After the dismantling of the Atlanta Hawks by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals, Lebron James will be making his 5th consecutive NBA Finals appearance to face Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors. Lebron James is the NBA’s biggest star and the most dominant player of this era. He is an athletic freak—combining blazing speed with sheer strength in a graceful manner that is rare for a player of his stature. Lebron isn’t only an exemplary model for basketball players to emulate, he is also a model for how you, as an entrepreneur, can achieve success by remembering these three lessons.
1. When you pursue your dream passionately, others will join you in your mission.
If you haven’t noticed, it doesn’t take much for Lebron to get talent to follow him to a team. Whether it was when he went to Miami, convincing Chris Bosh to do the same and Dwyane Wade to return or when he returned to the Cavaliers getting Kevin Love and other talented players to go to an otherwise unattractive destination. There is no shortage of talented veterans knocking down Lebron’s door to play on his team because they believe in what he is trying to accomplish—winning the NBA championship. They believe that he gives them the best chance at winning the title. The same goes for you as the founder of a company. If you pursue your passion and believe in your vision, others will notice that fire burning inside you and will unify in that vision. People will commit to a dream when it’s worth believing in. Conversely, if you are doing it for the money and your heart isn’t in it then others will see through that and you will have a hard time convincing people to join you. Needless to say, no stars are lining up to play for the woeful 76ers.
2. Trust those around you.
Unlike some conventional superstars (Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant), who are admired for their ineffable ability to score and carry their team, Lebron James has rose to prominence through a different approach—facilitating.
Many entrepreneurs fear relinquishing control and allowing those around them to do various tasks. To a fault, entrepreneurs want everything to be right and take it upon themselves to ensure this. Sometimes, they might overexert themselves and do no trust others within their company to execute. Comparatively, Lebron James trusts his teammates while getting everyone around him involved. He makes his teammates better and thus, his team is better off. You should do the same for your company. If you delegate responsibilities appropriately you will put your employees in a position to succeed thus allowing your company to be more successful. In the event that you have to be unplugged for some time (i.e. vacations or business trips), your company should be able to continue functioning with the trusted processes and empowered employees in place. However, I don’t think the same can be said about removing Lebron… I’m looking at you, Miami Heat!
So be like Lebron, be a facilitator. Know when to take control and know when to pass it off and give your teammates a shot.
3. Be relentless.
It doesn’t take long watching Lebron James play to realize that he is willing to do it all in order to win. Diving out of bounds for a loose ball, sprinting down the court for a chase down block, sacrificing his body to get a rebound, even flopping to draw a foul on an opposing team’s player—he does it all! He understands what motivates him—winning the Larry O’Brien Trophy—and stops at nothing to do so. You must be the same way with your company if you truly want to achieve the goal that you have set for yourself. Struggling to raise capital? Continue pitching to investors! Keep trying out for accelerators! Can’t find a developer? Learn to code! Bad product-market fit? Pivot!
Things are not always going to go as you envisioned them. It will likely take longer, you will have setbacks, and you will spend more than you expected. But if you are relentless, you will fight through any obstacles that obstruct your way.
So, as you marvel over the extraordinary talent of Lebron James in the NBA Finals, be sure to keep these three lessons in mind: when you pursue your dream passionately, others will join you in your mission, trust those around you, and be relentless.