handle. It is in these moments that I turn to whatever positivity outlets I can find and focus solely on their contents.

 

One of these is the Instagram page “The Way We Met“.

 

Confession time: I am somewhat of a hopeless romantic. I realize it’s not the most masculine thing to be as society says a true man is one who is tall, extremely muscular and strong, and is, well, this:

 

 

or this:

 

 

The societal belief is that the always over the top, tough guy, bad boy mantra gets the girl, while the nerd, geek, caring good men finish last. Unfortunately I wasn’t gifted with the physical genetics that meets this typical societal belief. Sure, I would love to be taller, more muscular, faster, and stronger, but we can’t have it all. So I stick to my strengths: intelligence, work ethic, and compassion. If you want to fault me for being a romantic, go ahead. See if I (or my tribe) care.

 

When I need a break from the overwhelming negativity of this world (right now its politics both at a national level but also at my work), I like to pause and swing by “The Way We Met“. I love stories, and hearing how two people met and found their “Happily Ever After” gives me hope, it gives me something to look forward to.

 

Of course there are stories where the couple randomly ran into each other out of the blue, found their connection, and discovered a new side of life. Then there are also stories of couples who knew each other platonically for years, had some separation, reunited years later, and finally had the light bulb moment that “Wow, why didn’t we recognize this sooner?” Celebrity case in point: Mila Kunis & Ashton Kutcher:

 

I have no idea which one (if either) of those two scenarios are (or will be) playing out for me in my life. But, I do know this: I enjoy reading about other people’s stories and how they found their happiness because positivity and love does triumph over all the hate and disgust that is circulating the airways.

 

So here’s to you wonderful people out there that live your life with beauty, love, and positivity!

 

Here’s to living an authentic life, not one dictated to you by the social standards presented by the media. Here’s to living your life to bring smiles and happiness to those around you. Here’s to falling asleep at the end of every day without regrets, because living a full life is the only way we will discover what it is that we are truly looking for.

 

And once we discover this, that is when our “Happily Ever After” can begin.

 

~R

016

 

Music – Part I

 

This is the first of what will most certainly be many blog posts focused on the topic of Music.

 

Music was part of me even before I was born. When my father and his 4 siblings were growing up, as soon as they turned 5 years old, weekly piano lessons were a mandatory staple in their home. Practicing, and later performing, were also required. In fact there is a great story of when my dad and his twin brother were in middle school. My dad managed to break his arm while playing baseball, and within that week, his twin brother had managed to break his other arm (also playing baseball). They had been scheduled to perform a piano duet for a church function that next week. At first, both boys thought they had lucked out and wouldn’t have to play, but grandmother, never failing in her creativity, found a solution: my dad would play the left hand (with his right arm in a cast & sling), and my uncle would play the right hand (with his left arm in a cast & sling). Sure enough, they performed at the function and the story never was forgotten!

 

When they reached junior high, all five of the children joined the band and picked up an additional instrument. They would continue to practice and perform through college, with several of them winning prestigious state competitions which led to them performing as featured artists with professional symphonies.

 

Music is in my family’s blood! My father (through I’m sure great influence from my grandmother) made sure that was passed on to me.

 

When I was 4 years old, my parents wanted to start me on piano lessons (to follow in the family footsteps). Unfortunately living in a small, rural town in Central Wisconsin didn’t afford a lot of quality options. When my mom contacted the Suzuki center at the UWSP,  she was told that the waiting list for beginning piano students was several years long. She said “That’s ok. Put him on the list.” In an interesting twist of fate, before my mom hung up the phone, the lady on the other end said “But we do have an opening for beginning violin classes. Would that interest you?” My mom tells me that she thought “Sure why not? He can start with violin, learn some basics, and then we can switch back over to piano later.” And so within a few weeks, I had started violin.

 

I took weekly lessons up through my first quarter of college. Although I loved music, I realized I could not practice 8 hours a day. There were other things that I wanted to do with my life, other areas that I wanted to study. So even though I didn’t become a music major, I still kept playing with various groups: orchestras, symphonies, bands, and I had a great time! I’ve competed in many competitions, won many, performed in incredible venues around the world, performed on LIVE television (before even the days of Facebook), and have recorded and been a part of soundtrack releases.

 

But what drives my passion for music are the emotions that music elicits! Music can psych you up to the point where you think you can lift a car by yourself, or it can drive you to fear and torment you so much that you can’t sleep at night.

 

Take this example: Here is what Jurassic Park sounds like without John Williams’ soundtrack:

 

Now watch the same scene with the original score:

 

It is the soundtrack that creates the awe and excitement within us and takes us back to the very first moment we saw this scene. The music, which seems to play such a small role in the production and end product, actually makes us the biggest impact on the audience: it makes us believe our imaginations are in fact reality!

