Jeremy Lin: An Extraordinary leader
In modern times where instant gratification has taken over the desire to put in an honest day’s work for a fair day’s pay, it is ironic how the story of Jeremy Lin has come out of nowhere and created an instant buzz. This story was underway long before we read about it in the New York Times or watched on CNN. Jeremy Lin took advantage of his opportunity, but he was prepared for this break a long time ago.
Opportunity, by definition; a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something. Most successful people are able to spot an opportunity and turn it to their advantage. Coaches talk about it all the time. “Be prepared for your opportunity, you never know when your number is going to be called.” But how do you know when an opportunity is there for you? How do you find the right opportunity? How do you prepare?
Ninety percent of successful people in any organization spend most of their time engaged in their own personal day to day responsibilities. They are motivated, goal oriented and focused on outcomes and ROI. Those who work hard and are driven usually become successful and the natural progression is to move into a leadership role or position.
There are another ten percent of successful people who take a different approach as they wait for their opportunity. They see things from a different perspective. They look at the broader picture and find true purpose and joy in helping the people around them reach their goals. This is what I call an extraordinary leader. Jeremy Lin represents this ten percent. Jeremy has become such an icon because he understands that true leaders hold up the organization long before they have their own personal day in the spotlight. This kind of leader works for years helping others achieve what they never thought was possible.
Jeremy is the underdog, who came out of nowhere, humble, honest, credit’s his coaches and teammates. He thanks the fans, takes the blame and dishes out the compliments. He is truly genuine and that makes him even more endearing. He thinks of others before himself. He is not just a great basketball player who happens to be Asian-American. He is an exceptional leader.
I have been fortunate enough to spend a lot of time the last year with former USC, Iowa, and Washington State Coach George Raveling. Coach Rav is now Director of International Basketball for Nike and he sends his life lessons every month. If you are fortunate enough to be on that list, you have heard some of this before. One of his most common quotes he uses in his presentations, “You can get what you want out of life if you just help enough people get what they want.” It’s hard to do in such tough economic times. It is hard to focus on others when you are out of a job, owe more on your house than it’s worth, or owe a $100,000 on your credit cards.
If you are out there searching for your opportunity, think and act like Jeremy Lin. Help someone else find theirs and yours will come. Who know’s when your opportunity will come, but when it does, you will be as prepared as Jeremy Lin was, and I’ll bet you’ll be the next true superstar!