The Pippen of Pixels
What I learned from sitting on the sideline.
Back in high school, my basketball career as a second-string bench warmer was mostly waiting on the sideline for my chance to play in the game. I practiced hard to be in the best shape and learned the fundamentals that taught me about work ethic. But when I look back, I wasn’t the greatest player but was surrounded by teammates that were better than me, which elevated my skills. My high school had one of the best basketball programs in Ontario that trained you to be great athletes.
In my junior year of basketball, I remember one season the coach let the entire second lineup start in a few games and we did just as good, if not better than the starters. It got to a point where we heard murmurs from some of the starters on why they were benched and we were starting. It was a great lesson that taught me to be a great “supporting role” player and reinforced us that we still had an impact and brought value to the team.
The cliché saying, “There’s no “I” in team” is true… which lead us to winning a many NDA (Nipissing District Athletics) Championships. Green crunch on three!
Fast forward today, I’m faced with similar dynamics when working with my clients. As a designer, I adapt with various companies/brands and become their #2 supporting team member to grow their business through my creative services. Whether it’s growing sales/leads, increasing their brand awareness, or putting the “polish” on their marketing, I bring them value and drive their business to “win championships” so to speak.
I had a meeting with a client at the end of one year and they were stressed about production, employees and process of the company. I recall saying that “just because you have one bad season isn’t the end of your career”. The analogy I made was the Chicago Bulls in 1994 after a losing season without Michael Jordan. And the next season they came back and won 3 straight NBA Championships in a row. For those that don’t know, Scottie Pippen played an important role in transforming the Bulls team into a championship team. The realization was motivating and sparked a comeback stronger than ever, it was a really pivoting moment that I’ll never forget.
To bring it full circle, my high school basketball career has taught me three principles that still apply in business today. First, be a team member because soft skills outweigh technical skills and it’s the only way to work together to build something great. Second, practice patience because the right opportunities will manifest itself when you consistently create. And thirdly, HUSTLE because your work ethic is the only variable you can control in life.