By Christopher Lochhead
Things can go tragically, horribly wrong in life.
Accidents happen, loved ones get sick and houses burn down.
Bill Walton, NBA Hall-of-Famer and Emmy award-winning ESPN announcer, knows this all too well.
He has spent half of his adult life in a hospital or bed due to a horrible bone condition in his feet and an almost fatal spine collapse.
Despite these obstacles, Bill won two national championships at UCLA and two finals victories during his tenure in the NBA. And he’s been named one of the 50 greatest players of all time.
He came on my podcast to talk about how he’s overcome the challenges he’s faced. His answer?
Positivity. This guy is all about peace and love, and he shares that positivity is the most powerful force out there.
This is not just about business—this is about life. This is about everything you do every day. Here’s what we can learn about loving life from the greatest basketball ambassador in the world:
1. Teachers can help us learn how to be bigger than ourselves
If you have a goal, the next thing you need is a teacher. Someone who has been where you want to go and can show you the way forward.
Bill is extremely aware and appreciative of all the help that he’s had throughout his life. One of the most impactful teachers he had was his elementary school basketball coach, Rocky.
Bill isn’t even sure if Rocky knew much about sports, but his love for life and positive attitude made a lasting impression. The retired fireman was a volunteer coach every season for 59 years, and he never took a penny.
He simply devoted his time and energy to the kids out of love.
Take a page from Bill Walton’s playbook and appreciate the value that teachers, in all their shapes and form, bring.
2. Money is not wealth
If you cultivate positivity and find a purpose for your life, it doesn’t matter what’s in your bank account — you’ll still be the richest person in the world.
Bill says that one of the great things about legendary coach John Wooden is he had zero interest in money. His highest salary at UCLA ever was 32,500 bucks, and he spent most of his career as a high school and college coach.
John went from being a teacher to 12 young men (Bill included) to going out and teaching the entire world. And his impact was much greater than any material possessions or an inflated salary.
Experience—seeing, hearing and feeling life—trumps money every time.
And we need to build an economy of doing positive things: hoping, dreaming, teaching and helping others.
3. Technology will move humanity forward
The times are a-changin’. The knowledge and information at our fingertips grow every day.
And as technology evolves, you have to change with it.
Because medical advancements saved Bill’s life, he’s particularly excited and hopeful for how we can use technology to make our lives better.
One thing he’s really passionate about is how technology will allow us to reduce consumption. We have over seven billion people on Earth (and counting), but there’s a limited amount of water and arable land. If we continue polluting and destroying everything, we’re going to kill ourselves.
To survive as a species, we need to embrace technologies that help us reduce our waste. This requires us to lead by example and to change how the world thinks about our current practices.
Technology gives us the tools to hope for a better, brighter future.
4. Who you are tomorrow should always be better than who you are today
The opportunity to improve and develop ourselves is a gift.
Although Bill Walton is a professional sports announcer, he claims he’s not a good public speaker and can’t think quickly on his feet.
During a live basketball event, there’s all this madness going on around him: people yelling in his year, producers telling him to not mess up and reminders to get in a promo or sound bite. Bill admits that he has trouble getting all his thoughts out on air.
It’s only after the game that a flood of thoughts enter his head like a tsunami —things he forgot to say and do when the cameras were on. So as he’s lying in bed wide awake after games, Bill reaches for the notepad he keeps on his nightstand and writes notes for how he can improve next time.
Be grateful for tomorrow, it’s another chance to get things right.
5. Gratitude is your attitude
Here’s a good rule: sometimes it’s good to count your blessings.
Bill is happy for the simple things in life: to live in beautiful California, where it’s always sunny and warm, and the chance to have met all his musical heroes like Neil Young and The Grateful Dead.
By focusing on anything and everything you’re grateful for, you’ll feel like the luckiest person on the planet.
And you shouldn’t rank or compare concerts, coaches, children, championships or congratulations. Bill just enjoys them all and you should, too.
That’s what loving life is all about.
Note: This post on Bill Walton first appeared on The Ascent.
By Christopher Lochhead
When you ask the average professional athlete what got them to where they are, most will credit hard work, determination and discipline. Three-time NBA champion Andre Iguodala’s answer? Life design.
The 2012 NBA All-Star and current Golden State Warriors swingman says that, with the right life design, “you’ll learn what it takes to be an NBA world champion. Your own ideas of dedication, sacrifice, commitment, and performance will be expanded.”
Don’t forget to have some fun and laugh a little along the way though, he adds.
I was stoked to have Iguodala on my podcast to talk about life design—how you can build the life you want through forethought and willpower. The goal here is to leave you with valuable actionable advice that will immediately help you design a life built for success, whether that looks like a big, shiny NBA Championship ring on your finger or a corner desk with a view in your company’s C-suite.
Build that culture.
Sure, the Golden State Warriors roster is chock full of talent highlighted by big names like Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant. But it’s the culture they’ve built to support their superstars that makes Golden State a true dynasty, says Andre Iguodala.
