Have you ever had a teammate, colleague, or mentor who made a great impact on you—someone whose words or advice have stuck with you long after you’ve parted ways?
One of those people for me is Mike Bibby. He is one of my all-time favorite teammates who I played with on both the Vancouver Grizzlies and the Sacramento Kings.
Mike was a tireless worker and a great competitor, not just in the NBA but throughout his entire basketball career. As a freshman at Arizona, he and his teammates had a fantastic run to win the 1997 NCAA Championship. In the NBA, he was one of the best clutch shooters in the game.
I enjoyed playing with Mike a lot. Not only was he a player and a person you could always count on, but he had a phenomenal attitude—it’s his attitude that has stuck with me to this day.
Whenever he was going through a shooting slump, he’d say: “If you made all your shots, it wouldn’t be fun…”
It was his way of reframing a negative into a positive—to keep himself from dwelling on what he didn’t want and instead focus on the opportunity that each new shot held.
When Mike would say, “If you made all your shots, it wouldn’t be fun,” I’d often smirk to myself and think, “If I made all my shots, basketball would be GREAT!” But seriously, I really did love the way he looked at challenges, and I’ve only appreciated his approach more and more over time.
I’m certain that some part of Mike’s ability to make big shots when he needed was the optimistic attitude he had. He knew that he would miss shots but he was always hopeful he would make the next one.
It was his approach to the uncertainty of shooting, as well as his ability to turn negatives into positives, that helped him become a great player and come through in the clutch many times.
I believe Mike’s approach can benefit all of us.
In these uncertain times, it’s easy to dwell on fear, because uncertainty naturally breeds it.
- We can start back to school and focus on how everything is different than it usually is…
- We can get a promotion and worry about messing something up…
- We can pick up a new sport or hobby and feel overwhelmed from the steep learning curve…
Or we can realize that every minute of every day is a new opportunity to learn, adapt, and get things right.
Every minute of every day is another opportunity “to shoot your shot.”
You’re definitely going to miss some—and in the beginning stages you might miss a lot. But you’re also going to make shots, and as you continue to practice and progress, you’ll make more and more of them.
The key is to view every minute, day, week, or month as the opportunity it is—and to realize that whether it turns out the way you want it to or not it’s going to be okay.
Learn what you can from each experience and step into the next one with an open mind, ready to give it your best shot again.
The biggest thing I learned from Mike was that we have a CHOICE about what we focus on.
We can choose to dwell on fear or we can choose to focus on hope. Either way, it’s a choice and one that only we can make.
While dwelling on fear is tempting—especially in times that feel uncertain or when you’re heading into something that’s new or unknown—the only thing to get us through it as smoothly as possible is to focus on hope.
Hope is our absolute best bet of mitigating and conquering fear. It infuses us with the confidence and strength we need to weather any challenge, and ultimately, it’s the thing that keeps us trying to make the big shot.
It’s only when we have the guts to try (again and again and again) that we truly are able to succeed.