5 Winning Lessons From the Golden State Warriors

You have to be willing to make a commitment to change and put in the work to make it happen.
May 31, 2016

The Golden State Warriors basketball team is in the midst of a historic and record-setting season. The team had 73 regular season wins, breaking the NBA record previously held by the Chicago Bulls.

But it didn’t happen overnight. They planted the seeds to their current achievement during a time when the franchise suffered in mediocrity.

Related: Success Takes Time and Hard Work—Follow These 5 Steps to Stick With It to the End

Flash back to 2006 and 2007, to what the Warriors dub the “We Believe” season. Leading up to the season, the franchise broke the NBA record for the number of consecutive years without making the playoffs (12). Head coach Don Nelson traded most of their big-name players for a band of journeyman and misfits to play “small ball,” a strategy that favors increased scoring, agility and speed over height, strength and low post offense and defense.

Up until that point, all NBA rosters looked the same. Each team was anchored around a 7-foot center surrounded by traditional positions—power forward, small forward, shooting guard and point guard.

Nelson decided to create a fun, fast-paced style of play designed so that players were interchangeable parts. The entire team rallied, highlighting each other’s strengths while also having fun playing a game they love. The result was astounding and marked a turnaround that led to an improbable playoff run, which shocked fans and experts alike. The changes continue to pay dividends.

The “We Believe” season not only revitalized the franchise, but also its fan base. The Warriors fans continue to be the most supportive and vibrant fan base in the league. Why? It’s simple—the franchise has transformed their failure into success. Fans love cheering for a team that plays the game with joy, passion and celebrates each other’s success each and every game.

But on a deeper level, the Warriors’ success can be applied off the court—in your business, relationships and personal life.

1. Create your starting lineup.

None of us reach our goals alone. Personal development guru Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” The Warriors are committed to being a successful team. Each player has their own set of unique talents and skills, and they work together to utilize their contributions for the overall good of the team. Who is your starting five? Make a list of supportive people who will help move your goals forward.

2. Celebrate other people’s success.

In last season’s playoff finals, regular season MVP Stephen Curry wasn’t named the Finals MVP. The award went to teammate Andre Iguodala. After the announcement, Curry was seen jumping for joy, celebrating his teammate’s accomplishment. Your inner game will improve exponentially when you shift toward abundance and celebrating other people’s wins. Pick one person today and acknowledge their achievements—big and small.

3. Focus on your strengths.

Many people doubted if the Warriors could win playing “small ball.” They ignored the skeptics and perfected their own style based on their strengths as individuals and as a team. Instead of focusing on improving your weaknesses and becoming mediocre, develop your strengths and become great. Identify one to two strengths and decide what you can do to make them even better.

4. Make it fun.

Have you noticed the Warriors high-fiving on the court, cheering from the bench and being high-spirited during the game? You can experience greater success and joy by playing the game of life at the highest point of consciousness. When you have fun, life becomes easier and less stressful. What are three ways you can incorporate more fun and joy into your life today?

5. Be the best version of you.

It’s no coincidence that Curry, the Warriors star point guard, and this year’s regular season MVP (by a unanimous vote), is also their hardest worker. Every year he commits to improving his game and becoming a better player. Whether that means staying after a game to work on his jump shot or arriving an hour early before the game to get a competitive edge, he is focused on being better. Give yourself the gift of your own attention and work on being your best self through personal growth and development.

You don’t need to be professional NBA coach or player to transform failure into success. You have all the skills you need to start changing your life right now. Begin by scheduling time in your calendar in the next three days to focus on practicing one of these principles. Keep note of how your life changes while understanding that change takes time. Continue to add additional principles as you see progress and celebrate those milestones.

You don’t have to be the most talented to achieve greatness but you do have to be willing to make a commitment to change and put in the work to make it happen. With your “roster” of supportive and influential people, an attitude of abundance and remembering to have fun, I believe you will achieve your best self. Take it from the best team in the NBA, transformation from mediocrity to record-breaking success only takes a few shifts in your game plan (a good jump shot doesn’t hurt either).

Related: Why Failure Is Good for Success

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