NBA star Kobe Bryant blew out his Achilles tendon in a game last Friday night. In a last ditch effort to get the Lakers into the playoffs, the 34 year old, 17 year veteran logged more than 40 minutes a game in his last 10 outings. As Bill Plaschke explains in his LA Times column, while both the Lakers head coach and general manager were worried about Bryant’s health neither could keep him off the floor. Bryant calls his own shots and was determined to play no matter what. Now he’s got no choice but to be off the court for the next six to nine months.
Maybe the Lakers will make it to the playoffs without him. Maybe not. (They won the next game after his injury and Bryant’s back up scored 23 points.)
Like me, you’ve probably seen a lot of leaders who take on too much. You might even be one of them. What are the warning signs that you might be taking on so much that you’re headed towards your own version of a ruptured Achilles tendon?
With the Kobe Bryant story in mind, here are three of them:
1. You’re Not Taking Breaks: I couldn’t find it again while writing this post, but I saw a quote from Kobe earlier in the weekend in which he essentially said that he was surprised his Achilles blew out because he had never had problems like that before. He’s also never been 34 years old in the NBA before. To avoid breakdowns, every high performing leader needs to take a break now and then. That’s even more true as you age. Your body needs time to renew and regenerate both mentally and physically. Without that time, a breakdown is practically guaranteed.
2. You’re Not Giving Other Players a Chance: The second highest scoring Laker in the game after Kobe went down was his back-up, Steve Blake. It makes you wonder what the Lakers longer term prospects would be if Kobe had given Blake a chance to play a little more throughout the season. If you’re a leader who always has to have the ball, you’re probably keeping other players from developing and, in the process, hurting the long term prospects of the team.
3. You Ignore the Warnings: There were a lot of people close to Bryant including his coach and GM that were worried about him injuring himself by playing too much. He ignored the warnings. If the people in your life who have your best interests at heart are counseling you to back off, the mindful thing to do is listen and take a different approach to getting results.
Mindful leaders pay attention to the warning signs. What are the other warning signs that you might be taking on too much?