If you have ever sat down and watched the interviews following any major sports championship there is almost always a common element that players attribute their success to. The common cause in most success stories always boil down to the off-season. The time in between seasons when the arenas are empty, and the cameras are off. There are some athletes who use this time to recuperate and even vacation. Some players pursue sponsorship opportunities and invest in business outside of their normal career field. Then there are a select few who use the hiatus away from the flashing lights and screaming crowds to do something that most people don’t. They work. There are some athletes who truly don’t believe in an off-season, only a means to work harder and dig deeper. For most people who know me, they know that I am a die-hard Kobe Bryant fan. Unlike many other people, I was a fan before the 5 championship rings. But, it wasn’t Kobe’s flash as player, his overwhelming arrogance, or athleticism that drew me to him. It was his work ethic not only in between seasons, but also in between games. He is one of the few players that understand the benefit of working during transition. I’m sure at any given point during the off-season if he isn’t working on his game he is definitely thinking about it. Kobe’s reputation as a determined, hard-working athlete is what people will value most about him. Whereas most players will be vacationing in foreign countries, Kobe will be refining his skills to get an edge.
Why is this relevant to you? You don’t even like Kobe Bryant. You’re a LeBron fan, or a Durant fan. The truth is, the point isn’t about who’s the better player. The point isn’t even about basketball. The point is this; we have come to that time of the year where transition is inevitable. Graduations are amidst and summer is beginning for most people. Through our years as cattle being herded in the school systems, habit would lead us to use these next few months of summer to relax and take it easy. Most of us would rather not think about school, work, or anything that requires us to use more than minimal brain activity. For those of us not in the NBA this is our off-season. I have spent a lot of summers making plans for Fall, and talking a big game about what I would do when school started again. But, when Fall came all of that talk was exactly that…just talk. I fell into the lull of summer. I spent a lot of time convincing myself that I spent the year working hard. Telling myself I deserved the summer to just hang out. When in reality, had I just worked harder over those summers it would have made the rest of the year a lot easier. So I am beginning a new trend in my life beginning this summer. I am going to work harder than I did all year. Take bigger risks than I did all year. Dream bigger than I did all year. I am committing to work hard in my off-season, so that when next season comes around I won’t have to kill myself to get back into the swing of a productive lifestyle. What you do when people aren’t watching will always show when they are.