By the time I was 25, I’d risen above all the collateral damage of growing up with a drug-addicted mother and achieved a high degree of success. I was a professional basketball player over in Europe and I was having a great year on the court. Offers were coming in from teams all over Europe. I was being sponsored by a major shoe company. There’s no question I had made big sacrifices to get where I was in that moment. The success felt good.
What I didn’t yet understand was that for me to continue pursuing my dreams—my biggest dreams of all—I would have to make an even greater sacrifice. I’d have to give up the very dream that inspired me to fight through my brutal childhood: basketball.
I’d be lying if I told you it was easy. It’s not like I was riding the bench. I was voted to start the All-Star Game. I’d won the dunk contest in my rookie year. I was my team’s leading scorer. Leaving basketball, in perfect health and with my best years ahead of me, was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made. But in the end I came to see that continued success requires continued sacrifice.
Nobody likes the sacrificial part of success. Giving things up, especially good things, is never easy. The reason so few people become great in any given field is that so many people become good and then refuse to make the extra sacrifice it takes to reach higher. But the fact remains; if you want to be great at anything in life, if you want to reach your highest peak of potential, you will have to sacrifice something that’s good along the way.
Don’t settle for good enough. Strive for greatness.