6 Lessons Magic Johnson taught me about Success and Entrepreneurship
Who is Magic Johnson?
If you don’t know the answer to this it is safe to say that you might as well have been living under a rock. I say that because in terms of success, Magic is one of the world’s best known business men. Currently he is President of basketball operations of the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). During his career he was Drafted number one pick by the Los Angeles Lakers. He played 13 NBA seasons as a professional winning multiple championships and most valuable player awards to boot.
I am a huge basketball fan. Growing up I was a Michael Jordan fan, but second was Earvin “Magic” Johnson. If I had to pick any top 5 players Magic was always one of my pics. Off the court however I would say that Magic would be my favorite. I have always respected his business acumen. I always felt that he was truly invested in the well being of others. Magic is an icon in many ways.
There is so much to say about Magic so I will leave that for his books and other biographies to describe him with better justice. For me, I have learned a lot about success and entrepreneurship from him that have helped me in many ways.
Here are the lessons I have learned from Magic so hopefully they are as helpful to you as they are for me.
Conquer your Fears
“Get past fears and insecurities by understanding that the feeling is usually worse than the reality” — Magic Johnson
Fear is that thing that keeps us at bay and keeps us trapped inside our comfort zone. Everyone is afraid of something, We can’t hide it. The only thing we can do is acknowledge it and go through it if we are brave enough to.
The scary thing is that once you go through the fear you realize that it may not have been as bad as you one thought it was.
Magic learned to face his fears and move past them on the basketball court and in business as well. On the court the fears of battling the likes of Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Isiah Thomas, etc. Vanquishing his foes to get better was part of the growth process.
To date magic has said his biggest challenge was starting his own businesses. Sometimes we dream of starting our own business and never get it going because we are simply terrified.
Fears are usually based out of feeling instead of reality.
After you face your fears the best thing to do is celebrate your success.
I remember being afraid to take my Regents exams (tests to get out of High school in New York City), My reward for taking those exams and passing was to buy myself a pair of basketball sneakers. So I got the Jordan's. (Magic didn’t really make basketball shoes at the time).
In midst of your fears handling your business step by step will do the trick for you. Breaking things down in small steps and handling them one by one with move you far.
Focus on your strengths
“Rarely can you turn a weakness into a strength. Greatness is achieved by building on strengths and managing your weaknesses so they do not matter” — Magic Johnson
When you build your strengths your will overcome your weaknesses. I use to think that if I worked on my weaknesses I would be well rounded. Unfortunately what happens is that you become jack of all trades and master to none. Focusing on my strengths is one thing that helps me achieve more. Stuff that I do not know can be easily outsourced.
“Always be prepared to jump on business opportunities”
— Magic Johnson
“Most entrepreneurs have a sixth sense for spotting business opportunities where others only see problems or nothing at all” — Magic Johnson
Magic became the first player to become a licensee of the NBA (National basketball Association). Seeing an opportunity he worked a deal with the NBA to exclusively sell his merchandise. He manufactured and sold Playoff and Championship shirts with his image on them that were huge sellers.
Conveniently in that 1987–88 season he was also the Most valuable Player of the league and NBA Finals MVP. Magic wore his own t-shirt during the victory parade through downtown Los Angeles and afterwards the sales skyrocketed.
Not one to be afraid of new ventures Magic would branch out to owning radio stations, movie theaters, various different franchises. He always found a need and filled it vigorously.
Having mentors and role models
“The best way to get through a minefield is having someone take you through it that has been through it before” — Anonymous
Tips for having mentors
1- Ask for advice
2- Listen to advice given
Mentors take you to places you wouldn’t see on your own and can introduce you to other opportunities you couldn’t see at your level of thinking. There is the old saying that “you can’t see the picture from within the frame”.
The mentors can guide you on you path. Role models give you that compass to steer towards.
Keep in mind that having passion is a requirement when you meet with a role model, after all the last thing you want to do is waste anyone's valuable time.
Giving back to your community.
“My goal is to rebuild urban America one street corner at a time”
— Magic Johnson
This has been a consistent goal of Magic Johnson throughout his business career. Having strategic partnerships and starting businesses in 24 Hour Fitness centers, Starbucks, Magic Johnson Theaters, Burger King restaurants also providing health, education, technological and career programs through his nonprofit Magic Johnson Foundation. Giving back is a sure way for Magic or you and I to leave a legacy and leave the world better than when you left it.
Having an exit strategy
“Plan your exit from the that day you enter” — Magic Johnson
Whatever your endeavor know the endgame.
Writing about Magic Johnson was an incredible experience. I think there is a lot more to write and tell about him as his work is not yet done in this world. Hope you enjoyed.
Magic Johnson is an inspiration and fascinating figure please read other material on him.
Here are some other sources:
What are your thoughts on Earving Magic Johnson?
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Also please continue to be great