Morning Motivation: The Pro Athlete's Way

Mr. Mullet

Morning Motivation: A Pro Athlete on Staying Motivated by Tegan Mierle on Unsplash

Morning Motivation: The Pro Athlete's Way Part #1

Expectancy Theory of Motivation says that there is a positive correlation between perceived or real efforts and outcomes; that favorable performance will yield a favorable reward and that reward will satisfy an important need.*

Let me start by saying this: I’m not the smartest, the most athletic, or the most intelligent person. I got a 21 on my ACT in high school. I finally dunked a basketball my senior year in high school and I skipped math entirely in college by finding the major that didn’t make you take it. I walked on to D1 school in the August of 1998, played against their best guards in front of the coaches in one on one, beat them, and earned a scholarship seven days later.

It really seemed to be a fluke, from the outsider’s perspective.

But part of me expected to win even though I was from a village that had never produced one D1 college basketball player.

“…the Expectancy Theory of Motivation is best described as a process theory and explains why individuals choose one behavioral option over others. The idea with this theory is that people are motivated to do something because they think their actions will lead to their desired outcome.” (Redmond, 2009)

Manifesting your future is the ultimate motivation to behave in a certain way in the present.

I was the only incoming freshman on the team and my mom dropped me off teary-eyed to find my Allen Hall dorm room a day before school officially started. Four years later, I finished with a 2.9 GPA and steered clear of calculus or algebra 19 or whatever the hell they make you take.

Now I tell you this because I want to paint the picture of a young man that was scared yet fearless, nervous yet courageous, curiously clueless, and mostly, anxiously ambitious. I had just turned 19 when I left to start my dream of becoming a professional basketball player — and that is where this story of dominating your field starts and ends.

The dream of playing pro basketball was my one big thing.

In fact, it was all that mattered to me.

My dream.

My goal.

My vision.

I would never allow external circumstances to dictate what I believed I could do about that dream.

And later, I was rewarded for my belief.

I found my rightful place in the world of college basketball, became the all-time leading scorer at my university, became a mid-major All-American, and went onto a 13-year MVP-winning career in Europe, the NBA, and then came home to start my career in startups, real estate, and adventure travel.

If you don’t read any further, know this one piece of advice:

Every day, you must dominate the amount of effort you put into your skill development to become a winner or person of utmost value.

As Stephen Pressfield said, "Be so good they can't ignore you." by Olena Sergienko on Unsplash

Morning Motivation: The Pro Athlete's Way Part #2

What it takes YOU to achieve success or be motivated is different than everyone else, but the

As Trevor Moawad says, “It takes what it takes,” and I knew I was in for a long journey after I arrived at the highest level of amateur basketball on Earth because I was the worst player on my college basketball team after the season started.

Sometimes the road can seem so long, so far away.

Yet, here are patterns, formulas, and best practices of success we must try to find in the fields and paths we aim to achieve and walk towards. It could be podcasting. Startups. Real estate. Basketball. Music. Science. Tech. Corporate.

Whatever field, industry, art, or sport we want to dominate, we all have a baseline genetic talent and ability to create skills in the field we choose and then go from there.

You dominate your field by understanding there is nothing that can stop you if you apply this formula:

talent x effort = skill
skill x effort = achievement or success

My curiosity was higher than my talent for basketball and my first step of towards achieving my high school, college, and professional gaols always centered on maximizing my talents through highly intense bouts of practice (on my own or with others).

The expectancy theory connected this feeling of wanting to achieve something external with my insatiable need to compete and train daily.

These external goals felt like hunger pangs inside me when I didn’t practice:

1) First Team All-State
2) All-Confernence
3) Average 20 points a game.
4) Win a conference championship

Morning Motivation: The Pro Athlete's Way Part #3

Each year, in the offseason, I would write these goals down and every day I would decide what kind of effort it would take to reach them.

It takes what it takes, and I manifested my future by making my day and building in the best basketball practices possible by finding the best trainers and players possible to push me to my highest self... daily.

If you can't find a way to win your present moment, day after day, you won't achieve what you should have.

My basketball career is over, but my business and startup career is just beginning.

And just as I realized I didn't really need to be the most athletic to succeed in basketball, I'm realizing the same in startups.

I just need to dominate my day.

Dominate my day with effort.

Dominate my day with effort.

Dominate my day with effort.

Enter my fitness startup.

I hate the stair stepper. The treadmill can actually f*ck off. The big-box gyms just suck the life out of me. No community. No connection. No teamwork. And then I tried CrossFit and realized that I’d never walk again after they made power clean my body weight because I actually could.

How do I help my startup achieve great heights?

How do I succeed in becoming the fastest-growing fitness startup in the country?

Well, for starters, I let go of the idea that I have to be the smartest, most intelligent, or most talented businessman when it comes to startup success or achievement.

Do I have talent in business?

Yes, maybe just enough to accelerate my skills and catch up.

The better question is:

Do I have an effort that builds skills daily?

Do I dominate my day with that effort?

This is the only place I’m focusing my intention, energy, and effort as a startup leader. by Konstantin Schepkin on Unsplash

Morning Motivation: The Pro Athlete's Way Part #4

As a young man, I knew I had some talent and unique love for the game of basketball.

I can also say that I was willing to do things that most kids weren’t. I would shovel the snow from my driveway in Michigan and play after school. I would dribble at lunchtime in the gym hallways where no one could see me. I would shoot at night with my dad’s car lights on the hoop after my homework was done.

I always felt this hunger inside me — this insatiable hunger to prove something.

As I’ve gotten older, that hunger to be put effort into basketball waned. At 35, I retired and went sailing through the Caribbean after an existential meltdown.

Who would I put effort into next?

What would I be?

What do I want to be?

What am I curious about?

I found Angela Duckworth’s GRIT formula for success resonates with me. She says “talent” does, in fact, influence how much we can achieve in life but, “effort” counts twice as much.

Effort is what I’d define as hunger.

The expectancy theory was at work inside me up until I was 35.

Now, what are you hungry for, Trevor?

What should you be dominating in your life?

Doing with your life?

Just apply the formula.

talent x effort = skill
skill x effort = achievement

You will achieve faster what you naturally put effort and your greatest strengths into. This mindset and expectancy of results have to be part of you if want to succeed. That belief your work (effort) and talent (ability to create better skills faster) will combine to give you results over time.

These are the rules of success.

You expect it to happen after a while-- always find a solution, always work towards the goal, quit the right things, and say "no" more than you say "yes."

Brian Johnson wrote, “Talent is how quickly your skills improve when you invest effort. Achievement is what happens when you take your acquired skills and use them. Of course, your opportunities — for example, having a great teacher — matter tremendously, too, and maybe more than anything about the individual…

Still, I think it’s useful. What this theory says is that when you consider individuals in identical circumstances, what each achieves depends on just two things, talent, and effort. Talent — how fast we can improve a skill — absolutely matters. But effort factors into the calculations twice, not once. Effort builds skill. At the very same time, effort makes skill productive.”


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Mr. Mullet tells us European how pro sports, love to life lessons, wild travel experiences, and awakening the dreams of those stuck in the American Matrix are connected. Most importantly, Mr. Mullet lives his life like a mullet.

Chicago, IL

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