Unmotivated? Get Some Layups...

Unmotivated? Get Some Layups...

The other day I was playing a pick-up game at the rec center. I hadn’t played since last fall so I was a little rusty. After a few warm-up shots, we began our one-on-one game.

I hate to say it but I was getting my ass kicked - I couldn’t hit anything from the outside. My opponent was smaller than me, so I refrained from backing him under the basket. When the score hit 8-2, I became desperate. I started to use my weight and height to push my way into a few easy baskets.

Soon the score was 10-10 and it was make-it-take-it for the rest of the game. I faked a drive and then stepped back to hit a short jumper from inside the key. What happened next made me feel like a one man highlight reel… on steroids. I made my next 5 out of 6 jumpers. Didn’t matter where I was: from the baseline, from the free-throw line, wherever. To top it off, I swished a three right in shorty’s face for the game winning shot. I won the game 25 to 10. The twelve-year-old never stood a chance :). And it wasn’t because he was battling a 6’3”, 215 lb basketball behemoth. It was because of momentum.

Now I’m not here to brag about my game (that’s what facebook is for). I couldn’t drive on the left side if I were in the London. I’m here to relate how this strategy carries over to business and life.

Getting a few easy baskets might seem cheap but it gives you more momentum. After I made a few layups, I had the confidence to start shooting from the outside. My self-efficacy was raised and my shot confidence went up with every compounding basket. I became more involved on defense and felt like I was in the zone.

I have two businesses, and lately I’ve felt like I’ve been in the zone with one, and benching myself on the other. Of the two businesses, the first is one that relates directly to this blog (Reflect7) with two partners. The second is an international clothing business that I run alone during the day. Recently, my dedication to Reflect7 has been waning to the point of loose involvement. On the other hand, my dedication to the daytime business has dramatically increased. Some of this is situational, but a lot of it has to do with reward conditioning.

With Reflect7, I haven’t been getting any “easy baskets.” Actually, I haven’t been even close to taking a shot. I’ve had no recent “wins” and have started to backwards rationalize that if I just become less involved, then missed shots won’t matter. I’m literally benching myself. After all, I play for another team where I’m the superstar. Fortunately, I’ve discovered that this is a self-defeating cycle. Every time I lose motivation doesn’t give me an excuse to fall back to my other business. It’s a crutch. I’ll never grow that way - I’ll just stay in my comfort zone. That’s why I’m off the bench right now getting a layup: this blog post.

With my clothing business, I’ll set myself up for layups daily. I’ll put the some of the most basic tasks on my to-do list because it racks up wins, and momentum. When the day is half over and I’ve crossed out 12 of 18 items, I’m feeling pretty confident about the last four. And that’s my advice to you and myself. Start out with something small to get yourself off the bench. 2 points is 2 points. From now on, I’ll get my Reflect7 points wherever I can: from blog posts to answering emails. Anything to keep momentum and stay involved.

So during times of waning motivation, start gaining momentum with layups. You’ll have more confidence when you do, and when the time comes, making that triple-team fader will seem easy.

If you liked this article, you may enjoy:

  1. Sometimes Completing a Project is Better Than Anything Else
  2. Large Iterations Slow Momentum
  3. Commitment vs. Involvement


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