 

So as I close this blog post (more music discussions will follow), here’s the key takeaway:

 

In business, there are components that may easily be taken for granted, overlooked, or even flat out disregarded. Why does this happen? Typically it is because someone calling the shots doesn’t have the full perspective: they only see the cinematography. What distinguishes a good business from a GREAT business is the attention to detail that is examined in a collaborative effort by all members of the team! Build a team that is diverse, that welcomes and respects all feedback regardless of experience or tenure! Keep a fresh perspective alive, and always seek to find the new components that can push your product from being good to being GREAT!

 

Let the music guide your business to success!

 

~R

014

I woke up 11 hours ago and today has been NON-STOP ever since. I haven’t left the house, didn’t watch any football, and haven’t accomplished 2 of the main big tasks I wanted to tackle today.

 

BUT, was today a failure? NO! Today has been a great “Foundation Day”!

 

What is a “Foundation Day”, you may ask? It is a day where you do nothing but prepare and build a solid foundation that will allow you to accomplish a big task or project in the future. The key is that you are not actually working on any of the projects: you are only planning for them, making sure everything is aligned and ready to go (i.e. setting a strong foundation). This is so that when you do have time to work on the projects or when you are given the green light to engage in the activity, everything is already set / ready to go and you can hit the ground running!

 

I use Foundation Days to tackle multiple projects at once. For some of these projects, it requires doing a lot of research and gathering data I need to make an educated decision. For other projects, it means getting on conference calls and determining what everyone’s current status is (what’s going well, what’s not going well) and what their future goals or objectives are. This knowledge then allows me to leverage my planning to get a general idea of what is coming down the pipe, what resources I will need for when I do take action, and what I need to do to ensure that I am always prepared for whatever opportunities may come my way.

 

So what did I do today? I researched two different ways to improve security and work flow for a business. I then looked into different aspects for my family holiday in December and examined how I might balance these components with potential work related possibilities. I then was also coordinating and finalizing plans for a conference I am (and potentially some of my family may also be) attending in February 2017. Furthermore I have been planning out my continuing education up through July 2017, along with nailing down my vacation schedule for 2017. I did some initial strategy analysis, and also talked with my dad about another potential investment for the two of us. I did some account cleanup and synchronization following a company merger so that rewards and data are now aligned for better tracking and redemption. Finally, my unread emails had ballooned to close to 1,000 this week, so I did some cleanup and brought that back down to a semi-more manageable number of ~400 unread. (I’m weird in that I leave some of my personal emails marked as unread until I actually complete that entire project. Helps with quickly finding things in Gmail. But my work email via Outlook is much more managed and organized!).

 

So did I get done everything that I wanted to do today? Nope, not even close. However, mentally I am feeling GREAT because I know that this Foundation Day is setting me up for greater success as I am now more organized and ready to jump in full blast once I (or other individuals) give the green light to launch these upcoming projects.

 

Do you have your own version of a Foundation Day? If so, what does it look like? I would love to hear any feedback that you may have that might help us discover what the best format for our next Foundation Day looks like!

 

~R

008 – Kobe: Arriving on the Scene

This is Part I of a series in which I share how my favorite athlete Kobe Bryant has inspired me both on and off the court of my career. You can read Part II of the series here.

 

Yesterday I wrote about how I incorporate a few traits from James Bond into my life. Today, I’m writing about the first 10 years of my favorite basketball player:

 

#08 – Kobe Bryant

 

Before Kobe was even drafted, there were doubters. There were haters.

 

There were those that said he was taking too big of a gamble by risking it all on the NBA instead of going to college. Only 5 other players had ever made the leap before him (Reggie Harding, Moses Malone, Darryl Dawkins, Bill Willoughby, and Kevin Garnett). He was nothing like Kevin Garnett, who had made history the year before by becoming the first player in 20 years to be drafted straight out of high school. They said he would never survive the physicality of the game: he was too skinny, too small, not developed enough.

 

But Kobe believed differently.

 

Kobe had a defiant personality. He was the first one in to work and the last one to leave. He thrived on challenges. He had no problems standing his ground against any opponent in his way, even former Lakers legends themselves. When the man who became the NBA Logo himself saw Kobe’s pre-draft workout against Lakers legend Michael Cooper, Jerry West was only left to say “Best workout I’ve ever seen.”

 

Kobe was more than competitive. He was fearless. How else do you explain a rookie shooting an air ball on a potential game winning shot in a playoff elimination game, yet in overtime, having the guts to come back and keep continue shooting—even when his next three shots were all air balls themselves?

 

But more importantly, he never stopped pushing himself to improve his game. His perennial nominations to the All Star team and All Defensive Team would soon begin. Kobe also began expanding his game at the three point level and set the record for the most three pointers scored in a single NBA game with 12 three pointers (that record has since been tied twice).

 

But what made Kobe so exciting to watch was there wasn’t such a thing as a boring regular season game for Kobe. In his mind, each and every game was a Must! WIN! We never knew what he was capable of, which made every game he played in a Must WATCH game! When he was in his zone, it didn’t matter if the entire opposing team tried playing defense on him, he was determined to outscore them all. And on December 20, 2005, he did just that. After 3 quarters, the score was Kobe 62, Dallas 61.

