From the outside looking in, it would seem Jason Kidd is an overnight success, nabbing a head coaching job with zero experience just days after retiring as a player. He beat out people like Brian Shaw who have been preparing for a role like this for years. So how did he become an overnight success?
The reality is, there is no such thing as an overnight success. Whenever you see someone make it big, there’s a tremendous amount of work that went on behind the scenes. When I took EntreLeadership with Dave Ramsey, he noted how when his book became a New York Times best-seller, everyone called him an overnight success. What people didn’t see was the work put in beforehand. Teaching seminars to less than 10 people. Working full time, raising a family with young kids, and writing a book in his “spare” time. That spare time? It was entirely between 10pm and 2am.
Now with Jason Kidd, it’s easy to point to the obvious. He was an extension of the coach on the floor, and was more or less a player/assistant coach his last year or so in the league. He’s considered one of the best basketball minds of our time. But still, that doesn’t create that much separation from other candidates – especially ones who have been serving as apprentices for this position for years under big names.
This passage from ESPN about him taking the coaching job caught my eye:
Kidd said he began keeping a diary in 2010 about how coaches handled different situations and noted how he’d do things differently.
That’s called doing work. This is something my dad taught me. All things being equal, there is one variable you can control – you can outwork everyone else.
That’s at least 3 years of preparation behind the scenes that no one knew about. It’s having a goal, and figuring out how to work toward it, and how to set yourself apart from everyone else.
It’s funny – one Imam told me that he regularly gets requests from people to “teach me how to do what you do.” Meaning, teach me how to travel around the country and speak at conferences and teach classes as a living. Just the mere fact that a person thinks there is some kind of shortcut, or trick that you can replicate to achieve this shows they don’t get it.
The better question to ask is how they got started and what seeds they planted 5 years ago or 10 years ago, that set them up to eventually become successful.