Get your head in the game as we explore the profiles in failure and triumph of LeBron James and Steph Curry, two basketball legends who proved that impossible is just an opinion!
LeBron James and Steph Curry are two of the greatest basketball players of all time. But their success didn’t come easy. In fact, it was their ability to rebound from failures and adversities that made them the MVPs of the game— and in life.
LeBron James faced criticism and scrutiny early in his career, but he never gave up, working tirelessly to improve his game and eventually leading his team to multiple NBA titles.
Steph Curry, on the other hand, battled a series of injuries that threatened to derail his career, but he refused to let them define him. Instead, he used this to become a better player, and earned a reputation as one of the greatest shooters in the history of the game.
In this Profiles in Failure episode of the #STFpod, I take a deep dive into the backstories of these two legends, who are front and center in the sports world now and the challenges they’ve faced getting to and maintaining their elite levels of performance.
Discover how LeBron and Steph turned their setbacks into opportunities for growth and success. Get ready to be inspired by their stories of resilience, determination, and unwavering spirit. Tune in now!
If you don’t have time to listen to the entire episode or if you hear something that you like but don’t have time to write it down, be sure to grab your free copy of the Action Plan from this episode— as well as get access to action plans from EVERY episode— at JimHarshawJr.com/Action.
[00:00] There's a lot of mental toughness that goes into performing at a high level and maintaining that. I mean, LeBron was drafted out of high school. Can you imagine those expectations in making that huge leap? Of course he was elite, which is why he got drafted out of high school, but man, there's no guarantee.
[00:16] There's no guarantee that you're going to find success. Welcome to another episode of success through failure, the show for successful people. And for those who want to become successful, the only show that reveals the true nature of success. This is your host, Jim Harshaw, Jr. And today I'm bringing you a solo episode.
[00:36] In this episode, we're going to learn about two world class performers who are front and center in the sports world right now, and the challenges that they faced in getting there to becoming world class, and then also the challenges of maintaining their elite levels of performance. I'm talking about Steph Curry.
[00:55] And LeBron James. Now the NBA playoffs is going on right now. And as I record this, the Lakers and the golden state warriors are on a collision course. To play in the second round. I don't know if that's going to happen. This is a little bit of a risk kind of saying that because I don't even know if these guys are going to play against each other in the playoffs this second round, but I'm hoping they do, because it would be so great to watch these world class performers compete against each other, but even if they don't.
[01:22] These guys are world class performers. They've been world class performers for a long time. I love bringing sports people onto the podcast and no, I didn't get to interview Steph Curry and LeBron James, but who knows, maybe one of these days, if you guys keep leaving me ratings and reviews, then maybe I will.
[01:38] But keep growing this thing, keep sharing it with your friends, sharing it with your family. Tell them to check out this episode, but you know, sports in general, regardless, it's just such a great stage to watch the mental side of. Life being played out in front of us. Like lucky for you and I, that we don't have to sit in a press conference every week and answer questions about our lives and our performances and how we did at work this week.
[02:02] You know, I think like if I had to do that, I'd be like. Your local newspaper, it's like the daily progress. Like if I had to do a press conference, they'd be like, Hey, Jim, Bob Johnson here for the Charlottesville daily progress. I know on Monday you had a really hard time getting going. You kind of, you know, kind of a slow start to the week.
[02:18] You wasted about an hour on ESPN. com. You know, there was a lot of talk on social media, how you're, you're really not performing your best. You're really not locked in. You know, you know, what was that all about? We've seen that before from you. Do you think that's why you didn't get any new clients this week?
[02:32] Imagine if you had that kind of scrutiny, we don't, but these athletes do. And we get to see the mindset of world class performers. It played out in front of us. Now we don't get to see this from other high performers or world class performers in your industry, or like world class fathers. Right. Or world class wives or world class salespeople.
[02:57] You know, they're not doing a press conference at the end of the week where people were asking them about like, Hey, you did this. He made that decision. It'd be really fun to be honest, if we could. And that's a little bit of the goal of this podcast is to really reveal the true nature of success of these high performers.
