3 Career and Life Lessons Andre Iguodala Taught Me

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a longtime Golden State Warriors devotee. Although I wholeheartedly deny the “bandwagon fan” label my boyfriend tries to give me, I also didn’t know who Andre Iguodala was until the 2015 NBA Playoffs. But that won’t stop me from being inspired by his work ethic and his journey from not starting one regular season game to winning the Finals MVP trophy. 

So what led to my discovery? After graduating from Michigan Ross in May, I finally had some downtime to watch basketball. As I spent quality time watching the playoffs with my Dad, I, like the rest of the country, became swept up in the Golden State Warriors momentum. I was especially drawn to the clutch defensive player with an African last name who seemed to always come into the game at just the right moment and seize command of the court, orchestrating plays that would lead the Warriors to ultimate victory. In typical fashion when I’m intrigued by someone but don’t know much about them – I turned to Google to fill me in. And what I’ve learned and witnessed in the past few weeks has inspired me greatly. Here are the Top 3 Lessons I’ve gleaned from Andre:

1. Be Patient and know your time will come

Imagine being a career veteran who’s won countless awards and represented your company as a thought leader at numerous conferences. Now imagine that you’ve ascended to the C suite, led teams with dozens of direct reports and command an impressive salary. Then imagine that you make a lateral move to a new company with hopes of taking on new challenges and achieving new accomplishments, only to be demoted to a mid-level manager and stripped of most of your leadership responsibility. Frustrating, right? 

It wouldn’t be a stretch to think 11-year vet Iguodala may have felt similarly frustrated after going from starting every season of his career, being an NBA All-Star and gold medalist at the Olympics to not starting at all in the 2014-2015 season. Yet Iguodala showed an immeasurable degree of patience and humility, content to play his position for the greater good of the team. Most people in a similar position would complain and harbor animosity, but Iguodala never once complained. Instead, he stayed focused on the task at hand – winning a championship by any means necessary. And he trusted his coach’s path to achieving that goal. 

The lesson in all of this is that everything that is happening at this very moment is contributing to a greater good that I’m not aware of yet. Rather than losing site of the goal because I’m frustrated by current circumstances, I will replace frustration with hope and lack of faith with trust.

2. Be Prepared…because when your number is called, it’s Game Time

Although he did not start all season, Iguodala was ready when his number was called. This is a reminder to all of us to be prepared for our own opportunity to become a reality. Keep practicing and cultivating your gifts and don’t become lazy or discouraged in the meantime. Like Andre, remain persistent and focused, because the right opportunity is indeed out there. And when it arrives, if you’ve been preparing as you should, you will not only succeed, you will thrive.

3. Be humble and let your actions speak for themselves
We all know that one friend who thinks he is the best to ever do it. That person never passes up an opportunity to let us know he is the best. But is that really necessary? If you are truly talented and the best at what you do, you don’t have to toot your own horn. In fact, others will do that for you. What I’ve learned from Andre is to focus my energy on being excellent at what I do. My actions will speak for themselves.

Andre Iguodala accepts the Bill Russell MVP Trophy

“He was great the entire series. But he saved this season for us…He’s a professional guy, and it showed, and that’s why he’s the MVP of this series, and that’s why we’re champions.”

– Draymond Green

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