I had a thoughtful post about enterprise software prepared for today and then something happened last night: The Miami Heat won its second NBA title! So I decided to write a cheesy post 🙂 Don’t worry, we are not going to talk about basketball 🙂
I was barely paying to the post-game interviews because everybody was talking about the same: effort, team work, sacrifices…..However, there was something in Dwayne Wade’s interview that made me stop what I was doing to listen. Wade was being interviewed by ESPN when he was asked to compared this title with his first NBA championship in 2006.
“I’m speechless,” Wade said. “Winning the championship in 2006 was amazing. But I didn’t go through nothing yet. Now six years after that, I’ve been through a lot in my personal life, and I’ve been through a lot in my professional life, and this means so much more.”
Wade also mentioned that in 206 he was happy to win a title for his veteran teammates and recognized he didn’t realize how hard was going to be to win a second one.
In case you don’t follow the NBA. Dwayne Wade won his first NBA title in 2006 as part of the Miami Heat team that included super star Shaquille O’Neal, current Miami Heat captain’s Udonis Haslem and veterans like Gary Payton and Antoine Walker. After that year, the Miami Heat went through a rebuilding period of having some of their worst seasons in history but finally the team was able to sign all-stars Lebron James and Chris Bosh and started a path that took them to two consecutive NBA finals and the title last night.
Listening to this interview, I couldn’t avoid relating it to what, a lot of times, we experience as young entrepreneurs. When triumphs comes to us too easy, when we win customers without even trying, when our talent is recognized everywhere, when all we experience in our companies is growth, when we sell our first company or product; we take the risk of not appreciating the effort that takes to be at the top and, more importantly, we can lose perspective about the values and motivations that drove us there in the first place.
Those values are quickly tested in difficult times, when you win only 15 games in an NBA season, when you lose a big client, when you have to part ways with some of your key employees, when you go through a personal crisis that can start affecting your work performance…. At that point, is when you have to rely on values and convictions as much as on talent to get back on top.
When you experience those dark days, your new triumphs and recognitions will come to you in a different path. You start realizing that, as Reid Hoffman promotes in his latest book, entrepreneurship (and I am not referring to start companies) is a philosophy of life and not a job. You start realizing that you climb mountains because you love to climb and not because you want to get to the top. You realize that you play basketball because you love the game and not to win championships. Those championships will come, just in a different way.