It’s the 1st week of February. Have you stuck with the New Year’s resolutions you so confidently set for yourself about a month ago? If you are being honest with yourself, you probably haven’t. Statistics show most folks begin to fade off course by the 3rd week of January.
While I love the enthusiasm and optimism that surrounds them, I never make New Year’s resolutions.
And it’s not because I don’t have areas in my life I need to improve, I most certainly do. It’s because I make resolutions throughout the entire year! I make them daily, weekly and monthly. If I have something in my life I need to fix or improve, I address it immediately. I don’t wait around for January 1st. And the reason I can make these self improvement goals, or resolutions, as often as I do is because I am constantly evaluating my performance, my career, my relationships and my life.
While I make sure to take time to self-acknowledge a job well done and quickly celebrate little victories and successes, I strive to never get content, complacent or satisfied with where I am in life. I take time very single day to look at ‘the man in the mirror.’
I routinely update my standards and both my short and long-term goals. It’s an ongoing process. Success is a journey, not a destination. And happiness is the key to success, not the other way around. One of the major keys to true happiness is growth. We are all happiest when we are growing, learning and improving.
It has been my experience that most basketball players (and coaches for that matter) don’t put much emphasis on their individual development during the season. Most players feel the best time to work on their game is in the off-season. That’s what the off-season is for, right? Why? Who made that rule? Your goal as a player should be to get better every day – 365 days a year. Why should it matter if you are in-season or out of season?
The name of the game is continuous development. Don’t you want to be a better player in March than you were in November? I recognize and admit during the season your primary focus should be on your team, your team’s goals, and being a good teammate… but why can’t you improve individually at the same time? They aren’t separate entities.
What is the first step to improving as a player? It is indentifying both your strengths and your weaknesses. Before you can truly improve, you have to establish what needs to be improved. This can only be done through evaluation. You need to evaluate yourself and you need to have your coach evaluate you, because for the most part, those are the only two evaluations that really matter. If you are lucky you will have a coach who cares enough to be honest with you and tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. Many young players today try to avoid the truth, so they surround themselves with ‘yes men’ and entourages who constantly tell them how great they are.
That is why so many talented players have major flaws in their game. Either no one is honest enough to tell them what they need to improve on or they are too hard headed to listen. I have seen numerous All-American caliber players who have a very weak off-hand, poor shooting form and an extremely low basketball IQ. These weaknesses, if never addressed, get exploited when they go to the next level. Young people try to avoid hearing about, referring too, or acknowledging their weaknesses. Why? You should want to know your weaknesses. How else will you get better?
One of the most integral parts of self-evaluating is to take full ownership. But this is not easy. It is human nature to point the finger, make excuses and find someone or something to blame.
But if you want to truly grow as a player (and person), you need to start looking in the mirror.
Next week, in Part 2, I will share exactly how you can evaluate yourself.
Until then, keep doing more of what’s working and less of what isn’t.
PS: This concept of self-evaluation reminds me of this story:
Whose Job Is It?
This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job that needed to be done and Everybody was asked to do it. Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry with that, because it was Everybody’sjob. Everybody thought Anybody could do it but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.