Today is my 39th birthday. Birthdays are always a little strange for me. I spend most of my day caring for the needs of others and have worked hard for a long time to be able to care for my own needs. I love a crowd. I love a party. But a day to celebrate myself honestly makes me just a little uncomfortable. So in today’s post I will tell you about some lessons I have learned this year from one of the greatest.
Russell Westbrook averaged a triple double in the NBA this year. A feat not done for the last 50 years. He also recorded more triple doubles in a single NBA season than any other player has done in history. And the Pastor and I got to see it. This alone could be the reason why number 0 is my hero. But it’s not. Here are the reasons why.
- With the right attitude you can pull off almost any outfit. Overalls. Floral shirts. Ripped jeans. Camo. Glasses. Russell breaks the rules with most of his fashion statements and wins.
- Work hard and then work harder. Russell doesn’t shoot well in a game? You’ll find him putting up shots afterwards in the practice gym. Be the first to arrive and the last to leave.
- Smile at your critics. If you follow along with number zero enough you will start to notice this great big smile he carries around with him when he’s not staring down his competition on the court. It’s as if he knows those famous words from Teddy Rosevelt, made famous again by Brene Brown: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again,because there is no effort without error and shortcoming.” Keep smiling Russ.
- You’re nothing without your team. At the end of the 2017 season losing in the first round of the playoffs Russell was asked about why teams did so much better against them when he wasn’t playing. His answer? Don’t try and split us up. NEXT QUESTION. I figure Russell asks everyone on that squad to play their best, to get better every day. That’s all that matters. No one can do it alone.
- Always give back. From countless elementary school reading rooms, serving a hot meal at Thanksgiving to those without, to helping at-risk youth. Westbrook quietly and consistently gives away from himself with joy.
- WHY NOT? If you’re unfamiliar with the #whynot hashtag then you must be unfamiliar with RW. It is attached to everything he posts, everywhere he is, everything he does. It’s not about the why we can’t, it’s about the why we CAN.
In year 39 I will continue to wear the pink heels with the coral skirt, the striped shirt with the patterned pants. I will work harder this year than I have in the past. I will smile at my critics and continue to step into the arena. I will increase my empathy. And most importantly, when the voices in the room say “we can’t” I will be the voice to say, “why not?”