[03:12] But we get to see this from athletes. And that's why I wanted to talk about Steph Curry and LeBron James, because these guys have amazing backstories. I'm going to share with you a little bit about their backstory, about how they got to where they're at and really the performance, the challenges, the adversities, the obstacles they've had to overcome.
[03:28] To get to where they're at and and to maintain it. But before we get into the interviews with Steph Curry and LeBron James, again, I'm just joking, didn't get those guys on. But in order to continue to grow the podcast so we can continue to have great guests, it really helps when you guys are sharing this.
[03:43] So thank you for doing that. it also really helps when I get ratings and reviews from you guys. So let me read a rating and review from you. So I noticed I'm at 223 ratings and reviews on Apple Podcasts right now. All of them, except for two are five star. Okay. I have a four star, which is actually really, it's a really positive review.
[04:03] And there's a one star. I'm going to reach you the one star review right now. All right. So my average rating is 4.9. I don't know how that, that averages out of 223, 221 of them are five star. And then one's a four star and then one's a one. So here's the one side, this is from silver dog, silver dog. He must be a WG.
[04:20] He must be a Georgia bulldog fan, but it's titled futility. And it's about my interview with Rudy, Rudy Rueger of the Notre Dame, you know, the Rudy, back in episode 366, where I interviewed Rudy and Silver Dog said, did Rudy work hard pursuing a dream? Sure, but probably not more than most of his teammates.
[04:39] That first sentence I'd actually disagree with maybe a little bit. I mean, he worked really, really hard to get there, but I get what he's saying, you know, and he goes on to talk about the futility, like, you know, is the juice really worth the squeeze and actually has a great point there, you know, is the juice is not worth the squeeze for everyone and you have to figure out sort of when the right time is to quit for you.
[04:59] And really focus your energies on something else, but Rudy kept going and who am I to judge that was, you know, the juice was or was not worth the squeeze, but really, you know, an incredible story, nevertheless, and something that we can all draw inspiration from. But anyway, for that podcast episode.
[05:14] Silver dog gave me a one star review on the entire, entire podcast. So anyway, let's override that with my, my, a great five star from John. John in Virginia said tremendous podcast success or failure is always on my playlist. I sometimes think I wouldn't be able to run my company without the direct and subtle insight and reminders to show provides if you are grinding away.
[05:35] Towards a goal STF is a must listen. Thank me later. Thank you, John in Virginia. And if you want your name and your review read on the podcast, go ahead and give me a rating and review, and I'll thank you in advance for that. All right, let's get into my conversation about Steph Curry, LeBron James. Okay. We look at these guys like they are untouchable, right?
[05:58] They are world class. They're, they're both going down as among the best players. In the history of the game, but we don't see the adversity that they've had to face, right? You know, if you follow basketball, you may know that Steph Curry's faced a bunch of injuries throughout his career. He's had ankle injuries and knee injuries, and he's been, you know, it's kept them out and sidelined for significant chunks of various seasons.
[06:23] And if you have ever been an athlete and had have had an injury, you know how hard that is. It's not just like, Hey, injury, got a little bump, got a little bruise, going to ice it for a week or so. And then I'll be back. No, it's like, these are massive setbacks. And in your mind, you're thinking, am I going to be able to play again?
[06:38] Am I going to be able to play at the same level? Like, what can I do to, you know, cause everybody else is getting ahead. Everybody else is getting better condition. I'm losing my touch. I might be getting rusty. Like all these things can go through your mind. But Steph Curry, every time he's bounced back, he's come back stronger and he's continued to perform at a high level.
[06:54] That's hard to do. I mean, he's had a lot of other adversity too. I mean, coming out of college, he was considered undersized. In college, he played shooting guard, small forward, now he's a point guard. But his defensive ability was questioned. I mean, this guy didn't play at a high level. He played at Davidson college, which is a mid major.
