Disclaimer: I speak a lot in basketball terminology, so for the sake of this blog I am going to run with what I am passionate about.  With this said I believe this can go towards anyone or anything that you are passionate about. 

As I have matured, developed, and come face to face with various challenges in my life, I have learned an important life lesson that often young individuals don’t stress, but they should.  You often hear people say “Show me your friends, and I will show you your future.”  I want to build on this belief, take it a step further, and share my concept of building an  “I – Team.”

Before we get into what an “I – Team” is and why I believe that this is a foundation piece that will impact your NOW, develop who you are, and set you up for your future, I want to point out some common misconceptions that are taught to us as truths and beliefs, especially if you are an athlete and a part of a team.   Have you ever heard coaches say ” there is no I in team.” I understand what the coach is trying to say, but I argue that there is limited truth to this and this comment can actually hinder a teams success. I  believe that there is an I in team, or as my brother use to tell me ” there is no I, but there is an M and an E -ME.”  Before I go any further, I do not believe in selfishness on a team and one person believing that they are bigger then a group working towards a common goal, but i do believe that there is a time and place for a person to be selfish.  The word selfish gets a negative response when used, especially in athletes.  If I told a coach that I had a great player, good family, quality grades, but he is selfish in the games and believes that he is bigger then the team, well 99 percent of coaches are going to be instantly turned off and most likely move along in their recruitment.  While there is a lot of negative energy around the thought of being Selfish, this concept is actually my number one factor in building your “I-Team.”

There are a lot of players on different teams:  if you play basketball there could be 9-15 guys on the roster, if you play football this number goes up, if you are an employee in a corporation these teams could be even larger, and etc.  I don’t believe that there is a limit on the number of players you can put on you “I-Team,” but the foundation and the base for your “I-Team,” has to be YOU!

Number 1: Be Selfish in your Development 

To have success in the game of basketball (or life), you have to develop the best you that you can become.  I believe that every person has this optimal state of performance and development.  I also believe that this optimal state is impossible to reach, but as an athlete, the great ones are always striving for this.  I am a huge Jordan fan, and I argue that even Jordan never reached this optimal state. Until the day he retired, he woke up every day trying to get better to some degree. What I believe is the true factor to success is being selfish in your own individual development in attempt to reach your optimal potential/performance level.  As a basketball player it is often believed to be about becoming flawlessly skilled with the ball in your hands, developing a Curryesk jump-shot, working on footwork on the court, and perfecting offensive moves to leave defenders wishing they didn’t have to guard you.  While training our basketball skill is one area that we must develop to reach out optimal state, there are so many other factors that we often overlook.

What makes someone great?  Why is one guy have “ice in his veins” during clutch time, while others get nervous?  I have a belief in this concept of the 360 degree view of an athlete, and this really goes towards a 360 degree view of any person along their journey.  While basketball skill development is huge, if you are a basketball player, we often over look such necessary requirements like nutrition, strength and conditioning, injury prevention. leadership/Character skills, mental toughness, peace (this could come any many forms, such as faith or belief), alignment physically and mentally, and many more that fall within these categories and others.   In attempt to reach out optimal state of performance, we must focus on our full 360 degree development.   If just one of these characteristics is  missing, you will be missing a pivotal piece to your self development and thus hinder your growth along your journey.

To start building your “I-team” you have to continue to understand what you are trying to achieve.  We have spoken about this concept of a persons optimal performance and how we can build our game at a different level then hopefully you have ever thought about.  it is about focusing on eating right, becoming a better leader, overcoming adversity with grace, and much more.  At the same time we are chasing a state that is logically impossible to reach, because no matter where we are in life we can always get better.  We can get in better shape, we can shoot the ball with a smoother more consistent stroke, we could get stronger, we could put better food in our body to fuel our journey and so forth. With this said we are trying to achieve a goal that is unreachable.  I always hear “be realistic!”  I hate, hate, hate this with a capital H.  First, who are you to tell me what I am capable of and what is realistic in my life.  Number 2:  by being realistic- you are setting up a obstacle before you even start.  You are telling yourself that you are not good enough to do something, so you are going to settle for the next best!   This is why I believe that we should set goals that most think are unreachable, we should chase this optimal state of performance.  Why? Why chase something that we might not reach? I have heard people say that you will end up setting up failure and then having to deal with the failure that will set someone back along their path.  I disagree 100 percent, because it is not really about the goal we are trying to reach, but it is about the Journey!  Like Journey sang “Don’t stop believing” Well take Journey’s advice along your Journey through life and go after these high goals, because guess what “you might just make it happen.”  If for some reason you come up short, well the journey was the real focus the entire time.  While you are trying to reach this optimal state you are working on becoming the best you that you can become, and where is the failure in that.  Success is bound to come from a journey with this focus and it might not always be the one you set, but in the end it will lead you in the right direction of development.  The journey never stops and it never slows down, we are on a constant chase of our passion throughout life.

So in this development of our “I-Team” and the foundation, which is YOU, we have talked about what we we should be trying to achieve, which is this broader optimal state of development.  We have spoke about the Journey and in the end it is about us becoming the best player/person we can become.  This leads perfectly to the concept of being Selfish in building your I-Team.  We must focus on ourself before we can focus on anyone else.  As a player, we have to focus on becoming the best player we can become, if we truly want to help our team.  We have to be selfish and tell our friends that I need to work on my jump shot, on my ball handling, on my diet, on my strength training, on my leadership skills.  We have to do this for us and us only.  And along our journey of being selfish to build our best us, we will ultimately put yourself in a position where we can impact others in a positive way, such as a team.  We can help our team to the best of our abilities if we are selfish and we focus on our own development first and foremost.  So while you are moving along your journey and you will continue to build your “I-Team,” you must first build yourself and to strive to reach this optimal state.  You have one life and you have one career.  I always challenge my players to do whatever you can to become the best person, student, friend, son, bf-future husband, etc along your journey.  In doing this and focusing on providing yourself the tools necessary to create success, then you will be ready to continue to build your “I-team”  I love the idea of paying it forward.  I am constantly trying to do things that will impact other people, but before I could ever get to this state I had to learn to be selfish about my own growth.  I had to realize hat this is my life and I want to be successful and I want to chase my goals and passions, but to do this I have to put in the time, energy, effort in myself before I am ready to truly succeed and help others.

If you want to read the section section to building your I-team, I would love to hear your feedback and requests.  I am hoping to start writing this blog for our members, families, and anyone else who is just interested in reading, developing, growing, and chasing their passions in life along their Journey.

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My Favorite Motivational Speaker: Eric Thomas on Chasing your Passion in LIfe:



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