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Work On Your Game Content/business and money/How I Got Here: 8 Stories 📋
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How I Got Here: 8 Stories 📋

8 situations that made me who I am, and which shape what I do…

1) I got cut from my high school varsity basketball team in 9th, 10th, AND 11th grade. I made it for my senior year, and had a front row seat: Sitting on the bench all season.
Most reasonable people would have quit by then (or sooner). Many people advised me to quit. One of my youth basketball coaches told me that I might have a better shot making it in baseball.

What I got from this: The Mental Toughness to keep going. I was dumb enough to not listen to reasonable people.

2) I responded to a bulletin board post on my college's campus that advertised “unlimited income potential” for summer work. The guy making the offer turned out to be a network marketer.
I went to a few of their hotel meetings that summer in Philadelphia and noticed three key things.
One, the speaker spent 80% of his time not talking about the company or products, but simply breaking people’s false beliefs about money and business. This was necessary, I now understand, to make room for the new ideas to follow. All of it – the debunked old beliefs and the new ideas – all made perfect sense to me.
Two, NONE of what the speaker said was being taught to me in my college courses – and I have a business degree. This made NO sense at the time (it does now).
Three, the speaker encouraged attendees to invest in the “personal development” books being sold at the table outside of the hotel conference room. Those books, he explained, would help build yourself, while you build your business. That made sense, too.

What this did: Planted the seeds of entrepreneurship. Investment in self-education watered those seeds.

3) No one was checking for me to play pro basketball after finishing college at NCAA D3 school. I worked a couple of “regular jobs'' for a year after college, at Foot Locker and Bally Total Fitness. All the while, I kept my eye on a chance to get my foot in the door of the pro basketball world.
That following summer (one year after college graduation), I attended an exposure camp (a pro athlete tryout event) for wanna-be pro athletes. My performance there created the momentum that launched my playing career.

What this breeded: The Tenacity to stay mentally focused on a goal – even when the reality in front of me wasn't great.

4) In 2005, I took the footage from that exposure camp – it was on a VHS tape (millennials: ask your parents) – and got it transferred to a data CD. That CD, I put in a desktop computer and uploaded it to a new website called “YouTube.”
This spawned a second career for me (that I didn't realize until years later).

What this did: Gave me the “in” that I needed to start a business while staying in my wheelhouse at the time. Basketball + Internet = Money.

5) Circa 2009-10, I had played pro ball for a few years but found myself a free agent with no incoming offers. I was in my mid-to-late 20s by then. At this age, it was no longer cute to have nothing going on while chasing a seemingly-fading “hoop dream.” I needed a plan.
I started making training programs for the basketball players who followed me online and sold them for $4.99 each. Those programs sold in volume for years. It was here that I officially became an entrepreneur.

What this did: Put me in business, where I could now use the principles I’d learned years earlier from Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” and more contemporarily, Tim Ferriss’ “Four-Hour Workweek.” If the phone never rang again for a pro basketball job, I’d be fine (luckily, it did ring again).

6) Around 2010ish, the ball players watching me on YouTube started asking me about my mindset. They’d been watching me post training videos every day, and knew about my one-year-of-high-school and D3-walk-on experiences. They wondered what was in the mind of this random guy on the internet who’d overcome such odds, and why I did what I was doing.

What this produced: My “Weekly Motivation'' series, which ran for 400 consecutive weeks and became the foundation of what you know “Work On Your Game” to be today.
Those videos – at the time, the only non-basketball content I had – were the bridge between my audience of athletes and the professional and entrepreneurs (some of them former basketball players who grew along with me) who now make up the bulk of my audience.

7) I showed up randomly to a Toastmasters meeting in 2014. In my “Icebreaker” speech, I shared with the audience that I was interested in being a professional speaker - but had no idea how to go about it. Another attendee at the meeting approached me after and told me he was on the same journey.
He was headed to a professional speaker’s conference and told me he’d pass on the info of anyone he met.
He came back with one contact.
I cold-called that person, and she became my first business mentor. Our first meeting was scheduled to be 30 minutes, and lasted 3 hours. In that meeting, I took 12 pages of notes that I still have to this day.

What this teaches: SHOW UP. You never know who is listening and who / what they might know that can help you.
And: The best contact is often a 3-degrees-of-separation person who you barely know.

8) In 2017, I decided I was done doing unpaid speaking gigs. Anyone who booked me to speak needed to pay my 5-figure fee or it was a no-go. At the time, I had an assistant handling all bookings on my behalf.
An event reached out that my assistant had submitted me for. They wanted me to speak (good!). I asked the obvious question: “Do you have my fee?”

They had no speaker budget (bad!). As in, they did not pay speakers. At all.
I declined their offer.
My contact for the event strongly suggested I reconsider. I don't know why, but I trusted her word, and paid my own way (travel / hotel / food: 3,000) to speak at the event.
From that unpaid speech – titled, “Work On Your Game: Use The Pro Athlete Mindset In Business And Life” – I booked paid gigs with the NCAA, NBA and landed a publishing deal that became my book of the same title (“Work On Your Game”).

What this taught me: Sometimes the opportunity comes indirectly.


What To Take From All Of This:

Your story of WHY you do what you do is more important than WHAT you do and HOW you do it, combined.

People don't connect with your system or your technical skill. They connect with the REASONS that led to the skill.

Facts tell. Emotions sell.

Know your story. Master it. Be able to explain it in 30-second sound bites, or in an hour-long speech.

It’s the main thing people remember.

Join Work On Your Game University to have me help you work on doing this for yourself so you can reach your BEST audience, build that connection and build your business on that foundation.

Learn more here:

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