Here’s a lesson, compliments of LeBron James.
The more embedded into the startup culture you are—or any professional culture for that matter—the more your own success’ arrival is “about damn time.” We all celebrate the success of our peers; it’s the right thing for the ecosystem and it’s fun… but then we compare ourselves. And we dream. And we try to expedite our own success. We’ve tasted it second-hand, a sensation that tickles the spine and leaves us wanting more.
“I just went back to the basics,” James said. “I knew what got me to this point, and that was hard work and dedication, and I never had to prove anything to anyone. You know, in my first seven years, I just went out and let the game take care of itself.
Slow it down. Focus on the fundamentals. Put your head down and work, work, work. Some call it a grind, some call it the hustle—it doesn’t matter, it’s just work. The important thing is to learn as you go, to master your craft and discover the person you are becoming. Get to know yourself and also when you need a break or to have some fun. Most importantly, work on executing the fundamentals. It absolutely is about damn time; about how you utilize your damn time and about how you preserve it.
“And last year, I tried to prove something to everybody, and I played with a lot of hate,” James continued. “And that’s not the way I play the game of basketball. I play it with a lot of love, and a lot of passion, and that’s what I got back to this year.”
Everyone who manages to stick around, in any industry, does for the same reason: love. Jealous people will burn out and spiteful people will self-destruct, but those who do it for the love will grow, gain momentum, and become energized as they grind forward.
Love and passion are infectious. As confidence and cockiness are separated by a fine line, so too are love and lust. Make sure your work is fueled by love for the process and not lust for the end result. Do it for the love. Execute the fundamentals.
Your time will come.