Written by 8:30 am Career, Health and Fitness

How Competing in Life is Just Like Playing Basketball

How do I bring my competitive attitude when I play b-ball to my everyday life?” – Corey

I was recently asked on Facebook how someone can bring their competitive attitude they have in sports to their every day life outside of it. The two are actually very similar to each other, we just have to reframe some of our perspective as to what “we leave on the court,” and what we use in life off-the-court.

1. Have a clearly defined goal:

On-the-court: Your goal is to score points or stop the defender depending which side of the court you’re on – but the key is you always know what you’re trying to do.

Off-the-court: Do you your goal clearly defined? What are you working toward and for the current day, ask yourself what is the biggest action I need to take to advance toward that goal I want. Then take that specific shot.

2. Know who you’re matched up with:

On-the-court – Even in a pickup game at the Y, everyone knows who they’re guarding throughout the game before the first dribble. If it’s the first time you’re playing this person, you learn their tendencies while they game advances, but if you’ve known them for a while, you have an idea how they play – and how you should play them. Do they play you loose (shoot from outside) or tight (drive the paint)? Which hand to they dribble with so you can force them the other way? Play your opponent and take advantages of their weaknesses by attacking them.

Off-the-court – You are your own opponent. Look at the previous day. a) Where did you trip up, where did you lose focus? Attack those weaknesses in your schedule or habits to create safeguards that protect your goals and self from missing the mark. B) Where did you excel or hit flow yesterday? Play to those strengths and repeat.

3. Take action

On-the-court – Don’t be afraid to take the shot.

Off-the-court – Simply talking about what you’re going to do won’t get it done. Similarly, if you catch yourself constantly in “planning” mode, stop and start taking action toward the goal.

4. Do the dirty work

On-the-court – Be willing to take a charge, go after rebounds, and do the work that others see as “below them.”

Off-the-court – Do the work that others won’t to achieve the results that others can’t. Wake up a little bit earlier than you did previously, do the work that no one wants to do (sales calls, write blogs, take the unpaid gigs) to put you in a position to do the work everyone wishes they could (commission checks, paid gigs).

5. Keep score

On-the-court – Play to 21, 1’s and 2’s. Win by 2. Before the ball ever tips off, each team knows what point or time limit they’re playing until.

Off-the-court – Track your day, every day just like you would points in the game. I use a Best Self Journal to time-block my day and maintain focus on my top-3 goals.

  • Write down your top 3 targets each day and take action on them.
  • Write down your top 3 things you’re grateful for (centers you).
  • Keep track of where you hit the mark and fell short every day so you can build on it the next day.
  • You can get a free copy of my daily scorecard to customize as your own right here.

The same fire on-the-court can propel you off-the-court.

Shift your perspective from believing that competition only happens in a sporting arena against another person, and instead train yourself to compete against your own previous best. Think of how you approach your pickup basketball game and use similar strategies to start winning your day at work or at home. Like any athlete, you can find out what you’re truly made of when you push yourself to improve instead of settling for what’s convenient.

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