There are some Lin-spiring small-business and entrepreneurial lessons in the Lin-credible week of New York Knicks basketball player Jeremy Lin.
Lin's success goes way beyond the court. As of writing this post, Lin has 311,087 Twitter followers and 549,091 Facebook likes to his fan page—that is a lot of people who find him Linteresting.
What can we learn from the global Lin-sanity?
Hard work and dedication pay off
Lin slept on his brother’s couch in a tiny Manhattan apartment to keep costs down. He showed up to work each day uncertain whether it was his last working day. He never faltered during that time.
He honed his skill, practicing and perfecting what he does best so he was fully prepared if he got a chance to play. The hard work and dedication paid off. Lin earned a guaranteed contract through the rest of the season with the Knicks.
Often, the sweetest successes are the ones that come after hard work and struggles. When the ball is passed to you too easily in life, you can lose sight of your focus and goals. Chances are good that Lin wants to hold onto his success and he'll work just as hard to sustain his gig as an NBA basketball player.
Most businesses don’t find success immediately, and many entrepreneurs fail numerous times before finding what works. Work hard on good ideas that people need. Then, have a good game plan. The steadfast dedication will likely score you successes.
Lin didn’t start for the Knicks because of his mad skillz. The Knicks had to play him when there were too many injuries and an unexpected death in Amare Stoudemire’s family. Lin could have blown his chances when he stepped onto the court, but instead he owned it. He has clearly made the most of what life suddenly presented him.
The same goes for business opportunities. You never know what might come up. Be prepared to tackle anything that comes your way without buckling. Be quick. Obviously, you need to be careful and consider, but don't pass up a good opportunity.
Strive to be the unexpected exception
Most Harvard graduates don’t get to play for the NBA—only three other Harvard alum have made it to the NBA. There aren’t many Asian Americans who have made the cut to play pro ball, either.
That said, despite being cut twice and sent to the Knicks D-League, Lin unexpectedly helped the Knicks to a four-win glory. One of those wins was against the almighty Lakers. All of this from a guy who had been overlooked and benched.
What does this mean for your business? Step outside of the box and bring something to the table that people need. Do this confidently and in your own unique way. Don’t assume anything about anyone, including yourself, until proven otherwise.
Focus on your strengths as long as they contribute to the team
Lin’s skills are in passing and distributing the ball. He clearly can shoot to score, too. He quickly figured out how he could be most valuable to the team as a team player. Because of that, he had further opportunities to show off his follow-up strengths.
Just as nobody likes a ball hog with an ego, no one cares if you’re really good at something if you’re out there doing it on your own. Don't work outside of the framework of your colleagues or team.
Check the ego at the door and help others shine
Behind every good writer with a byline is an excellent non-credited editor. The support team of any company, from the executive and administrative assistants to the senior vice presidents, all set up the star: the CEO, the name or the leader. That stellar work makes the final product rock.
As a ball passer and distributor, Lin set up many of his fellow players with their own great opportunities to do good work on the court and score. Lin is the antithesis of the ball hog and his sharing style has been noticed. That’s teamwork and when it works without egos, it is Lin-credible to witness.
With all the media attention Lin is getting, he doesn’t just talk about himself and his achievements. Instead, he talks highly of his teammates. They are his success and he is their success.
In business, it’s not just about announcing and showing off your triumphs, but about pointing out the amazing work of your colleagues. We’re all in it together.
Have you been able to grab life and have a Jeremy Lin moment professionally? If so, what is it? If not, what are you waiting for?
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons