You’re never going to hit your goals….unless you really want to. I’m talking about a burning desire. It has to be something that is a big deal to you. Here is how you know if it’s a big deal:
- It excites you to think about your desired result
- You’re willing to sacrifice some things (e.g. nightly ice cream)
- You make decisions based on your goal
- It’s on your mind everyday
- You’re willing to get help
At some level, people that achieve success are willing to do what many others aren’t. They know that they may be suffering in the moment but they know it will ultimately pay off.
The Only Option
Many people who achieve success decide what they want and then cut-off all other options. In fact, the Latin of the word decide means to cut-off.
Back in high school I had the opportunity to try out for a premier AAU basketball team, the New York Skyriders. This was a big jump from my private high school team. For starters, the team’s center was 7’3 Karim Shabazz!
At this point, basketball was my life. I had dreams of playing at the highest level. The first try out session went surprisingly well. I held my own and had a great time on that court in Far Rockaway, NY. I attended several tryouts/practices and started building relationships. A couple of times per week, my friend Jimmy and I would travel from Long Island to play with these inner city superstars. I almost had to pinch myself because it felt like a dream for a basketball junkie like myself.
At one of the practices we were informed about a big tournament coming up in Connecticut. These tournaments were used for college recruiters to check out some of the top talent in the country. We had several players on our team that were being sought after by top basketball schools.
I must have missed the memo because when I showed up at the gym to go to the tournament, one of the assistant coaches informed me that I wouldn’t be going. He said, “Billy, you’re doing great but we just don’t need you for this one.” My excitement quickly turned to discouragement as everyone else was joking around and getting ready to board the bus to Connecticut.
I walked away with my head down and then I had a thought. What if I begged to go? It couldn’t hurt I thought. I went and knocked on the office door of the head coach, Amir. I started to plea. “Amir, it’s my understanding that I’m not invited to the tournament. I just want to say that if I go, I promise I won’t let you down. I will do whatever you ask and whatever is needed, even if it’s just going into the game and fouling someone. Besides, my bags are packed and I have no ride home. Can I come?” Amir looked at me, tilted his head to the side, paused, and said, “OK. You better not let me down.”
That moment turned out to be so pivotal in my life. Although I didn’t make the NBA I had some amazing experiences that I might not have had if not for that decision. I ended up getting in a game in Connecticut and hitting a big shot. This led to me:
- Playing for 3 years with the New York Skyriders
- Being invited to play at the Spike Lee Nike camp, an exclusive camp reserved for some of the best players in the country
- Being recruited by a college to play b-ball
- Playing with and against who would eventually become some of the most famous players in the world
All of this came as a result of wanting it really bad. I could have went home without trying but then who knows what would have happened? I’m so glad I risked making a fool of myself because I ended up have some great life changing experiences as a result.
To achieve something significant, whether it’s making a basketball team or losing weight, you’re going to have to really want it. There may be things you have to do that are outside your comfort zone. While it may not be easy it’s certainly worth it.