Simply put, talent alone isn’t enough.
Mark Jackson, the head coach of the Warriors for three seasons between 2011 and 2014, understood that. As a former player himself, he understood the ups and downs of playing in the NBA. Jackson wanted his players to play the game how they wanted to play it, to enjoy the ride. While his three seasons fell short of expectations, Iguodola credits Jackson for laying the foundation for what became a dominant team in the coming years.
When building a strong team culture, the best coaches and managers consider the personalities behind the players. They really get to know each name on the roster and envision how they will function both on the court and in the locker room.
Of course, two elite players who aren’t on the same page don’t have that chemistry. They will only bring each other and your culture down. This is true for both sports teams and in the workplace.
Picture a team of rowers in perfect synchronized unison. When your team culture is healthy, that’s how your organization will function—efficiently, seamlessly. But when something throws off that synchronization and disrupts healthy team culture, it doesn’t matter how much talent is on that boat or out on the court. Across all sports teams and companies, big egos and disputes over dollars can throw an entire organization out of sync.
For leaders of a team of any sort—whether it be the Golden State Warriors or a financial firm—building culture is mostly about getting everybody on the same page. You’ve got to create a support system that will help each individual become their best selves, achieve peak performance. It’s about taking a good, hard look at each piece of your organization and making sure the right ones are in the right places.
The three-point shot.
For every time Steph Curry sinks a three-pointer that draws a collective gasp from the crowd because it was so darn beautiful, hours of gritty, unsexy hard work behind the scenes made it happen.
Fans see Curry or Kevin Durant draining threes all day and call it talent. But it’s about so much more than that. It’s about the little things those guys do day in and day out to keep their minds and bodies right so they can perform that way. The guys who stay on top are able to because they put in the hard work behind closed doors—every damn day.
When someone tells Iguodala that they wish they could trade places with him, he says, “You wouldn’t stand a chance. You see me on TV for five minutes. The other 23 hours and 55 minutes, I’m working my tail off. This is not a game. It’s not a joke.”
How do you think about failure?
For Andre Iguodala, failure is a learning experience. Something that he truly believes he was meant to go through.
His sophomore year of college at The University of Arizona, Iguodala was in a dark place. Suffering from sleep deprivation, he wasn’t playing up to his own or his coach’s expectations. His confidence wavered. A career in the NBA seemed like a long shot. In terms of confidence, Iguodala considers himself “a late bloomer.”
Even when the Philadelphia 76ers called his name ninth overall at the 2004 NBA draft, 20-year-old Andre Iguodala wasn’t sure he was actually an NBA-calibre basketball player. But he used that self-doubt as the drive to get a little better each and every day.
What does it feel like to win a championship?
Up by a handful of points with two minutes to play in the 2015 NBA Championships, Andre Iguodala distinctly remembers Cleveland Cavaliers forward J.R. Smith—unstoppably sinking constant threes—striking fear in his bench. Of course, Golden State weathered the assault and ultimately came out on top. But even still, it didn’t feel real at first for Iguodala.
When the final buzzer of the 2015 season sounded, time froze. Iguodala didn’t know what was about to happen. He didn’t know what to do next. So he just embraced the moment.
As for what he’s taken away from having now won three NBA championships, Iguodala says that these are the lessons that stick out when he reflects back on his paths to glory:
- There are so many variables out of our control—don’t worry about them. All you can really do is train and prepare to be the best version of yourself.
- After you win your second (and third) championship, you get a little jaded.
- Understand that your opponent is on high 82 times a year and will play amazing because they are playing you—so have a little fun while staying in the moment.
- Reflecting back on all the struggles—“Man, remember we got over that hurdle? Remember this guy got hurt?”—and considering the culmination of your efforts will greatly broaden your perspective.
- The journey is the reward.
Designing the future.
Iguodala, 35, is already preparing for life after the NBA.
He looks forward to taking his talents to the business world—more specifically, investing in the exciting nearby world of Silicon Valley tech startups. Ever since he was a little kid, Andre Iguodala has been fascinated by math and numbers. Couple that with an intense natural curiosity and eagerness to learn, he is poised to become a successful venture capitalist.
There’s a classic quote—credited to both Mark Twain and Andrew Carnegie—that goes, “Put all your eggs in one basket, and then watch that basket.” This is a great way to think about taking advantage of the opportunities you have.
To that end, Iguodala says, “The window of opportunity—that window is very short. So, you just try to maximize that window with the understanding that you’re going to be alive until you’re 85 or 90 years old, and it’s not just about you. It’s about leaving a legacy behind for the next generation.”
Note: This post first appeared on Medium.
By Christopher Lochhead
Hustle, hustle, hustle.
This is arguably the top piece of success advice you hear today.
Entrepreneurial porn stars like Grant Cardone, Tai Lopez and Gary Vaynerchuk, love to pontificate at the church of hustle.