 

For many players, breaking 50 points would be an incredible dream. Scoring 62 in only 3 quarters would be the highlight of their career. But 33 days later, on January 22, 2006, Kobe showed us how to do the seemingly impossible.

End of the 1st Quarter: Kobe – 14 points.

End of the 2nd Quarter: Kobe – 26 points

End of 3rd Quarter: Kobe – 53 points

End of 4th Quarter: Kobe – 81 points.

 

His scoring output per quarter: 14, 12, 27, 28. And while his individual quarter stats don’t seem that impressive (especially when you compare it to Klay Thompson’s 37 point outburst in the 3rd quarter on January 23, 2015), it’s Kobe’s tenacity that stands out. The rest of the team only scored 41 points, and for the majority of the game, the Lakers were losing badly! The Raptors tried to focus their defense solely on Kobe, forcing double and triple teams on him, yet Kobe kept attacking.

 

His Final Box Score: 28-46, 7-13 from 3 Point Range, 18-20 from the free throw line, 81 points, 6 Rebounds, 3 Steals, 2 Assists, 1 Block, 1 Win. The only disappointment of the evening: Kobe snapped his streak of consecutive free throws made at 61 in a row.

 

I still love this coverage by ESPN after the game:

 

 

 

So what does this have to do with me?

 

I’ve lost track of the number of doubters and haters I’ve encountered in my life.

All those times where someone has told me “You’ll never be able to do that and you’re wasting your time thinking that you can. You need to lower your expectations, come back to earth, and live in the real world” — those moments are a broken record that loop constantly in the back of my mind.

There are days where I think I have more doubters than I do members of my support team. But it’s in those moments that I look back to how Kobe arrived to NBA prominence and adopt a few of his keys to success:

 

When you have the guts to ignore the doubters and the haters, when you choose to be fearless of all the challenges that are presented to you, when you believe that through your killer work ethic that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, that is the formula for success. That is how you find true empowerment, and that is how you prove the doubters wrong.

 

It’s how you win. It’s how you pave your own path in life. It’s how you create your own legacy.

 

And that’s what I’m all about.

 

~R

 

P.S. Tune in for #024 to see the 2nd half of this blog.

007

Living in Secrecy

 

I consider it to be the utmost form of disrespect to Ian Fleming f I were to have a blog post entitled “007” and not mention James Bond. If you are an individual who hasn’t heard of or seen a James Bond film, let me share my favorite opening scene with you, which comes from Casino Royale:

 

Let’s briefly talk about how I incorporate Three Bond-esque traits into my life.

 

Who doesn’t want to be stylish like Bond? I surely can’t be the only guy who dreams of having a tailored tuxedo and leaving a fashionable party with my bow tie hanging around my neck and walking out while escorting a beautiful woman in a long evening dress to my luxury car. Bond has developed his own style. He knows what works best for him, and more importantly, he knows quality when he sees it and won’t sacrifice for anything less (ok so Vesper sized him up and gave him the dinner jacket, but still if you’ve seen the previous scene, remember Vesper’s words: “There are dinner jackets, and dinner jackets. This is the latter”). Now you may be in the same situation I am in which I’m nowhere near capable of owning an Armani Suit, but at least I do know the importance of having form fitted and (when available) tailored clothing. We always hear the saying “You can tell a lot about someone by looking at their shoes.” Sadly, the same goes for their clothes as well. It doesn’t mean you have to buy expensive brands, but know quality when you see it and be willing to make additional alterations as needed for the best fit (and in the words of Ryan Gosling “Be Better Than The Gap“).

 

Bond also knows exactly what he wants and he doesn’t waver from it. “A medium dry martini, lemon peel. Shaken, not stirred.” Now I don’t drink (personal preference), but I especially like Bond’s decisiveness here. When you know something works well, stick to it until you find something else that works better for you. Yes some people may say “Live life a little: be adventurous.” And in some settings, they have a point. But the key here is to know what you are willing to compromise. For Bond, that was compromising rules here and there, but his martini? Never!

 

Finally, Bond is full of secrets. We almost never know exactly what he does or does not know, nor do we know exactly what he will do. Bond is not only unpredictable, but he is also keenly observant. He studies people, learns their habits, their flaws, and then begins to anticipate what they will do when presented with a specific situation. Before we know it, Bond has already plotted several moves ahead and the argument can be made that Bond uses this to his advantage to influence a situation to his needs. I believe this is crucial to success. An individual who can study others, learn how they operate, and then anticipate their next moves—while simultaneously not revealing their own hand and their preparation for multiple outcomes— is an individual who will go far in life. I have yet to master this trait, but it is a journey worthy of pursuit.

 

Some may say being James Bond is all about the physical skills and gadgets one may have, but being a true Bond is all about the mentality. Find it and watch how your world begins to change.

 

~R