Championships are fantastic places to pick up insights on winning.
Of course, you have to pay attention. It’s always revealing to listen to what the top competitors and coaches have to say, both before and after the games. The recent 2013 NBA Championship provided some great quotes and lessons. One was by Lebron James.
James was asked about his great clutch shooting.
He gave an understated answer, if you know the back story. His reply was, “I work hard on all parts of my game, all the time, so I can have games like this”. The significance was that in the past he usually saw his shooting fail him in crucial games, and they would get beaten. That was a big reason he never won a championship until 2 years ago.
This series was against San Antonio.
He also played against them 6 years ago, and San Antonio won. For Lebron, what was devastating was how they won. Their winning strategy saw them leaving him wide open on his outside shots. He shot such a poor percentage, they knew there was no way they would get beaten by him shooting from the outside. He knew it too, and wouldn’t shoot. When he did, he was tentative and awkward. His weakness was on display for all to see, and his team got beat.
San Antonio employed the same strategy this year.
They dared him to shoot, but things had changed. He had changed. He had gotten better. He had “worked hard” on his weakness, and turned it into a strength. After the loss 6 years ago, he went home and hired a shooting coach. He designed his off season schedule so that part of EVERY day during his time off was devoted to improving his shooting. His coach went on vacations with him and his family. He went with him to photo shoots. Lebron had it put in his contract for outside engagements that there would be time allotted every day for him to go shoot. He was relentless, and the result was that he saw his shooting percentage increase every year for the last 6 years.
So this year the strategy backfired.
When San Antonio left him open this year, they were leaving open one of the absolute best shooters in the league. He had turned his former achilles heel into one of his great strengths! For him it was just like shooting in practice, with no one on him, draining shot after shot. Result? This time, he made the shots and his team won. It wasn’t an accident. It was a result of hard work – specific hard work with a purpose. It took 6 years, but now he’s got his second championship and a deadly accurate new skill he can use the rest of his career. He had a weakness, but not anymore.
“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” —Napoleon Hill
The lesson? Usually, you should focus on your strengths. But if a weakness is holding you back from what you want, do something about it!
Work on your weakness and turn them into strengths, no matter how long it takes. Like Lebron, you can move over from someone who loses championships to someone who wins them.