I am a big NBA fan. I love the game as it provides me with a source of entertainment and an escape from my day to day to relax and view competition. Though the more I look at it, the more I realize that professional sports are so comparable to many situations within our own lives, as well as within our companies or respective businesses. It is the middle of the 2017 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas and we all (those who enjoy basketball) are getting excited to see the new talent in the NBA fight for their right to be respected in what is hopefully going to be their livelihood for quite some time. There are a few different categories of players in this league: the highly sought after rookie, the person who is new but was not quite as highly ranked coming in, those who have been in the league but equally have to fight for their position, and those who have to 100% prove themselves and that they even belong on the court with these guys. These four positions, as crazy as this may seem, are the exact positions that individuals are in on their job and or in their business right now.
These exact positions are within most sports, so if you are a soccer, baseball or whatever other sport fan, please bare with me as you will also get the analogy soon. As many professionals enter their career, they are in a few of those categories within the first few years or quarters. We look at those drafted as the position we would all like to be in as we enter our business or as we all enter our initial job. We are all walking up on the stage, shaking the commissioners (CEO’s) hand, and excited to be there as our company or business has picked us to help them move forward. Some of us were undrafted, some of us were not highly touted and did not come out of school as the top prospect, or did not get to partake in the “walk across the stage” experience, though we are still rookies in our league at the time and we are still on the same playing field. Do not be discouraged if you did not get that opportunity, or if your business or position is not the golden child initially, only time and the hypothetical “grind” will tell.
After the hype of the draft and summer league surpass, each and everyone within the company are on the same playing field and must fight for their position. In this case it is not crossovers and the occasional three pointer hit, but it is innovation for the company and an amazing idea that allows the company or your own business to elevate or save money. We must consistently fight for this within our own lives to remain relevant in our league or field. If we are not working at our game as a rookie, or even as a talented vet, each and every year there will be a new person walking across the draft stage looking to remove you from your starting role.
I know that some of you are saying: “I am an entrepreneur, and I own the business, no one is taking my spot”. If you made the last statement, you are missing the point. If you are not in the hypothetical gym each and every night working on your game, learning new and innovative ways to score new clients, and making moves to better your position towards the “goal”, you can be replaced no matter your current role. Whether that is in a company as a director or a manager, or another company replacing you and taking your clients, you must always workout and showcase that you belong when a summer league situation comes up.
There are highly touted rookies that are looking to take your position or better your product, and there are seasoned vets that are also looking to make sure that they have a position within their field as well. You may be simply headed for retirement if you are not getting better.
For those who are looking to earn a roster spot or to showcase that you are supposed to be there, there are many things you can do on a daily basis to ensure you earn a roster spot. Taking your shots when they are given to you and make them with confidence is one important part of opportunity. Be sure to pursue opportunities and focus and complete them to the best of your ability. A good product never fails, with correct marketing and the right presentation, customer service and a way of going about business that is properly meshed well with the “team” you will be just fine. Your opportunity usually comes up when that “star player” or the “veteran” gets injured or begins to decline. Once that company, person or other set of teams begins to allow you opportunity to get playing time in your field, be sure to showcase your talents and your abilities to be even better than the person who was granted the opportunity before you. Some people lose out on their roster spot simply because they miss a window for what is a layup opportunity to grow.
Our overall goal is to be the players on the sidelines at the summer league who are landing the large contracts and who have proven their worth to the companies they are employed by (in this case teams). They are the James Harden of it all, landing multi-million dollar contracts yearly and endorsements. But guess what, they are even there to evaluate those who are joining their teams and others and looking to see their current and future competition. These guys have worked hard for years and have to also show their value night in and night out, though as stated, a good product never fails.
Continue to work hard and push to show that you are needed within your job, field or leadership position. Everyone has their summer league moments, it is up to you, whatever role that you currently find yourself in, to make sure that you are prepared to showcase your talents and allow yourself to get into the game on the grand stage.