[07:15] And so he's not facing top level competition. He's not playing the Kentucky's in the Virginia's of the world. Virginia's of the world. See what I did there. That's, that's my album. They're not playing the power five schools. So like, there was a lot of questions like, is this guy even going to be able to really play at this level?
[07:30] And. Of course he has. He's been the NBA player of the year, multiple times and LeBron James himself, like same stuff he's faced a lot of scrutiny and criticism, especially early in his career. When he failed to win a championship in his first several seasons, he continued to work hard and eventually he got to the finals and he won multiple championships, but he was criticized.
[07:51] He was criticized for leaving Cleveland early in his career. And then he went to the Miami heat in 2010 and it was. He was considered, it was like a betrayal, right? Cause he's from Cleveland and Cavalier fans all, you know, thought this is, this is his home for his entire career, but he was criticized.
[08:08] And he criticized in public. What about you? Like, can you imagine if you were criticized in public for decisions that you've made? Maybe you left the company, you left a job. What if you were criticized publicly? Like in newspapers and it was splashed all around the country, all around the world. Really imagine that, like, this is the kind of adversity that these guys have to face.
[08:26] Unless you're saying, ah, but money, they're getting all this money. That's great. Money doesn't do anything when your ego's involved, right? The money's great. Yeah, absolutely. And listen, if you're sitting there listening to this, You are considered rich to billions of other people around the world. So imagine you are facing that kind of criticism and you know, the person who doesn't have enough money to have a phone or have a computer or have a way to even listen to, it doesn't even know what a podcast is and doesn't have a home, doesn't have a car.
[08:55] And they're thinking to themselves like, yeah, but, but you, and they're talking about you are making X amount of dollars. It must be easy for you. Who cares if you had to deal with that kind of adversity and you're criticized in public when you're making. You know, fill in the blank, whatever your salary is, right?
[09:09] It's all relative. Quick interruption. If you like what you're hearing here and you want to learn how you can implement this into your life, just go to Jim HarshawJr.com/apply to see how you can get a free one on one coaching session with me. That's Jim Harshaw, jr. com slash apply. Now back to the show.
[09:30] So these guys have faced adversity and the one thing that we have to recognize Their mental toughness. I mean, these guys have had to deal with massive amounts of pressure, massive amounts of expectations. And again, we see this played out in sports in front of us. Wrestling is my world. And I just watched the NCAA division one national championships a few weeks ago.
[09:53] And there was a guy named Spencer Lee, and he's widely considered one of the greatest college wrestlers of all time. And he was going for his fourth national championship this year and he lost. Now there were a lot of factors at play. He was definitely not a hundred percent. Wasn't injured. He was injured, but did pressure play a role in this?
[10:14] I don't know. He takes no credit away from the guy who beat him, who actually pinned him in his final match, but which wasn't even in the national championship finals. But Spencer Lee, you know, he blames himself. He says, this has nothing to do with me. It was all about, you know, my opponent taking it to me and wrestling a great match, but, but Spencer Lee lost.
[10:34] I don't know. Dan Gable is another one. Dan Gable. If you know anything about wrestling, or if you're just a college sports fan, you've probably heard of Dan Gable. He's on the sort of Mount Rushmore of coaches with the Paul Bear Bryant and the John Woodens of the world. But Dan Gable was in college, was 99 and one.
[10:49] He lost his very last match to Larry Owings. And he talks about the pressure and the, and the media that was surrounding him around, around that match. So there's a lot of mental toughness that goes into that. Into performing at a high level and maintaining that. I mean, LeBron was drafted out of high school.
[11:06] Can you imagine those expectations and making that huge leap? Of course he was elite, which is why he got drafted out of high school. But man, there's no guarantee. There's no guarantee that you're going to find success. I mean, I know tons of high school wrestlers who I wrestled with, who were way better than me.
[11:22] They went to college and just never panned out for them. There's no guarantee. You go, Oh, LeBron, he's great. He was supposed to be here. Yeah. He's a lot of people supposed to be great, but greatness doesn't always just happen. These guys have a mental toughness about them. And in both of them, both LeBron and Steph Curry have talked about the importance of mindfulness and meditation in their, a mentally sharp mind so they can be focused and perform at their best.
