“Records were meant to be broken,” said LeBron James. ABC Sports reporter Doris Burke was interviewing him on Thursday, June 16, right after James’s Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the National Basketball Association Finals.
They still had Game 7 to play, in the best of 7 series.
The Cavaliers were big underdogs. The Warriors had already had an incredible year, setting the record for the most wins during the regular season. They were seeking to repeat as NBA champions. And they had won Games 1 and 2 against Cleveland handily, before the two teams split Games 3 and 4. No NBA team had ever come back from a 3 to 1 deficit to win the Finals. (In full disclosure, I’m a Warriors fan. And the Warriors are considered the NBA team of Silicon Valley, for obvious geographical reasons.)
But LeBron played amazingly as Cleveland won Game 5. And then they won Game 6. And then Doris Burke asked James how Cleveland could possibly come back to win Game 7. After all, more than 30 previous NBA teams had tried to rally from a 3 to 1 deficit in the Finals — and failed.
But on Sunday night, June 19, LeBron had another stellar performance as the Cavaliers defeated the Warriors in Oakland, 93 to 89. And in doing so, James showed that coming back from such a deficit was just another record, meant to be broken.
What does this have to do with business? Well, actually…a lot. We can all learn from James’s confidence, from his belief that he can accomplish amazing things — regardless of whether anybody else has done it before.
I’ve worked in Silicon Valley for almost two decades. These days, I conduct workshops, deliver keynotes, and consult with companies to develop happy, high-performance teams. I teach people how to train their brains to have a positive attitude. How to be optimistic. How to be more satisfied and calm, based on scientifically proven methods.(Learn more here.)
And one thing I love about working in Silicon Valley is the spirit of innovation. The belief that there are few rules. Or that we’re all figuring out new industries, new revenue models, new ways of doing business, that have never been done before.
True, you can be worried all the time about “how things are done here”. And you can become paralyzed by all sorts of self-limiting beliefs.
- You have to be a technologist or engineer to start a company
- You have to have a degree from an elite school to get hired at a great company
- You have to have a college degree if you want anybody to hire you at all
- You need to be really well networked and know the right people
- You have to have an MBA or be a successful entrepreneur if you want to work as a venture capitalist
- You have to be the “first mover” in an new industry
- You have to show customer traction before anybody will fund you
- You have to physically be in the San Francisco Bay Area if you want to create a successful Internet company
- You have to be a straight, white male if you want to have an awesome career in Silicon Valley.
There are people — sometimes lots of people — who believe any one of these statements is true. But regardless of whether they’re never true, sometimes true, or ALWAYS TRUE UP UNTIL NOW, it helps you most if you ignore whatever the “rules” are supposed to be.
Ignore what the past might have been for others.
And have unshakeable faith that you can be different. You can break through. You can be the exceptional person who accomplishes what no one else has.
Because, as LeBron says, “Records were meant to be broken.”
From me — a Warriors fan — congratulations to LeBron James and the entire Cleveland Cavaliers for your spectacular 2016 NBA championship! Deep respect.