A ONE-MILLION dollar home off the coast with a separate walk-in closet specifically for your shoes, a two hundred thousand-dollar sports car, expensive jewelry, three on-call chefs, two well-groomed Shih Tzus and a partridge in a pear tree. Is this the picture of someone who’s successful at what they do? Most definitely it is! Wouldn’t you want to paste a picture of your face on the shoulders of that individual? Most would respond with a resounding yes. The fact is, all of us want this kind of financial freedom to some degree. But is this what motivates you to pursue your future career? Does it push you to want to excel and standout in your present career? Is it money, fame, and status that gets you out of bed every morning? Can it give you that edge over your competition to persevere where most would quit? These are the types of questions I had to think about before pursuing my own career.
In high school, when I became serious about basketball, I vowed that if it ever became merely a job where I played only to get paid, I would walk away from the game completely. Now, almost eight years into my career, that mindset still remains. What enables me to swing my legs off of the bed and place my feet firmly on my laminated floor every morning is the belief that God has a purpose for me in basketball until He places me elsewhere. Next is the legacy of faith and ethics I want to leave for my two young sons. Also high on my motivation totem pole: the positive impact I hope to make within the league I play in, the example I set for younger players, and the positive impact I make on the Philippines, in general, as a Filipino-American player.
So, what’s your motivation?
Here’s a few reminders that can help put things in perspective. If you’re one of those who hope to paint a picture for your future that is brighter than your past or present via a successful career, this is for you.
• Money, fame, and status are temporary.
They come and go just as fast as you can say, well, pretty much anything. You can rest easier at the end of the day if you know that all of your efforts are going toward things that last: honoring God with your works, bettering the quality of life for yourself and your loved ones, or leaving behind a legacy, to name a few.
• What motivates you will test your character and integrity.
You can tell when a player is motivated by money. He’ll run through a steel wall and encouragingly clap until his hands blister to get an offer. Once he’s signed a contract for a few years, however, forget about that steel wall because he’s likely running as if he doesn’t want to trip over the lines on the court. It’s sad to see those situations, but it definitely occurs.
• Individual awards collect dust, but championship rings are cherished!
The desire to win needs to outweigh any and all desires to achieve personal accolades, especially if you’re playing team sports. An MVP trophy won’t mean a thing if you’ve never won a championship. Putting in the work of an MVP for the sake of the team will be evident to your teammates. And so would doing the work for the sake of yourself.
Don’t let the products of a successful career be the reason you make that push for greatness. Invest your time, strength, focus, and dedication for the sake of something greater than yourself. Know that God has a purpose for your life that is in effect as you are reading this. Put in the work with the proper perspective and allow those external luxuries to find its place in your life.