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.

 

 

Advertisements

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.

 

Defense to Offense

In one of my old raps I say that D.O. stands for “Defense to Offense.”

This was before I came up with Defy the Odds standing for D.O.

It started from video games.  It’s what I would say when I’d steal the ball and go in for a dunk while playing NBA Live back in the day on Playstation.  A good defense can lead to scoring opportunities – not only in a basketball video game but life as well.

The problem is a lot of people only play defense.

They are cautious, on the fence, and even worse, they guard what they have because they are scared that someone will take it.

Gary Vee talks about this a lot on his daily podcasts.  They are all defense, I’m all offense he often says.

The point is – you need to be on the attack, you need to be trying, doing, and implementing.

When you are on offense you aren’t always going to score.  You will get blocked.  You will miss the shot.  You will fail.

But you have to keep shooting.

It reminds me of how Mike D’Antoni has changed the NBA.  In the late 90’s basketball scores were 80-68 – lowest they’d ever been.  Then he was hired as a coach and instructed his players to shoot every chance they had.  Don’t let the shot clock get to the last few seconds, put the shot up.  Players like Steve Nash thrived as he became a two time MVP.  Their team, the Phoenix Suns started putting up high scores every night.

But it won’t work in the playoffs naysayers said.

While the Suns never won a championship, the Warriors have won two of the last three and have continued to revolutionize basketball with their approach.

Basketball scoring has gone up across the league as teams look to duplicate the success the Warriors have had.

Fan interest has gone up as well.  People want to see offense.

Music wise its the same thing.  Some artists play defense and want to protect their music.

Don’t let it leak, I want it to roll it out when everything is in place.

Don’t let it leak, its not polished.

I want to release my album and that’s it I don’t want to do more releases.

That was the old way.  Work on an album for years, spend big bucks to get it mixed and mastered and push it for a few years.

Look at the new way.

I recently read about how an unexpected event led to Lil Uzi Vert’s popularity.

He was stage diving at a show.  He lost his phone.  It contained his new album.

If you played defense you’d think – how do I erase the phone or how do I pay the person off so that the music doesn’t leak.  You’d be in a panic.  The label would be especially worried.

But if you are on offense? You are proactive.  Lets get ahead of it.  Lets just put it out.  Lil Uzi Vert released the music on his Soundcloud.  It was rough.  It was unfinished.  But it connected.

XO Tour Life became one of the biggest songs of the year.

Offense.

Don’t worry about the L’s.  Keep attacking.

 

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.

 

We Should Talk

I don’t get out much.

Well I do, because I travel monthly, but when I’m at home, I’m at home.  My priority is my family and with two young children I stick to a routine during the week.

I also live in the suburbs.  Toronto is a big city and getting anywhere usually takes a minimum of an hour.

When I see someone at a conference, a show or the odd time when I’m out in the city I look forward to catching up with them.  But it always amazes me when someone says:

“We should talk.”

I get it.  There is something that we could discuss.  Usually its a business opportunity that would be mutually beneficial.

But why not talk about it right now?

I know that the chances of setting up a meeting and then following through and making it happen are rare.

The best opportunity is right now.

Delaying usually leads to the idea being lost in the business of life.

It’s always best to take advantage of the present.