Orrin Woodward LIFE Leadership Team

Winner of the 2011 Independent Association of Business Top Leader Award; Orrin Woodward shares his leadership secrets.

Michael Jordan on Winning Teams

Posted by Orrin Woodward on January 26, 2008

I found this excellent article
about Michael Jordan.  MJ was one of the most enjoyable athletes to watch in any sport—he was a consummate professional
in his field.  From last minute heroics,
stellar defense or deft passing, Michael helped everyone on his team play better.  In fact, he even helped the opposing team play better because of his presence.   There is much we can learn from individuals
who accept nothing less than excellence in their life.  MJ is one of the greatest and we all should learn from his hunger to rise above the field. 

God Bless, Orrin Woodward

Growing up every body wanted to be like Mike. Kids would wear Michael Jordan shoes in the hopes that some of his magic might rub off onto them. No
other man in history has been able to single handedly shape a game as Michael
Jordan did in his career. He was one of the most fiercest competitors to ever
grace the courts and as a result dominated the game like no one else in history.

His sporting achievements read like a dream list, winning 6 NBA championships, 10-time All-NBA First Team, Defensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, 14-time All-Star, two time Olympic gold medalist, countless MVP’s to his credit and inducted as one of 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. There is no question that Jordan was a winner, here are some timeless lessons we can learn from his legacy:

1. Winners Aren’t Afraid To Fail

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

Jordan ended his amazingly stellar career with a field goal shooting average of 0.497%. Imagine one of the greatest players in history missing nearly one in every two of his shots, some of which were no doubt in pivotal moments of the game and even potential game winners. Most people make decisions in their life as if one misstep or setback would cause their house of cards to come crumbling down beneath their feet. They fear failure, fear letting down their friends or family, fear what others might think about them, fear the consequences of their actions and thus visualize the worst case scenarios in their mind.

Winners are those rare individuals who in spite of all odds, choose to put their hand up for that game winning shot and whether they make the basket or not, know that they put 100% into that moment. The difference between hero and villain is a fine line and winners know the highs and lows of both. To be given the responsibility and the privilege like Jordan did over and over again in his
career to take the game winning shot you must prepare the best you can, live the best you can and believe in every ounce of your ability. Winners don’t just rely on blind faith and see failure as a lesson to learn from. Failure is one of
life’s greatest teachers and if you but embrace those lessons you will be
stronger for it.

2. Winners Work Harder And Smarter

“I’ve always believed that if you put in the work, the results will come. I don’t do things half-heartedly. Because I know if I do, then I can expect half-hearted results.” – Michael Jordan

It is always surprising to hear people who talk about achieving success in their field, instead of being willing to put in the hard work they look for short cuts. They look to gain as much as they can by working as little as they can. To look for shortcuts is a fools game, no one ever achieved excellence in any great undertaking by subscribing to the ethic of laziness. Jordan was cut from the varsity team as a sophomore during his time at Laney High School in Wilmington. “Whenever I was working out and got tired and figured I ought to stop, I’d close my eyes and see that list in the locker room without my name on it,” Jordan said, “and that usually got me going again.” He eventually made the team and led it to the state championship.

At age 35 he was still working harder than most of the players half his age, and he was still out maneuvering them on the basketball courts. He out hustled, out played, and out skilled his contemporaries a fraction of his age. Jordan’s secret was his work ethic was like no other, even at an age where he had already proved he was the greatest living basketball player, he still worked harder than everyone else to continue to develop his game.

3. Winners Rise Above The Low Expectation Of Others

“If you accept the expectations of others, especially negative ones, then you never will change the outcome.” – Michael Jordan

You have to be willing to rise about the mediocrity of your peers and critics. Mediocrity is a disease that takes hold on those who aren’t strong enough to hold onto their dreams, who don’t have enough belief in them self or too scared to rise above the crowd. When Jordan was cut from the Varsity team
in high school, he was relegated to playing for the Junior Varsity team and
worked on his skills during the summer with his brother. He spent that year
developing his skills and honing his craft earning him a spot in the varsity
team a year later. The rest is history. If he was to have believed that he
wasn’t good enough like his coach then imagine history without
Jordan jumping through the air and making impossible jump shots. Winners aren’t confined to the domain of the most gifted, the most talented or the one with the most opportunities and resources. At the end of the day winners are the ones who rise above everybody else’s thinking and believes in themselves. They pay the price to become the best.

4. Winners Love What They Do

“Even when I’m old and grey, I won’t be able to play it, but I’ll still love the game.” – Michael Jordan

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that Jordan loved the game. Basketball for
Jordan was something that brought him joy and fulfillment. He played basketball as a young kid with his father and older brother way before his skills and talents were even known. He worked hard to follow his passion even when obstacles were presented in his path. The path to greatness is all uphill and if you aren’t doing something your passionate about then that road uphill very quickly becomes a grinding slog. Life is too short to slog your way through life, if you know the path is uphill then at least find something that you love to do so that you can have fun while doing it.

5. Winners Are In It To Win

“I play to win, whether during practice or a real game. And I will not let anything get in the way of me and my competitive enthusiasm to win.” – Michael Jordan

Jordan might be considered an over achiever, but he wasn’t sweating it out week in week out to just be in the game. Jordan’s tenacity and drive to win is
what fueled much of his devotion to the game and his outstanding record of
success was the scorecard. He pushed his body to it’s limit so that he could see
what it was possible in achieving. Sure you might argue that it’s just a game,
it’s not like world peace is at stake but what separates winners from losers is
their willingness to get off the sideline and play all in. They dedicate
themselves to an undertaking of excellence in everything they do and commit to a path forged with professionalism.

6. Winners Overcome Obstacles In Their Path

“If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” – Michael Jordan

It is amazing how often people quit at the first sign of defeat. Instead of pushing through that defeat they see it as some sort of sign that this path was not theirs to begin with and go seeking another path for their life. The problem is that these people never stick to one thing long enough for success to sprout. They dabble at this and dabble at that and achieve mastery at nothing in life. Obstacles are put on your path to challenge you to rise to a whole new level, a level often time you didn’t even knew existed in your human potential. Obstacles give you a reason to strive further, work harder and find that inner strength that each and everyone of us possess if we just are willing to tap into it.

7. Winners Make Things Happen

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” – Michael Jordan

Opportunities don’t magically fall into your lap, you have to create those opportunities. Winners are proactive with their dreams, they are willing to do what the loser’s only dream about. Instead of complaining, getting upset or trying to explain why things didn’t happen for you, stand up and take charge of your destiny. Shape it the way you want, if one door closes, work twice as hard till the next door opens. You can turn around your life today if you just subscribe to the winners mindset that all things are possible if you put your mind to it. Jordan revolutionized the game of basketball, he created what to mere mortals look like impossible shots from impossible angles.

He dazzled professional athletes by making them look amateurish by dribbling around them and pulling out jump shots. Jordan devoted his life to mastering
his craft and created shots that generations to come would emulate. He didn’t
just play the game, he created the game as he went and defined the game.

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