The world lost a legend a few weeks ago, and as we mourn the loss of an athlete, husband, son, father, business mogul, and friend, we remember all of the things we loved about Kobe Bryant. We think about the way he changed basketball and the world around him. Impact players like Kobe Bryant aren’t born; they are made. And these are the two things I feel define every impact player I’ve ever met:
They Play Big
Impact players have haters. Their passion, their drive, their tenacity, their dedication, and their focus easily make insecure people feel small. Impact players have to make a conscious decision to play big, to make the power moves, to keep pushing forward, and fight through the noise. These people stand out above the rest because they have a certain mental toughness that doesn’t allow them to get distracted by the noise. There were plenty of people who didn’t like Kobe. But Kobe did Kobe anyway.
That’s something we all have to do. Don’t let the words of others make you feel like you have to minimize your potential or take up less space. You’re not going to change your marriage, your business, your family, or the community by playing small. You know you’re purpose. You know where you’re going. Play big.
I’ve had dinner with billionaires, and it’s a humbling and eye-opening experience. I always learn so much when I hang out with people who have earned extraordinary wealth. They all have their own stories, but I’ve found one thing all of these successful people have in common: they are givers. They send kids to college. They donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to charities. They show up at charity golf tournaments. They sponsor kids to play sports. They build schools. They are impact players because they show up to give.
Kobe was hyper-focused on tackling hard issues like youth homelessness and was frequently part of The Make A Wish Foundation. He raised money to support countries devastated by war and natural disasters. He gave, and his generosity impacted millions.
If you are going to be an impact player, you have to give. If you can’t give money, you can give time.
This week, we honor an impact player gone too soon and pray for Vanessa Bryant, their daughters, the Altobelli family, the Chester family, Christina Mauser’s husbands and kids, and the family of pilot Ara Zobayan.
Be an impact player. Tomorrow is not promised.