What Michael Jordan can teach you about career success

In 2003, two of the greatest ever to play the game of basketball faced off in the NBA Allstar Game: Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. The old school and the new school battled in what would, in hindsight, become a passing of the crown from one king to the next.

At one point in the game, hidden amongst all the jawing and trash talk, Jordan dropped a knowledge bomb on Bryant, whose brash cockiness and sense of entitlement often rubbed people the wrong way.

The conversation, about a foul-call that went against Bryant and in Jordan’s favour, went something like this:

Jordan: “Hey. That’s a foul all day long.”

Bryant:“Oh, I know you ain’t talking! I know you ain’t talking.”

Jordan:“Hey you only got three man, I got six. I’m gonna get that foul. You only got three man.”

Bryant: “You’re right. I can’t say nothing to that. I can’t say nothing. I’m gonna shut up and take it.”

And in that one exchange, you can learn almost everything you need to know about getting ahead in your career and in business.

You want the title? The position? The trust and admiration of your peers? You want to be promoted? You want your business to be recognised as a leader?

Then put in the time and do the work.

Jordan got calls from the referees because he earned them. Not in that moment. But in the previous decade-plus of blood, sweat and tears in the gym and on the basketball court.

Jordan was respected so much for his work ethic and his achievements that when a referee’s call was a 50/50 and could go either way, he got those calls. Every time.

Do the time. Do the work. Strive for excellence. This is how you achieve greatness. This is how you get those calls at work, in your career and in business.

Be consistent. Do the hard work. Over time, success will come.

Photo credit: LA Times

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