58. Kobe Bryant’s Mindset: How to Conquer Your Fears and Self Doubt

conquer your fears, overcome your fears, live fearless, overcome self doubt, conquer self doubt, mindset podcast

Like most of you when I first heard that Kobe Bryant had passed, I didn’t believe it. The internet has killed Dwayne Johnson a half dozen times, so I thought this was no different. When I realized it really happened, it floored me. Not in the sense that I am a fan of his work on the court (which I am), but more because of his future impact off of the court. Kobe will undoubtedly be discussed among the basketball greats, but his mindset has always been his greatest strength to me. Kobe conquered his fear and self doubt in the court of life and as a result, his world knew few limits. If you want to impact the world the way Kobe did, you must conquer your fears and self doubt too.

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Conquer your fears and be free

Kobe didn’t care what other people said about him and as a result, he lived a life with few regrets. Kobe was willing to do what it took to win. There is a quote where Kobe says,

“I’ll do whatever it takes to win games, whether it’s sitting on a bench waving a towel, handing a cup of water to a teammate, or hitting the game-winning shot.”

This quote is powerful because when you judge his actions with Shaq and Dwight Howard, it was clear that Kobe did not believe he could keep continue winning with them. Both of them were amazing in their own right, but they did not have the discipline and daily commitment to greatness that Kobe possessed.

Expect more of yourself

Kobe often spoke about how he could have done more and performed better. It is similar to what you hear other greats like Tom Brady, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Nick Saban say. There is an expectation to achieve perfection among the greatest. Not in the paralyzing way perfection can halt most of our efforts, but in the sense that there is always a lesson to learn; there is always a way to improve.

We have all said “I should have done more” at some point in our life, but when Kobe said it, no one believed him. What more could someone who shoots one-thousand shots a day and gives all he had every day of work do? At the same time, you knew that Kobe was not just giving lip service. You knew when he said he could have done better, that he genuinely believed it.

Fear will always be there

“I have self-doubt. I have insecurity. I have fear of failure. I have nights when I show up at the arena and I’m like, ‘My back hurts, my feet hurt, my knees hurt. I don’t have it. I just want to chill.’ We all have self-doubt. You don’t deny it, but you also don’t capitulate to it. You embrace it.”

Kobe Bryant

Fear is the #1 killer of people’s dreams. Fear causes you to procrastinate and stifles your innovation and creativity. As Kobe alluded, it is not a question of whether your fear and self doubt exist; it is a question of what are you going to do about it. Kobe Bryant lived a life where he embraced his fears. He did not allow his fears to keep him from continuing to chase happiness. For you to conquer your fears you are going to need to embrace your shortcomings as well.

How do you embrace your fears?

If you don’t think you are prepared or you don’t feel like you are having your best day, embrace that. Kobe would embrace his self-doubts and make adjustments to overcome his fears. If he was concerned he didn’t have his “A game” and none of his shots were going in, he would just keep shooting. He trusted in his ability to figure out a way to help his team win. Whether that ultimately meant he took a bunch of free throw or creating opportunities for other teammates to succeed.

Conquer your fears and self doubts by embracing them; not seeing them as a sign you should quit. Many people look at their inadequacies as reasons to never try. That is the worst decision you can make in any situation. When you give into your fears, they get bigger and become even tougher the next time. You need to be willing to try so you can discover the path to success. When you put your best effort in, whatever happens after that, is whatever happens after that. You don’t need reassurances from the world.

Stand by your convictions

You see that in politics where they poll-test every statement to see if it will be well received. Now this doesn’t mean they will actually abide by their campaign promises. It usually means they will just say whatever you need to hear to be elected. It is a sign they lack confidence in whether you will accept them for who they truly are.

As awful as the deceptive nature of politics can be, most people are doing the same thing. They are polling and gauging whether the audience will respond positively to their statement. And if you don’t believe people will respond positively, you will change depending on the audience you are around. By giving into your fears you are creating a prison for yourself where you are surrounded by people who wouldn’t accept you if you ever expressed your true intentions. Conquer your fears by taking action and accepting that everyone is not going to like what you say.

Conquer your fears of the unknown

I have a client who had a very difficult decision. He had the choice between a flexible schedule job or a rigid schedule job. The rigid scheduled position was willing to pay him significantly more than he was making at the time. He ended up declining the new opportunity and choosing to keep the job that paid less money, but had more flexibility. When the new company discovered the reason he declined, the CEO took my client out to lunch. At lunch he told him he would work with his schedule because he wanted him to succeed. The CEO accepted my client for who he was and it is a good feeling all-around.

Conversely, if my client never told them his true intentions and accepted the position, he would have been miserable. How do you think he would have felt six months from now when his business was suffering? And how do you think the new job would feel when he asked to change the schedule? Sometimes you are going to find yourself in a position where you feel your company doesn’t get you. The question becomes, have you shared with them who you truly are?  Does your leadership actually know your wants, ambitions, goals, and passions?

What you allow is how you are treated

Kobe made his expectations with leadership crystal clear when he was exploring options beyond the Lakers. You remember when he demanded a trade from the Lakers organization? His focus was on winning championships and he felt the organization was not on the same page. Kobe felt the organization was focused on making money and they weren’t trying to get the best talent. When the Lakers organization realized that Kobe was serious, they had the choice of accepting him or allowing him to leave. They ultimately decided to accept him and they made the necessary changes.

That is the beauty of Kobe and his mentality. He knew with his work ethic, if he accepted laziness, he would be miserable. In many ways, you can see that playing out with Shaq. Even though they won three championships together, it was clear they were not getting along. Winning doesn’t cure all things, all the time. Sometimes there are true philosophical differences that cannot be overcome. For someone of Kobe’s mindset, he needs to be surrounded by people whom he feels will not cheat the game.

With that said, I am sure Shaq does not believe he cheated the game. This is an important distinction to make. Just because two people interpret a situation differently doesn’t mean someone is inherently wrong. There will be times when two people simply have different interpretations of the same event. Point of view is a real thing my friends. That is why you should not be overly concerned with proving yourself or beating someone else’s beliefs into submission. Your time would be better spent focusing on your path to change your life.

Final thoughts

Sometimes you must be willing to lose what you have to get what you want. Kobe did not allow his own fears and self doubt to keep him from chasing happiness and catching greatness. Kobe was willing to leave the only organization he knew because he did not feel they shared the same focus. There are plenty of examples where the organization did not change and went in a different direction (Peyton Manning, Emmett Smith, Brett Favre to name a few). You are better off finding a place that accepts your vision and wants to help you achieve it.

Until next time,

Dre ” Better Self, Better Wealth” Griggs

Other articles you may enjoy:

  1. Chasing Happiness by Rising to the Challenge
  2. Why Negative Self-Talk Leads To Procrastination (And How To End It With 3 Simple Steps)
  3. How Chasing Happiness Will Help You Catch Greatness
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