Michael Jordan is often regarded as the greatest basketball player to ever step foot on the court. Everything he accomplished in his career, from league leading stats and his signature style of play, to his footwear and trademark tongue wagging swagger, has been replicated by thousands of players with dreams of being the best…most of them, to no avail. Even the best current NBA player, Kobe Bryant (sorry LeBron fans) has not been able to escape being held up to the standard of Jordan. All of the championship rings, MVP awards, All-Star nominations, endorsement deals and multi-million dollar contracts, coupled with an innate knowledge and passion for the game made the name Jordan synonymous with one overarching theme: dominance.
That wasn’t always his story though. In fact, he’ll tell you that he was cut from his high school team. He was undersized, but he grew in height and build. His skills weren’t up to par with the rest of his teammates, but he worked for hours and hours on end to get better. After all of this, when he tried out the next season, he still wasn’t a starter. He paid his dues on the bench, learned the ins and outs of the game, and when he finally got his opportunity to step out on to the court, he never looked back. The work ethic and passion he possessed carried him to the legendary status he enjoys now.The lessons to be learned from Mr. Jordan are plenty, but today I’ll focus on this: there is something to be said about a person who is determined to reach their goals, and puts in the work to make them a reality.
Of late, I haven’t really been feeling like myself. Not necessarily sad, but definitely not the bubbly girl that I normally am. For that reason, posting has been a bit slow here, as I haven’t really had much to say, at least not that I wanted to share. I’ve been in a bench riding season for a minute, and I’m frustrated. I’ve been watching, and working, and learning and growing, but can’t shake the desire to actually be in the game, playing and becoming the person I know I am capable of being. It’s a struggle, but in all honesty… this period was necessary. For whatever reason, I started to lose sight of the high points of the year, and focused on the things that haven’t happened, or didn’t work out the way that I envisioned them happening. Of course, that’s not the right attitude, but I’m being honest. There were jobs that I “should” have had, including two or three extremely high profile positions that just didn’t come together in the end. But when I think back, I realize that had I gotten any of those positions, none of these the other things that I’ve done on an entrepreneurial front would have been possible. There was a purpose, but at that point, I just wasn’t seeing it.
While I’ve been on the proverbial bench, during many of the proverbial games, I HAVE been on the court to practice. This past year has actually been incredible for me, professionally. In May, I had an opportunity go all the way to the South Of France to work as a public relations assistant at the Cannes Film Festival, the largest film festival in the world. I partied with A-List celebrities. I worked side-by-side with film industry big-wigs, and I saw films that still haven’t hit theaters here in the states. Then, in June, based off of the strength of my blog alone, I was invited to cover the BET Awards as an independent correspondent. Over the course of 3 days, I got to interview people that I had been writing about for years, and network with publicists, network execs, and corporate sponsors. While I’m not bringing in hits anywhere near what they are (yet), for a good portion of the show, I was blogging away at a table that I shared with Necole Bitchie and the team from Russell Simmons’ Global Grind. And the truth of the matter is, it didn’t even register to me, until someone tagged me in a picture on Facebook. That night, we had some semblance of equality. And that, was exactly the boost I needed. I was reminded, that I truly had what it took to be exactly what I wanted to be, if I was willing to work for it, and go for it. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Growth doesn’t necessarily happen overnight. You don’t always make the team, and you don’t always get in the game. That doesn’t mean that you won’t, or you can’t. It just takes time.
While cleaning up a few days ago, I found several essays that I had written my sophomore year of high school detailing my plans for world domination. Years later, apart from minor details, I can firmly assert everything I predicted in those papers has happened, and that I’m on target to reach the goals I wrote all those years ago. At times, I think my peers and I forget how young we are. It’s easy to get lost in other people’s ideas of where you should be, or look at what other people are doing and wonder why you can’t seem to get your stuff together like the next person (seemingly) has. This year’s resounding lesson learned: your story is YOURS, and yours alone. If nothing ever happens to you, you’ll never have anything to talk about. Everything… and I mean EVERYTHING, has it’s purpose.
For the majority of his career, Michael Jordan’s jersey number was 23, a number that has since been retired on the team that he spent the most time with, the Chicago Bulls. On the eve of my 23rd birthday, I’m ready to begin my Jordan Year. With a renewed sense of strength, and a hunger for success that has never been stronger, I’m claiming in advance that this will be a year of domination. The goals are set. The plans are being laid out, and I am taking no prisoners. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that when I step out on the court, there is no turning back.
I hope you guys will join me on the journey.