I usually don’t watch NBA basketball because while the players persevere, for the most part they show little passion or even a sense of fun. But I will watch Steve Nash, the point guard from Canada who has played on several NBA teams and is the winner of the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award.
When Nash plays, he shows both perseverance and passion, and he is fun to watch.
He has been on many talk shows, such as the David Letterman Show. Not only is Nash bright and personable, but on the Charlie Rose Show, Nash also revealed his leadership ability.
The focus of the Charlie Rose show was leadership. As a point guard, Nash says he “mothers” the other four players on the team, thinking about what they need and helping them find ways to succeed.
But I found myself wondering even if a man earns the huge amount of money that basketball players receive, what does he do to keep himself motivated and at his best? How does a 6’1” man, a self-described small guy, play in the midst of those sharp elbows and huge shoulders? And how does he stay committed during the long season, the training, the traveling, the endless tournament at the end of the season?
Nash knows what he has to do. This is what he says:
1) Since he’s a small guy in tough territory, he is creative. He has to come up with new plays.
2) He is mentally tough. When he’s jostled or intimidated, he remains “unflappable” because he has decided that “nothing will bother” him.
3) He has no fear. Without fear, he can charge into the midst of play.
4) He doesn’t give up because he’s committed “to stay the course.”
5) And he does it because it’s fun.
He smiles when he says that, and you believe him.
What does Steve Nash’s strategy to be “unflappable” in the face of intimidation, as well to show leadership for his team, say to you, the dissertation writer? Here is what I think is the take-away for the dissertation writer:
1) Even when you feel you’re out-manned or losing ground, dig deep to find the courage to be fearless. You will not be intimidated.
2) Like Steve Nash in basketball, you did not get to this level of writing by being a non-starter. You were training for this long ago. You have everything you need to succeed.
3) Character matters. To be long-lasting, you need grit. Work with both passion and perseverance.
4) Keep your commitment to your team—even if it’s just a team of one. Or add a coach to your team and have someone along side of you who takes your commitment seriously.
5) And one more thing, Steve Nash plays hard and plays to win because it’s fun. You can make your work fun, too—writing is a challenge and challenges are exhilarating. Choose that perspective.
You ask about motivation? Having motivation is a choice. You must choose to use your courage, grit, and mental toughness to tap into your motivation.
Take risks and charge through tough places. And then you, too, will feel the wind in your hair as you run fast in your arena.
Until next time,
Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation and Academic Career Coach
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