My Guiding Principles: From the Court to Daily Life

By Shane Power, President of Watertree Health

As a basketball player, I quickly learned to be a team player. But I never expected that so many lessons learned on the court would continue to guide me through life’s daily challenges. My coaches, teammates, and my own personal hurdles as an athlete have all helped shape my composure in the business world. The five most important lessons from basketball that continue to help me lead as President of Watertree Health, include the following:

  1. Be a coach—As a college and professional athlete, I’ve observed numerous coaching styles. But one thing is always the same—a coach must always lead by example. As a team member and now as a business leader, I strive to do my best every day. When I was playing basketball, I was part of a team of 12, now I’m the coach of almost 200 people. Ultimately it’s the effort of the entire team that makes a difference in both a game and in business.
  1. No one can want it more than you do—Part of being a team leader, and a team player, is staying focused. You have to bring the best version of yourself to the court and to the office. I can’t expect any of my employees to want my company to succeed more than I do. Being a leader means being the biggest and the loudest cheerleader.
  1. You are going to lose—No one likes to lose. Ever. But sometimes it’s inevitable, and ultimately all part of the process whether in a game or when running a business. Even in a loss lies a victory – which is that you’ve tried. And, you can’t get feedback without failure.
  1. Be of service—As a basketball player, there was never a doubt in my mind that I loved what I was doing. Competition was my life. In business I’ve learned that, if you are serving a mission you believe in, then it can turn into a passion and not just a way to earn a paycheck. When I was at Mississippi State, I was serving my coach, my fellow team members and the greater college community. Today I run a company that helps people live healthier lives. It’s something I can feel good about.
  1. Work it out—When all else fails and the stresses of daily life take their toll, I still seek refuge in the gym. Maybe it’s because I was an athlete for so long, but I know that I’m a better leader when I can come to the table with a “clean slate”. For me, this means daily workouts combining cardio and weights. The less stress I have, the better I lead.

Whether you play sports or participate in debate matches, it is important to listen and learn from those around you. As the Head Basketball Coach at Mississippi State, Rick Stansbury, once said, “Do what you’re supposed to do, when you’re supposed to do it, with the best attitude and effort possible.”

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