I needed some time to reflect on something that touched me, like others, to the core.
Kobe Bryant is dead. At the age of 41, Kobe Bryant boarded a helicopter with his 13 year old daughter and seven other people. They all died. I don’t know anyone who didn’t feel as if they’re punched straight in the stomach when they got the news. People who hardly know what a basketball court looks like knew who Kobe was. That’s the kind of person Kobe Bryant was. He didn’t pretend to be perfect and that knowledge or understanding was probably a driving force behind his hard work ethics. Talent is a combination of ability and commitment. Kobe Bryant had both at levels hardly ever seen before from a basketball player. His transition from sports to business showcased the same determination and talent. He had a bright future ahead of him and will be greatly missed by many.
Hours after his death, at the Staples Center came Alicia Keys to host The Grammys and proved that much like Kobe, she too is made of something special. What Alicia Keys did was nothing short of remarkable. The ability to navigate through the huge loss this country experienced to a music awards show in a compassionate, positive way is a skill reserved for true leaders. Time and again Keys proves (as if she needs to prove something) that the greater good of the people is her first priority. Using the largest platform, she promotes social justice, women empowerment and environmental awareness. Much Like Kobe Bryant, who was more than a basketball player, Alicia Key is more than a songwriter or performer.
Becoming a leader requires one to focus on their own hard work and determination, while keeping a humble and open-minded view on their environment. Celebrating one’s self success, while keeping in mind that others to follow should have at least the same opportunity as you did. Hardly an easy task, the more challenging aspect of the task is to actually recognize leaders around you. Being able to encourage, empower, promote and nourish a positive leader is a skill on its own. Many of us are too preoccupied or blinded by our own agenda and ego to admit that we are witnessing a leader. Kobe Bryant and Alicia Keys both had to have a supportive system and environment around them. One that encouraged them during difficult times, pushed them through challenges and setbacks, loved and cherished their efforts at times when results didn’t align with their efforts.
My takeaway from Kobe Bryant’s tragic death is to look for the new leaders around me. Look for those who can continue and create, innovate and change, then provide them with the support they need to flourish. Working with entrepreneurs is surely the place to be for that purpose.