Move without the ball.
They are four words that I haven’t forgotten since they came out of ESPN Sports Business Reporter Darren Rovell’s mouth on opening night. I understood the metaphor.
Being an avid basketball fan, I took the few short words upon myself and for three weeks straight I tried to live those words. Do more to separate from the clutter. Make yourself open so when the ball is passed to you, then you are free for an easy dunk.
This past Wednesday, I was nonstop busy — reviewing contracts, filling out applications and playing phone tag, trying to put together a proposal on an issue that that had us bogged down. After several hours, they were done. And it was lunchtime.
A fellow MSBA’er and I popped out of the office to get some fresh air. We got back sat down and I got on the Internet to see what I had missed all morning. Aaron Hernandez had been arrested and released by the New England Patriots. Someone on Twitter had posted a link to watch the Aaron Hernandez arraignment proceeding, which we decided to upload and follow along. At this time my employer and mentor, Jason Belzer (Founder of GAME Inc., and Forbes Contributing writer) questioned our productivity in watching videos on the Internet, only later to find out the significance of what we were watching.
Under a sense of urgency, Jason instructed me to drop everything I had been working on and focus solely on the arraignment. I was to write an article for Forbes on the legal ramifications of Hernandez being charged with first-degree murder. A morning of nonstop turned into an afternoon of nonstop, which culminated in a published article on Forbes. An opportunity like this doesn’t fall into everyone’s lap. But this opportunity wasn’t granted out of left field. It was built on trust. All of the small and unnoticed tasks over time allowed me to build a relationship with my mentor that revolves around trust, a trust that credits its support from moving without the ball. I took 20 minutes to enjoy this achievement, but had I achieved? I co-authored an article that was being reported by every major news outlet across the world. That’s nice but that’s not the kind of accolade or success that I have my dreams set on. Stay humble and hungry.
After work, the MSBA group met at Platinum Rye to hear from Senior Director of Marketing, Mark Zablow. To be blunt, I didn’t have the slightest clue what Platinum Rye or Mark were about. But to be frank, I walked away from his speech more moved and impressed than I was with any other speaker. Mark had a form of passion and enthusiasm about his job that I hadn’t noticed with other speakers. He discussed a similar path that we have all experienced in MSBA thus far in our lives. Mark had been the full time intern just like any one of us except he had proven his net worth was worth more being paid.
He had broken through with a certain level of that PHD mentality that embodies the best; the desire to learn and build a recognized brand name not because he is the first born son of XYZ but rather with his own two hands. Mark had swagger; he knew what he was doing and was confident that he was good at it but never displayed any arrogance. This brings me to one of the prophecies he lives by — “Eat your own sh*t.” Be proud of what you do and wear it on your shirt. It clung to me. When I originally joined MSBA, I had my doubts. All in all, I was paying money to be provided a free internship. Let me repeat that; I was paying tuition and receiving an unpaid internship. Obviously there were other benefits that came with the program as well, but this stuck out.
However, looking back at the four weeks I have been involved in this program, I can gladly say “I eat my own sh*t.” To start, I may have even paid more money for the jumpstart in my career MSBA has provided. In that time, I have written articles for Forbes, had two unbelievable experiences working for the Nets and Game Inc, and met a great group of peers that I will one day call my colleagues. I eat my own sh*t. If hearing Mark speak wasn’t enjoyable enough, Mark left us with Duracell Powermat’s that would be attached to all NBA draftees phones on Friday night. The hashtag is #takecharge. It sure seems suitable for what I took away from Mark’s speech.