Jordan Played For The Wizards

Sometimes I have trouble believing it even though I know it happened –  Michael Jordan played for the Wizards.

He emerged out of retirement for the second time and instead of playing with the Bulls – the team he built his legacy with – he laced up for the Washington professional basketball team formally known as the Bullets.  A team that didn’t have a storied history, a team that wasn’t poised to win a championship, a team whose building block was Kwame Brown – drafted straight out of high school that would later turn out to be a bust.

Of course there was a reason.  He was president of basketball operations and minority owner.  He wanted to make money off of his investment.  But still… the Wizards?

Michael will always be known for the last second shot.  I can hear the Jay-Z lyric from N*ggas in Paris as I write this.

Jordan, Game Six.

The game clinching shot over a frustrated Byron Russell.  The perfect way to go out.  On top.  A  champion.

But that isn’t how the story ended.

It ended like it does for 99% of athletes – his skills eroded while playing on a poor team looking a shadow of his former dominant self.

Happened to Willie Mays.  Happened to Muhammad Ali.  Most recently it happened to Peyton Manning.  While he went out on a top with a championship, it was painful to watch him struggle throughout the season.

Enjoy your time in the game – it isn’t going to last.

We all want to go out on our own terms, but even the greatest don’t always get that chance.

 

 

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Coolness of an entrepreneur

Gary Vee just came out with a shoe.  Used to be shoes were only for athlete’s.  It was that way through the 80’s and 90’s.  Then the 2000’s struck and Jay-Z came out with a shoe.  50 cent did the same.  They were hits, but the trend didn’t continue.  Recently Drake has helped collaborate on Air Jordan shoes.

But Gary Vee has changed the game.  He recently released a new shoe with K Swiss.  He sees it as a move that has a huge upside and limited downside.  If the shoe is successful he is the first entrepreneur to have a signature shoe.  If he fails, he will have a good story to tell his grand children and it will be something that his friends will tease him for – which he is cool with.

That’s something I like about Gary Vee – something I think that we all envy in successful people – the ability to laugh at yourself.  If you fail, don’t dwell on it, but laugh at yourself.

How can Gary Vee get a signature shoe?

Nowadays being an entrepreneur is a cool thing.

This is only a recent phenomenon.  Shows like Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank and the rise of apps that have disrupted huge corporations such as Uber and Airbnb have changed the game.  Entrepreneurship is now a seen as something desirable and an option for high school and college kids.

I’m fortunate that they had an entrepreneurship class in highschool.  I took it in grade 12.  Its where I discovered people like Stephen Covey and his 7 habits of highly successful people.  I devoured success literature.  I started looking at music as a business.  It’s a big reason why I was able to carve out a path to success.

Entrepreneurship may look cool, but entrepreneurs know its about hard work.  Long hours.  Demanding work.  I think one of the hardest things is self discipline.  Being your own boss also means you don’t have someone telling you what to do.  You need to motivate yourself.

It’s easy when the product is selling and you are on regular hours like others.

It’s a lot more challenging when boring business work comes up when your partner wants you to go on a date, or be with the kids, or your friends invite you out to a party.

Cool or not, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

Gone

I was working on a report when all of a sudden I the beachball wouldn’t stop spinning.

Mac owners know what I’m talking about.  The beachball means that the computer is thinking.  Mac owners love to brag about how much better their system is than a PC but there are still problems on a Mac – like the ones I experienced today when writing this business report.  I hoped it would snap out of it.  I hadn’t saved the document.  But after waiting a couple of minutes I came to the realization it wasn’t going to stop.  I had to shut the program down.  I was hoping it would start back up with the recovered file.  It did that for another file I had open.  But no.  Nothing.

I would have to start from scratch.

At first I was really frustrated.  Almost defeated.  I’d spent so long and now this!

But then I thought to myself – I’d really only spent 10 minutes.  I had some of the info from an email that I could import.  For me to start the report again would probably only mean losing five to ten minutes of time.

Then I also had a more powerful thought… I remembered how much this used to happen.

People who grew up using computers in the 80’s and 90’s know what I’m talking about.

Back then this would happen all the time.  Except it would be higher stakes.  You could work on a school project, a ten page paper, or major assignment and when you went to load it up the file wouldn’t work.  For some reason the floppy disk didn’t want to load.

This would happen in music too.  I would work on a song for a couple of hours and then the program would crash.

Or a whole hard drive would crash and you would lose months of info.

Now there is the cloud.  Its automatically saved.  Its so good that even if you delete something it keeps a copy.

I run multiple backups.  I have two cloud accounts, but then I also have a time capsule which automatically backs up my files.

Ain’t technology great.

 

 

 

Not So Fast

It’s always great to get a quick response.  At least that’s how I usually think of it.

When you send someone a message and hear back right away, it is great.  Your question has been answered.  You feel important that the person took the time to drop everything and respond right away.

But then I started thinking – maybe it’s not so great.   When you are responding to someone instantly, you were switching from what you are currently focused on.  It can break up your concentration.

