If you want to be successful in life, you’ve got to have a winning mentality. Truth be told, the road to success is never a smooth one, but it begins with a person’s willingness to win. Before you strive to achieve anything in life– a career, a marriage, a new health regimen, or a business, you must make up your mind to succeed.
A lot of people lack the discipline, grit, and the dedication needed to achieve the success they want. The majority of people think the success of others is good luck or perhaps was easier than the things that stopped them. That incredible talent they were gifted with is why they stand alone in their field. Almost all of these people have stories of huge setbacks with errors in judgment, bad luck, taking bad advice that nearly bankrupts them (or actually did bankrupt them) but they didn’t let it stop them.
Few people know that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson failed at his dream of being a professional football player–he wasn’t drafted by the NFL after college, but made it onto a professional Canadian team only to be cut after one season, Lady Gaga was bullied throughout school and told she would never be a star, teachers at NYU said her voice wasn’t good enough to sing professionally, and just when she thought she had made it, Def Jam dropped her from their label after three months. There is something for all of us to learn in these examples… would you believe Steven Spielberg was rejected by three (3) film schools? JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter novel was rejected by 12 different publishers before she sold it. Walt Disney was fired from a job at a newspaper because he “lacked imagination” and, as my grandfather was always fond of telling me, Abraham Lincoln lost eight out of 10 elections, failed in business, had a nervous breakdown, all before running for President and winning. It’s incredible what people can do when they are determined to succeed.
The Athlete’s Mindset
Being an athlete comes with several things that work well in business. A tenacity for competition, the ability to be part of a team, raw talent, and hard work. We interviewed Thaddaeus Koroma, a successful “business accelerator to the stars” to discuss how he successfully transferred the athlete’s mindset to the business world after suffering a series of injuries that ended his basketball career.
Koroma, President of Limit Breakers (limitbreakers.com) has been very successful after he shifted his love and commitment to basketball into curating profitable and sustainable businesses for top athletes and celebrities.
“A series of injuries ended my professional career but it became the foundation of my success today. I love basketball because I learned how to push myself and build discipline. I see it now as the ideal training ground for what I am meant to do in the world… build businesses.”
With offices around the world, Thaddaeus, along with his partner (and cousin) Patrick Sesay, and the combined efforts of their team, leverage the assets and influence of world-class athletes, actors and artists to create unique and lucrative ventures. Often bringing multiple clients together to create new partnerships and leverage their reach to generate revenue streams beyond their current paycheck before their time in the spotlight ends.
“Proceed as if success is inevitable. If you don’t, you won’t succeed. I have seen athletes and entrepreneurs with incredible genius far superior to the people at the top, but they fail because they don’t have the mindset to win. They don’t make the necessary adjustments, keep taking action which is needed in business. When I first started my company, I went full speed. People would ask how long I had been an entrepreneur and I would say ‘a few months’ without blinking,” Koroma says.
Get Ready For Opportunity
No matter how small or large your wins are, always celebrate them. However, don’t assume that you’ll arrive at your goals by hard work alone. Be ready to grab the next opportunity that comes your way. Don’t lose focus on the horizon after you have success. The next opportunity could be where your business grows exponentially. You can have talent, resources, and connections, but when you lack the mental dexterity and passion to look at obstacles as learning experiences for greater success, failure is right around the corner.
As in sports, you need a team and community bigger than you. Many people think they have to do it all. This is limiting your success and wasting time. You’ve got to take action, and work hard, but no athlete is ever a superstar without a strong team and great leadership.
As we learned more about Koroma’s past, we learned he had this propensity to find a way to succeed at a young age. Koroma was able to prepare and position himself for a scholarship opportunity away from where he grew up in Germany. He practiced hard, but knew that he wasn’t going to get success without being around great players.
“I was trying to find a way to get to the US. I had no money, nothing. Then one day, I found an outlet for someone telling me there’s something happening. If you get a GPA of 4.0, you can get scholarships to go to the US and play basketball with the best of the best. So I just became better at school. And not long after, I had a 4.0. But not because I was interested in school, it was just a means to an end.” Koroma claims.’
Rejection and failure are non-negotiable in business. At times, everything may take a downturn and you start feeling like all hope is lost. Remember, we’ve all failed at things, lost money, didn’t get the girl, etc. at some point in our lives. Failures of any kind don’t mean anything. It’s what you do next that will define your path.
Just like in sports, if you prove resilient, adjust, and keep your head high above stormy waters, you’re bound to become better. “People laughed at me when I told them I’ll go pro but it never deterred me. I found mentors and learned from those who understood the game better than me,” Koroma says.
Is this a perfect process? No. Can you also grip the dream you are going after too tight? Koroma is open about not letting go when he should’ve, “I’ll be honest, it took me a long time to let go of basketball. The other side of this drive is that I didn’t listen to the doctors, my family, concerned friends when they said to stop playing. I knew I could beat the odds if I wanted it enough. After the pain was too much to bear, I stopped. I was depressed but willed myself to stay open to new opportunities. Years later, I came to understand that I was still using what I had built within myself with basketball.”
Don’t Make It “About You” or get Fixated on the outcome
“If you are only thinking about your own success, you are thinking too small. Make it more about other people. One way I find meaning and purpose everyday is to make other people’s lives better.”
One of the things that drives Koroma in business, he shares, is also his non-profit—Garden of Eden (gardenedenglobal.org). Similar to Limitbreakers, it combines people from different backgrounds to become a team that nurtures and provides a safe upbringing for orphaned children around the world. This organization identifies established nonprofits that help children in underdeveloped countries and brings to them new resources that bolster their infrastructure and expand their reach.