[11:47] My family, we have the calm app, Calm, calm app. It's a mindfulness and meditation app, and LeBron has some meditations on there. It's really cool. You get to listen it to LeBron's voice, talking about mindfulness, talking about medi, like doing guided meditations. It's amazing. And I think it was right around when this came out that he was partnered with CALM and these meditations that there was an article about him.
[12:10] Almost rebranding mental health as mental fitness, mental fitness, which I really love that it kind of takes away the stigma of mental health, but it's about mental fitness, right? We work out, maybe you run, maybe you go to the gym or whatever it is, or at least you want to, right? Well, there's also a mental fitness and these guys have a mental fitness about them.
[12:27] They have a mental fitness plan. What about you? Do you have a mental fitness plan? Do you just try to grind it out and work hard every day? That's great. But what about mental fitness? There's actually a great video. If you Google this, you'll find it. Actually, we'll put it in the, in the action plan for you, but there's a great video of.
[12:45] LeBron, it's late in the game is like a minute left. I think they're down by three or up as close game. And there's a referee's review, official review. And LeBron is over there sitting on the bench. He closes his eyes and you can see him meditating, like breathing. You can see him breathing and like, he's meditating.
[13:00] He's meditating during a game. Like, how cool is that? Like, this is something that people do. Like. What about you? Can you do that when it's high pressure, high stakes, job interview, presentation you have to give, maybe we're going in to have a tough conversation to, I don't know, make some, you know, fire somebody or something like that, can you do that?
[13:18] Can you grab ahold of yourself? And meditate and be present in the moment. And listen, these guys have failed as well, right? Steph Curry, like I talked about his struggles and his injuries, but LeBron James, I mean, it's well known. He lost in his first NBA finals appearance in 2007 with the Cavaliers 2011 finals.
[13:38] They were heavy favorites when he was playing with the Heat. They were heavy favorites in to win the series and they lost. And LeBron James was criticized again for lackluster performance in some of those games. 2018 again, NBA finals, and they get swept, swept by guess who? Golden state Steph Curry, but this happens to these guys.
[14:00] I mean, failure still happens. What would happen if you were swept, right? How would you feel? If you got whatever that version of being swept is for you in your life, in your career, in your relationship, in your health, how would you feel? What are the words that would be going through your head? Would you be able to rebound from that?
[14:18] These guys are mentally tough. There's a mental fitness about them. Something that they work on because listen, they deal with adversity. They deal with failure. And in the face of those things, they're leaders, Steph Curry's well known for having a positive attitude and he's really supportive. He always encouraging his teammates, lifting them up.
[14:36] And kind of, he's known for that, for his ability to lead on and off the court. LeBron James, he's also a vocal leader. He's been a vocal leader throughout his career leadership in the midst of that. I mean, in the midst of the adversity and the criticism and the struggles and the, and the setbacks and the failures, and these guys are hard workers.
[14:54] We know that that's table stakes. You have to work hard. I've made this distinction before. You've heard me talk about it, but I go deep on this in episode 155. I talk about the difference between hard work and inspired action, hard work and inspired action. And the example in my life, what I always referenced to, to really highlight this for people is back when I was wrestling, I weighed in one day and I was 172 pounds, 172 pounds.
[15:21] The only problem was. My weight class was 150 and it was two and a half days before weigh ins two and a half days before weigh ins, but I did it I made weight And it was miserable. I probably should have been hospitalized. I was in a terrible, terrible place when I made weight. Could I do that today? Nope.
[15:41] Why? Cause there's no purpose behind it. There's no reason for me to do it. So for me to do it today, I don't know that I would be able to physically push myself to that limit. Like I did then, because there was a reason behind it. There was a purpose behind it. There was a bigger purpose than, than just making the weight.
