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Thoughts, Words, Action!

April 18, 2011

OnOffSwitchThis past weekend, the 2011 NBA finals started and offered up all the excitement that had been anticipated over the last few months of regular season play.  I believe that for the first time since the playoffs expanded to 16 teams in 1984, both the #1 and #2 seed lost their first game of the first series.  As I am an avid LA Lakers fan for nearly 30 years (I was wearing my Lakers earrings yesterday that I bought in 1988 when Magic was playing) I was disappointed with the outcome of yesterday’s game – Lakers (#2 seed) lost to the New Orleans Hornets (#7 seed).  This started me thinking about the recent debate about “is there a switch that can be flipped on and off” and if yes, when will the Lakers flip that switch back on permanently.  Now, you may wonder why I am writing about this on what is a business blog, not a sport’s blog.  Well, the NBA players definitely have a job to do and get paid very well to do that job.  Just like nearly all business people, the players are expected to show up to their meetings prepared to work and give their best performance.   Just like in business, sometimes this doesn’t happen or meetings don’t go as expected.  Sometimes the quality of one task may slide because all your energy and effort are put into a bigger, more important task.  So let’s take a look at why this may have happened and how can we apply this to our business and personal lives. 

Recently while listening to Alistair Begg on a local radio program, he spoke about the following concept:

Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.

Now let’s take the Lakers 2010-2011 season and see if we can apply this concept.  From December until the all-star break, the Lakers lost many games that many thought should have been easy wins (Ask John Ireland from ESPN about the “walk” from Cleveland back to LA).  When Kobe Bryant was asked about this “slump”, his response was “is it the playoffs yet—No”.  So if we surmise from this comment that the thought was that the regular season really didn’t matter all that much and the resulting action was that the Lakers may not have been giving 100%, can we see if the result of those actions led to habits.  At the end of the season, the Lakers came very close to taking the number 1 seed away from San Antonio Spurs, the team with the best record in the West since very early on in the season.  Once they knew they were going to be unable to do this, many began to think that the switch may have been flipped back off.  Now, I could argue that this may have been exactly what the Lakers needed to do – not play as aggressively as they might usually do, rest the key players for the upcoming playoffs, etc, etc.  But then came Sunday’s game against New Orleans.  The Lakers certainly did not play with the energy and enthusiasm that brought them a 17-1 record after the All-Star break.  One might say that they played with many of the bad habits that started when the switch was flipped off.  In a post-game interview, Lamar Odom stated that “it’s good to be humbled” – maybe they forgot to turn the switch back on. 

When you become overconfident in sports or business, and neglect to take care of the fundamentals, the results will never be good.  When your attitude is poor, this may lead to procrastination, which ultimately may affect the way that people regard your work ethic.  In the business of consulting, reputation and how others perceive your ability to get the job done and done well, oftentimes makes the difference between getting an engagement or not.  The habits that you pick up or create along the way will ultimately affect the way you handle everyday situations.  If we choose to not engage completely in the activities in our life, we may just be wasting time that can never be regained.

Thanks for spending your time with me!


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