The best seasons of my career were the ones I entered in with a completely different mindset. Often times they would come on the heels of a subpar or disappointing year. I would enter the gym with a purpose that summer, but I would also work on my mind and how I would approach the next season mentally. I would always adopt the attitude of providing value. This isn’t soft or weak. It’s a mentality that says, “you are paying me to do a job, and I am going to make sure at the end of it you feel that you got your money’s worth.” In fact, I always wanted that team to think they got a deal when they signed me, that I provided more value than they actually paid for. After all, everyone loves a deal. That’s how Walmart became the biggest retailer in the world. It really doesn’t matter if you are the highest or lowest paid player on the team. You can always adopt this attitude, and in my experience, it always pays off.
On the other side, I had a couple of years where I went into the season either unprepared mentally or too full of myself. Those were down years and caused me to refocus and reenergize. As soon as you start to take this game for granted several things will happen. You will realize that you aren’t as good as you thought, and that working hard to maintain and improve is a must no matter how old or seasoned you happen to be. Pro basketball has a way of humbling you. Many of the articles I have read that are posted by companies, management or employers talk a lot about this topic. They complain about how employees are quick to come to them for a raise or with a problem, but rarely if ever ask if they can do more, how they can help, or how they can be better.
If you work every day to provide value to your employer, to make the coach’s job easier, not harder, and to do things that no one expects from you, I promise that your season and your craft will be more enjoyable and more fruitful. The results might not show immediately, but my career’s experience tells me that they always pay off. It’s a weird thing, but luck rewards work. Give your club, your coach and your management more value than what they paid for. Give them a reason to appreciate the extra work you put in. Professional basketball is an incredibly small world. You never know how or why it will pay off, but it will. And please don’t mistake the tenor of this post. This isn’t about being altruistic or overly generous. This isn’t about kissing up either. That’s fake and it will be seen through eventually if not immediately. Ultimately, this is selfish, because the basketball Universe rewards work and value. Do yourself a favor and change your mindset. Don’t go into this season just expecting your paycheck and stats and the team to help you blow your nose. Go out of your way to look around for how you can provide value, for how you can be better. Give them more than what they asked for and it’s going to pay off, I promise.