[15:58] That's the difference between hard work and inspired action. And you have to connect a purpose, a vision for your life. Something that's really important to your vision and your values have to be connected to, to be tethered to your goals. Otherwise it's just hard work, but let's just use the term hard work because we know we're all talking about here.
[16:19] LeBron James, Steph Curry. They're known for their incredible work ethic and their dedication, like just dedication to their craft. I mean, Steph Curry's renowned for his pregame warmup routine. I mean, it's like oftentimes hours, hours of practice on shooting skills and ball handling skills. He's talked about it before how he actively seeks out feedback.
[16:37] He actively seeks out criticism in order to get better. Are you doing this? Like, are you seeking feedback? Are you dedicating yourself to your craft? That's inspired action. LeBron James. I mean, he's known for a crazy, just intense workouts, grueling cardio, strength training sessions. Yeah. You can assume the, yeah, he's just gifted.
[16:58] He's just blessed. Sure. So are you, have you put in the work? Are you putting in the work? These guys are, and here's the last thing, a point I want to make is. These guys aren't doing it alone. They have a team of people around them. They have coaches, they have teammates. They're experiencing this together.
[17:15] Just like my clients have coaches. My clients have a group of people, our community. They're experiencing life together. They're going through the highs and the lows. Bouncing ideas off of each other, watching each other, do work, setting standards for each other. Just talk to a guy the other day who he ran a 10 K one day.
[17:33] And then the very next day he did a Spartan race. I mean, this guy, like he's setting the bar high. That's just who he is and how he operates. And there's another guy ran a marathon. I'm running a half marathon, trail race, Spartan race. I mean, this just, these are the people that were around people that are performing at a high level.
[17:48] That's just in the, again, athletically we're talking about fitness, but they're raising the bar in terms of being parents and being leaders and in our careers and looking for the next level and driving everybody's, you know, raising the bar and encouraging each other and driving each other and setting high standards in, in terms of their career and their finances and how they operate in the world.
[18:08] Do you have that? Do you have these things around you? Because that is what is required to get to your next level. So I wanted to pull back the curtain on Steph Curry and LeBron James, pull back the curtain on their lives and help you understand the same challenges that you're facing. They're facing them too.
[18:27] They're played out in front of us and yeah, you might be saying, yeah, they're, but they're making the millions of dollars. It's all relative. You have your own blessings. You have amazing things in your life and you have adversity. You have setbacks, you have challenges and you're going to have them again tomorrow and next week, next month, next year.
[18:47] But you have to push yourself. You have to operate at the highest level. You can, you have to have the mental fitness. You have to have the teammates around you. You have to say the right things and do the right things and take the right actions and have a purpose behind what you're doing. So that's inspired action and not just hard work.
[19:03] So hope you have some takeaways from this. For me, it's an understanding that world class performers face adversity and failure. It's a, it's an understanding that they put in the work, not just physically, but also mentally. And that they're great teammates and great leaders throughout all of this. I hope you enjoyed this.
[19:20] This is a profile in failure, and I'm going to be doing more of these about. Sports figures, historical figures, and otherwise, if you have specific people you want to hear about, let me know, but these are going to become part of the success through failure rotation. Thank you for listening and make sure you give this a share, give it a like, give it a rating, get a bit of review, give it a retweet.
[19:40] If you see it on Twitter, thank you for your support.
[19:46] Thanks for listening. If you want to apply these principles into your life. Let's talk. You can see the limited spaces that are open on my calendar at jimharshawjr.com/apply, where you can sign up for a free one time coaching call directly. And don't forget to grab your action plan. Just go to JimHarshawJr.com/action. And lastly, iTunes tends to suggest podcasts with more ratings and reviews more often. You would totally make my day. If you give me a rating in review, those go a long way in helping me grow the podcast audience. Just open up your podcast app. If you have an iPhone, do a search for success through failure.
[20:25] Select it and then scroll the whole way to the bottom where you can leave the podcast, a rating and a review. Now, I hope this isn't just another podcast episode for you. I hope you take action on what you learned here today. Good luck and thanks for listening.
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