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5 enterprise classes from the King himself, LeBron James

You can learn a lot from the NBA superstar about what it takes to be successful in business.

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September
18, 2020

5 min read

The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur's contributors are their own.

I am a huge Lebron James fan. Ever since I saw his first game in the league in 2003, where he got 25 points, six rebounds, nine assists and four steals in a loss to the Sacramento Kings, I could tell he was special.

At the time, Kobe Bryant was the "air" for the person who many believe is the NBA's greatest player – Michael Jordan. With his incredible scoring chance and skill in the game, you could see how much he mimicked Jordan.

It wasn't until James teamed up with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami that he solidified his size and won two of four NBA finals in a row.

He returned to his beloved Cleveland and eventually brought the city what they had longed for – a championship. James and Kyrie Irving celebrated the most incredible comeback in NBA history in the 2016 NBA final against Stephen Curry and the juggernaut 73-9 Golden State Warriors. The Cavs returned from three to one for the first time in NBA history ever made. Last year James brought his talent to Los Angeles.

Entrepreneurs can learn a lot from James about what it takes to be successful in business. Here are five entrepreneurial lessons from "The King" himself.

1. Teams win games

There's no denying that Lebron James has talent. But like Michael Jordan, he only began to dominate when he was able to surround himself with a strong supporting cast. Entrepreneurs need to learn to assemble their team of web designers, salespeople, marketers, accountants, lawyers, and managers as their business grows. For entrepreneurs who are just starting out and looking for ways to increase their productivity on a tight budget, virtual assistants can be a great investment.

Related: 7 Lessons Business Owners Can Learn From Elite Athletes

2. Push yourself to get better

Jordan, Kobe and Lebron were all known for their edge shaking dunks and incredible moves. Neither of them were three-point shooters or defensive specialists when they first entered the league, but all three worked to improve every aspect of their game to help their teams win. Entrepreneurs always need to be one step ahead of their competition. Every successful entrepreneur I've spoken to says that reading is their "secret weapon". As Harry Truman said, "Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers."

Related: Magic Johnson Shares 5 Lessons About Manufacturing Success

3. Rest is good for a body

Playing at the highest level is never easy, whether on the hard court or in the boardroom. We need to be rested to operate at such levels, which is why James sometimes gets 10 hours of sleep and on those days when he's not getting enough rest he will try to take an hour or two of naps. I often hear from entrepreneurs who work 14 or even 16 hour days. It's just not sustainable. Science has shown that the human body needs about seven or eight hours of sleep on average. Remember, business is a long term game. Yes, there will be times when we need to burn off the midnight oil, but health is a critical component of success in any area.

4. Recover from losses

There are very few guarantees to the entrepreneur other than a bumpy ride. James lost his first two trips to the NBA finals and despite playing eight straight NBA finals, he has only won three times. Early on in my life, my mentor taught me something I will never forget. He said, "If you win, people forget the losses." Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods, Thomas Edison and Elon Musk all have had their fair share of failures, but they are revered for their incredible accomplishments. Entrepreneurs must never forget that the price for success often comes in the form of failure. After the Blazers first win, some criticized Lebron and the Lakers, but that just has to do with the territory. In Game 3, James responded to his critics with 38 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. Like James, entrepreneurs must learn to recover from losses.

Related: 5 Steps to Rebound After Failure

5. Don't overlook the mental hardship

My 12 year old son has a black belt in karate, a brown belt in aikido and is a junior Olympic swimmer. My son's karate teacher always said "Hon Ban Ni Tsuyoi", which roughly translated means "big game player". Mental toughness is something that every great athlete and entrepreneur needs to develop. Every time James steps on the pitch, he thinks he's going to win. And every entrepreneur needs this persistent mindset if he is to grow his business.

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