I think that happens a lot nowadays in this phone connected culture.

When I’m in the studio working on music I don’t want to drop my concentration to respond to a non urgent text.

When I’m at the gym, I don’t want to take a longer time in between sets to send an email response.

When I’m working on business accounting, I do want to take a break to respond to an email but I know that I shouldn’t.

By the time that I jump back in to the task – whether the studio, the gym, or the accounting, I have to get back into the groove.  It’s broken my concentration.

I can imagine it is like this for others as well.

I try to take a break from email on Sundays.  Its rare that I will respond to messages.  I want to spend time with the fam, or watch football, or hit the gym, and I come back refreshed on Monday morning.

Maybe your sweet spot is responding to messages at 1 am.  I think its important to find a time that works best, but I also think its about finding the right time.

Sometimes its good not being so fast.

 

Sweat

This one came out over a decade ago but I still think of it from time to time.  I can picture myself in my parents basement watching it on Muchvibe.  Wishing the phone would ring a little more.

I was good, why isn’t it ringing more?

So when Jully sung “Even when the phone don’t ring” it spoke to me.

But then she sings:

And even when it ain’t going on
You gotta still keep being strong…

And finally the hook:

“By the sweat of your brow…”

In other words, focus on the process.  Focus on the hard work and on what you can control.

Valuable lessons for an entrepreneur.

We want the calls and emails to come in.  We want the sales.  But how do you get them?

Not by complaining.  Not by saying “whoa is me” but rather, by putting our heads down and getting down to work.

Reminds me of something I heard Jerry Seinfeld say when he was feeling down on himself.  He was in his apartment and having trouble coming up with jokes so he went for a walk.  He saw construction workers working as he walked by.  He stopped feeling sorry for himself.  Not like they needed inspiration.  They were were just working.

He started approaching comedy with the same blue collar lunch pail mentality.

Just like working out, you aren’t working hard if you aren’t working up a sweat.

 

Libra Scale

I’m a Libra.  I’m not completely into astrology but for me the idea of the libra scale – the concept of balance – is something that has always resonated with me.

I like when my life is in balance.  Sometimes you have your highs and sometimes you have your lows, but you work to find a common ground.

But this thinking was challenged when I was listening to a talk from Dan Martell and he was saying how Balance is BS.

My first response was to disagree.

I’m someone that believes balance is essential… especially as you get older and your responsibilities increase.

Maybe when I was in high school I would say that I didn’t need to balance my life, I didn’t have as many responsibilities.   But now things have changed.  I’m a self employed rapper and speaker, I’m a father, I’m a husbandm we are home owners – we have a lot on our plate.  Not to mention that with a full plate, and older age, health also becomes more important.  Oftentimes when I’m at the gym I find myself thinking…wow if I worked out like this when I was 20?  Man. 

Now I have to put in three times the work to get that same result.  Not to mention that I can’t do those late night runs out for fast food anymore.

But Dan’s message is also misleading.  He’s not saying that you shouldn’t have balance, but he is encouraging people to realize that you can’t do everything all the time.

In theory, being on your ‘A’ game everyday with business, family, and health sounds great.  In reality, its much more difficult.

Dan thinks you should focus on 2 out of the 3 each quarter.  Not to say that your family falls by the wayside, but there are times when you don’t take the family vacation.  Maybe its the time that the hours at work are a little longer.  But to get that balance back, when you are on your vacation you aren’t “balanced” by being on your laptop all day doing work.

As a touring musician, I’ve found this to be true when it comes to health.

When I’m at home it’s easy for me to stay on my routine of eating clean and training four to six times a week.  There will be three month stretches that I work myself into solid shape.

But there are also times when I’m on the road for a couple month stretch and find it difficult to get a workout in.  Where I find it tough to eat well.  That’s not to say I don’t do it, but I don’t do it at the extent that I was doing it when it was a priority.

I like Dan’s concept.  We tend to be hard on ourselves thinking that we aren’t working at our peak because a part of our life is off balance.  It doesn’t mean that its off balance, it can be a signal that it is something to work on soon.

 

 

I Will Not Lose

I think one of the reasons that Jay-Z is one of my favorite rappers is because alot of his music is motivational.  It is based in business and competition.

It’s perfect workout music.  And the gym or jogging is where I listen to music the most.

Some people workout to heavy metal or hard rock because of the aggressive sound.

I love hip-hop because of the aggressive rhymes… the aggressive words.

Jay-Z’s mantra is “I Will Not Lose”.

It’s not “I will win”.

The thought of losing is more urgent and important than the satisfaction of winning.

To me it speaks of perseverance.  Of hanging in there.  Even when the going gets tough not giving up.

Jay-Z didn’t give up when labels didn’t sign him.  He created an independent label with his partners.

When the conventional rules of the music business didn’t fit, he wrote his own rules.

Case in point – when CD sales continued to dwindle because of new media forms, he forged a partnership with Samsung for his album which resulted in him going “platinum” overnight.

He hit the top of the charts, made money and his fans were able to access his music.

In the end he won.

By choosing not to lose.