Jun 112015 0 Responses

You’re Not Lebron, But You Could Be Matthew Dellavedova

You can’t be Lebron James. While that statement isn’t 100% accurate for every person in the world, it is accurate for 99.9% of the people who will ever live. In whatever your sport, passion, or field of expertise, you can’t be Lebron. He is a once-in-a-lifetime, transformative figure who is a lone outlier from the rest of society.

No matter what you do, you can’t be the Lebron James of teaching or sales or blogging or whatever you do.

But you can be the Matthew Dellavedova. (See: Leadership–Learning to Take a Punch)

The 2015 NBA playoffs were expected to be a showdown between Lebron James and Stephan Curry. James is the greatest player of this generation (and I would say of all-time, sorry Michael Jordan) and Curry is this year’s MVP. While Curry has made some unbelievable shots and James is putting on possibly the greatest Finals performance of all-time, the main story of the 2015 Finals has been Matthew Dellavedova.

Dellavedova is a 24-year-old shooting guard who was pushed into the limelight when Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving was injured during game one of the Finals. After the injury, most experts believed Cleveland had no chance of beating Golden State. Having already lost one starter during the regular season, the idea of a team competing on the biggest stage down a second starter seemed impossible.

Yet in Game 2, Matthew Dellavedova provided the needed assistance for Lebron James by shutting down Stephan Curry and the Cavaliers beat Golden State. They followed up the first victory with a second win in Game 3 where Dellavedova scored 20 points.

While the outcome of the series is still unknown, one thing is certain, Matthew Dellavedova has exceeded expectations and given the Cavaliers an opportunity to win a championship which many experts believed was already lost.

Matthew Dellavedova is very good. He made it to the NBA; that fact alone sets him apart from nearly every person who will ever play basketball. But he’s not the best. He was undrafted out of college. His big break was signing with the NBA summer league.

His success story is far more possible for the average person than the story of Lebron. While you may never make it in the NBA, you can become very good at something. You may not be the transformative figure of an industry, but you can make a significant impact if you are willing to do the work.

Here are four ways to be the Matthew Dellavedova of your office or community:

1. Always have your work-ethic be more defining than your talent.

Talent tends to get the headlines. Talent is full of potential and possibility. Work-ethic is rarely newsworthy. But give me the choice and I’ll always take someone with a strong work-ethic rather than just having talent. What talent is to pre-game, work-ethic is to post-game. Work-ethic becomes obvious only after the game is over.

You have little control over your talent, but you have 100% control over your work-ethic. With work comes skills, knowledge, and habits. If you are defined by talent, it likely means you are underachieving. If you are defined by work-ethic, it means you are doing what it takes to become great. (See: Do the Work)

2. Allow critics to feed your motivation.

Well-known radio personality, Collin Cowherd, said before the series that Dellavedova would be the worst player to ever get significant playing time in an NBA Finals. Instead of allowing the critics to get him down, Dellavedova allowed it to drive him harder. He didn’t try to prove himself, but instead waited until time itself proved he was better than people thought. (See: Never Try to Prove Yourself)

Everyone who does good work has critics. Don’t let them get you down. Instead, allow their words to strengthen your resolve.

3. Keep working even when no one is watching.

I assume it was easy for Matthew Dellavedova to go to practice yesterday. (Well it would have been had he not been hospitalized from exhaustion). It would be easy because he can see a direct correlation between his practice and his play. But it wasn’t that way this spring or last summer or ten years ago. While he is on the main stage today, he has been unseen for years. Yet he kept working.

If you plan on working when you are given a big opportunity, chances are the opportunity will never come. You must work when no one cares or is watching. Only when you have worked for years without people watching will your work actually be worth watching.

4. Remain yourself when in the spotlight.

Dellavedova has a role. He isn’t Lebron James. His role is to play good defense, score on occasion, and do whatever is necessary to win. He is supposed to play a supporting role. The temptation when the spotlight gets turned on someone is for them to suddenly believe they have to play a bigger role. They leave the supporting role and try to be the main actor. It’s the wrong move. (See: You Control What Matters Most)

When you transition from unseen to seen, make sure you know yourself well enough to know your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t suddenly try to become something you are not.



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