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Stephen Mayo | Incredibly Focused

Incredibly Focused

June 28, 2020

Reporter: “Does it bother you that [Dennis Rodman is] taking away the focus from the Finals?”

Coach Phil Jackson: “No, he’s only taking your focus away from the Finals, not ours” 

          - Q&A during 1998 NBA Finals (see ESPN's The Last Dance)


Dennis Rodman, the Chicago Bulls' star rebounder, had created a stir by skipping practice unannounced to headline a WCW wrestling match in the middle of the 1998 NBA Finals. And coach Jackson was facing questions about it.


Notice Jackson's response to the reporter: you're the one that is distracted, not us.  It's possible that Jackson was simply handling the media, downplaying the significance of Rodman's antics.  But it's more likely that Jackson understood a powerful dynamic about focus: that losing focus is not an unlucky phenomenon, something that happens to him.  From Jackson's perspective, keeping his focus on the mission, and helping the team do the same, was entirely up to him, not Rodman or the media.  And this reporter provided an opportunity for Jackson to reinforce and live that belief. 


Wednesday July 1 at 5pm EST marks the first meeting of What It Takes, a Zoom discussion I created to help individuals improve their performance by addressing crucial questions about effectiveness.  This week's topic is 'What it takes to be more focused'.  It's free to attend but openings are limited.  Reply to this email to reserve your spot.

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