Balance is Overrated, Why you Need to be Obsessed

In 1996, I was 10 years old and obsessed with basketball, there was little balance. I played it, I watched it, I hand wrote spread sheets filled with players’ names and stats. That year’s NBA Draft introduced a new guard of superstar that was perfect for where I was in life. I was an Iverson guy, but when Kobe Bryant dunked through his legs at 18 he made me a believer.

20 years later, I can’t tell you who is in the NBA playoffs, but I can tell you that I learned a ton about how to be successful in business from Kobe Bryant on the basketball court.

The Balance Battle

Balance has a place. A lot of NBA players lead balanced lives. They choose to do so. From day 1, Kobe chose obsession over balance. A lot of NBA players don’t win 5 championships. They don’t make 18 All-Star teams, win Olympic Gold and finish top 3 ever in scoring. You need to obsess to do that.

Step 1 – Figure Out What You Want

Kobe grew up in Italy with a father who was a professional basketball player. He looked different. He spoke a different language. His first friend was basketball. He knew what he wanted from a young age. Many entrepreneurs are born with a little something different. Many people spend their life looking for what they want. What I am telling you is, when you find it, become obsessed with achieving it.

Step 2 Execute – Lessons from Kobe on as told by his Peers

  • Outwork Everyone:

“No matter how early I showed up for practice, it wasn’t early enough: Kobe was on the court with three trainers doused in sweat.” Tony Gaffney

  • Make those around you better:

“I say that’s the best thing that ever could have happened for me personally for my career,” Butler said. “To play alongside a guy like that, see his preparation, see what it takes to get to that level, that’s why I was able to be so good in Washington because I took everything I learned from him under his wing.” Caron Butler

  • Treat every move, every day like its the most important day for achieving your dreams:

“Kobe was great. He practices as if it’s Game 7. He wants to prove that he’s the best player in the world every single practice.” – Jason Kidd

  • Turn your obsession in to habit(s)

“You know what it was for me? And me and him are good friends, but I hadn’t really trained with him – is how hard he works. We saw his dedication to the game. He would get in the gym, lift weights, he would go over to the gym, get shots up before practice, go through the whole practice, and that was his routine every day.” He’s not great by accident is my point. He puts the work in. And I think what I learned about Kobe is he’s so hungry to be good, he puts the work in. I just think his hunger and his determination is what I was most impressed with.” Carlos Boozer

*More Kobe Stories

Step 3 – Earn Your Balance

You don’t need to obsess your whole life. You need to obsess for long enough to earn your balance. Create balance on your own terms. Kobe obsessed for 25 years. He earned balance throughout the rest of his life. Lets hope he enjoys it. I know I will.

My name is John Zanzarella. I’m the CMO of Silverback Social and the CEO of the Westchester Digital Summit. To read more from me connect with me and let’s explore how we can work together. If you like to listen, subscribe to our podcast, Remarkable You, on itunes to hear more from Chris Dessi and I.

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