Vaynerchuk says hustle is “the most important word ever”.
Cardone sells a “hustle muscle” lime green wrist band on his website.
I wish I was making this up!
And Tai Lopez says, “hustle until the haters ask if you are hiring”.
I call bullshit. Here are 7 reasons why:
1) Hustle is a “no shit Sherlock”.
Success requires working hard.
Telling people they are going to have to work hard to be a success is like telling people who want to lose weight, they are going to have to eat less.
You know it. I know it.
We all read Malcolm Gladwell when he told us it takes 10,000 hours to master something.
Everyone already knows it.
Success takes hard work.
Sure there are trustafarians whose parents give them a ton of money and therefore they don’t have to work hard.
And some people win the lottery.
But, the vast majority of people who achieve any kind of success had to earn it.
2) Hamsters hustle
People confuse activity and results.
And they never get anywhere.
The seminal question is, does the work I do produce meaningful results that create value or am I spinning my wheel?
3) Work smart, not hard
My friend, Pat Hiban, host of The Real Estate Rockstars podcast makes the distinction between “horizontal” and “vertical” income.
This is something most of us didn’t learn in school.
Vertical income is money you have to do something for.
Sell car, make commission.
Punch clock, collect paycheck.
The vast majority of us get trained in this. We trade labor for pay.
The hustle pushers think the pathway to success is more work.
Horizontal income is money you make from investments.
You make one smart investment, and it pays you over and over again. I like to say it’s horizontal because you can get paid lying down!
On my podcast, Pat makes the argument that true financial freedom comes when you can pay your living expenses with horizontal income [SM1].
Thus, you don’t have to do any labor to pay for your lifestyle.
The hustle pushers often forget to mention that smart investments can get you out of the “hard work” rat race.
4) Don’t Hustle, Niche Down
In the movie “There’s Something About Mary”, there is a scene where the Ben Stiller character picks up a crazed hitchhiker — played by the legendary comedian Harland Williams.
As the vignette plays out, Williams’ a would-be entrepreneur who enthusiastically pitches his captive audience the can’t-miss business idea: a “7-Minute Abs” video that he is convinced will outsell the popular “8-Minute Abs” workout.
A no-brainer, right? Right?
A skeptical Stiller responds with: “That’s good — unless, of course, somebody comes up with ‘6-Minute Abs.’
Then you’re in trouble, huh?”
At which point, the hitchhiker and would-be entrepreneur starts convulsing in the passenger seat.
Most people and most businesses have a 7-Minute Abs strategy. They think they can win by playing a comparison game.
And the hustle hucksters tell you, you just need to compete harder. Win at all costs. Do what your competition won’t to win the business/deal/job.
The most successful people differentiate themselves.
They proactively position themselves in a niche they can dominate.
They don’t compete in any traditional sense. They work smart to become known for a niche they can own.
5) There is a “burnout crisis”
According to Gallup, 44 percent of people reported feeling burned out sometimes and 23 percent reported feeling burned out very often or always.
And employee burnout costs US corporations up to $190 Billion in healthcare spending, according to the Harvard Business Review.
6) The entrepreneur mental health crisis [SM2]
It turns out that entrepreneurs are:
- 2X more likely to suffer from depression
- 6X more likely to have ADHD
- 3X more likely to suffer from substance abuse
- 10X more likely to experience bipolar disorder
- 2X more likely to have a psychiatric hospitalization
- 2X more likely to have suicidal thoughts
Given this reality, telling entrepreneurial people to “hustle” more seems downright reckless.
7) Workaholics are not heroes
More than half of American office workers (58 percent) say they check their work email while still in bed after waking up and 48 percent consider themselves workaholics.
When did this become a badge of honor?
And making matters worse, Americans only use about half of their vacation time.
Only 23 percent of employees take off all of the time they’ve earned, and nearly 10 percent take no paid time off at all, according to Glassdoor.com.
We’ve become a live-to-work society.
We’ve gotten life backward.
How often do you hear, “I’ll relax when I retire”?
I have to admit. I used to fall into this trap all the time.
What did I learn?
When you’re working 60-80 hours a week and 51.5 weeks a year, you cannot be good at your job.
Because you’re fried.
And you’re probably not exercising enough.
And you’re probably not eating well.
And there is no way you can be caring for the people and relationships you value in your life.
It’s time to fuck hustle.
It’s time to start thinking about how to design a life that works.
A 360-degree life.
With the right cocktail mix of work, relationships, experiences, and wellbeing.
Christopher Lochhead is the host of the top 30 Business Podcast, Legends & Losers and coauthor with Heather Clancy of #1 Amazon Bestseller “Niche Down: How to become legendary by being different.”
Heather Clancy is an award-winning journalist, coauthor with Christopher Lochhead of “Niche Down: How to become legendary by being different.” She is also editorial director for GreenBiz.com.