When I was working in corporate, a lot of people mistaken my tenacity for competitiveness. What I was striving for instead, was to be the best version of myself. There is no competition between myself and others, just myself. Kobe Bryant coined a term for this – the Mamba Mentality – a constant journey towards being a better iteration of oneself.
Kobe was the greatest of his era in basketball. He had an unmatched work ethic and an inner monster that would stop at nothing to conquer what was in front of him. He would endure and spent very little time feeling sorry for himself when things weren’t going his way. He would find the silver lining and just work, work, work. One of his most famous quotes said, “if you see me in a fight with a bear, pray for the bear”. This embodied everything about the way he played basketball and a lot of these principles can be applied in business.
A lot of my drive stemmed from the fact that I came from a working-class family. As a child, I watched as my parents worked extremely hard to make ends meet. The sacrifices they made and the selflessness made me appreciate just how difficult it would have been for them to raise a family. I made a commitment to myself that not only would I repay my parents for their hard work in raising our family, but to ensure that I am working just as hard as they did.
In the early days of my career, there was no job too tedious or small for me. I was putting my hand up for anything and getting my hands dirty. I’d be the first one in the office and the last one out. When you work as hard as that, you tend to make your own luck. This is what gave me my first big break – I had a longstanding relationship with a client for over 8 years who chose to be my first client when I decided to start my own business. He could have easily parted ways with me and picked any other accounting firm. However, he saw something in me and I was rewarded with landing my first paid client. I genuinely believe that had it not been for channelling this “Mamba Mentality”, that I wouldn’t be where I am today. I think you make your own luck, in a way, and position yourself to be able to capitalise on opportunities like the ones I was able to.
So, instead of looking behind your shoulder, I suggest you look at yourself in the mirror. If you’re better than you were yesterday, then you’re on the right track.