Lessons from The Last Dance

I don’t know about you, but I loved watching The Last Dance, the story of Michael Jordan & The Chicago Bulls’ last season together and their journey to their 6th championship, and second triple win (3 years back to back, twice).

To say Jordan was/is intense, is an understatement. To say he was a leader with clarity and driven by a single deliverable, to win the championship, seems ridiculous to even mention. Emotional? Hell yeah, and not afraid to say when a player and the team wasn’t at their best. If you wanted to be his friend… well, get a dog.

Michael inspires me through his sheer grit, determination and extraordinary ability to focus. I wish I could manage my HeadTrash like him. Like all of us, he had his weaknesses and there are a few great lessons that we can all stand to reflect on in these trying times.

  1. It takes a village. No one player can do it alone. It is the combination of extraordinary talent, smart management, strategies that leveraged team member strengths and provided competitive advantages, complemented with a coach that understood his players and the game physically, mentally, emotionally and politically. Then, sprinkle in intense focus and fanatical commitment. It’s like making a cake, without all of the ingredients, the cake doesn’t rise.
  2. Let’s talk about great coaching. In my life, my success has been the gift of great mentors and coaches and for this team, at this time, Phil Jackson was the ideal coach. He understood his players and what they needed to shine, moved with compassion and connection, balanced with no bullshit. He aligned his team and understood each of them for their strengths, weaknesses and temperaments. Phil had an innate ability to create a culture where his organization could thrive, even with human emotional dysfunction everywhere. His players knew with absolute certainty where he stood, and that they could count on him. He led with clarity, courage and compassion with a large dose of Zen energy and passion.
  3. People are predictable. Michael listened with his eyes and sensed weakness (energy). He studied his competitors so he could anticipate their moves. The slight movement of a foot, told him their next move, or the quick fake to the right meant a down the middle slam “attempt”. People are predictable, especially when you listen with more than your ears.
  4. Extraordinary success is a derivative of fanatical effort. Being a championship team takes more than just a plan…More than determination. It takes real work…Physical work, mental work, emotional work and spiritual work. The winners do the work. It isn’t about luck or desire; it is about a passionate mind set and a fanatical commitment to constant and never-ending improvement. The real question is, “what are you willing to do to make what you want to happen”? There are the doers and the hopers. Doers win championships.
  5. How you treat others matter. Michael won at all costs, and that has a price. How you do things shows your character and has an imprint on others, either positive or negative. As I watched The Last Dance, I saw Michael’s loneliness at times. A portion was no doubt due to his fame and the isolation that can create. Some were clearly due to his inability to connect to his teammates on a compassionate level. Winning may feel good, but knowing you hurt so many people who were so important in your life has a price.
  6. Mindset is a choice you make every day. How you show up, sets the tempo of your game. It is true that sometimes you lose, and when you do, it can be the fuel to come back stronger. It’s how you think that strengthens or weakens your game and power. Your mindset is 100% your choice and elevates your chance of success. If your head isn’t in the game, don’t expect to win.
  7. “Don’t worry about the shots you haven’t taken yet”. A Michael quote. So often we spend our energy on things we can’t control or worse yet, things that haven’t even happened. It’s nuts and sucks our energy from things we can do, can control and can impact. What you focus on tells your story.
  8. There is a big difference between ego and confidence. Egotistical looks bad on everyone. Confidence is power.

What was your favorite The Last Dance lesson? Share it here: renie@poweredbyaspire.com

Play big or go home,