Sunday, July 13, 2014

Lebron James - I am coming home also. Working to become a better entrepreneur by becoming a better person.

Where is your Cleveland?

We each have somewhere that represents, literally and/or figuratively, our roots.

Our home.

For me, and this is a continuing and continual process, I learned that I could not grow as an entrepreneur until and unless I have grown also as a person. 

As what we do is so closely linked up to who we are.

The world (and not just the sports world) rejoiced when LeBron James announced recently that he was returning to his home - and his hometown NBA team - the Cleveland Cavaliers.

In this world we all grow up but there is a piece of us, always, which remains a child. Not a child as in naive. But a child as in innocent. Fun loving. Optimistic.


ET Phone Home. You may be one of many who loved the movie as much as I did.



I cried as a child watching the movie as ET expressed his longing for his own home. There is something primal in this. We each long to recapture something which we had which was somehow and somewhere and some time ago lost.

It is famously said that "you can't go home again".

But tell that to ET.

or Lebron.

I cried inside (with joy) as an adult when I heard Lebron describe his return home in so eloquent and personal a manner.

Admitting past mistakes. Not holding grudges. Being a better man. Accepting the challenge.

A challenge of sacrifice and love.

Who among us would not like a chance to make up for past mistakes. And contribute to, and in Lebron's case lead, those we love. Those who have been hurting and waiting - waiting, waiting, waiting - for something bigger and something better.

SI exclusive: LeBron James explains his return to Cleveland Cavaliers 
Lebron said in part:
"Everybody makes mistakes. I’ve made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?...
In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have.
I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home."
I feel the same way about my home State of Maine.

I was always an entrepreneur but I didn't know it. Perhaps where we are from we have, collectively, some lowered expectations. 

In my case a bit of an inferiority complex (at least insecurities if not quite that dramatic) led to compensatory behavior in which I pushed away some of those - in business and in life - who I might have been closer to (not that there aren't always two sides at least to every story, but like LeBron I feel that I want to own up to past mistakes and step up fully to great productive challenges of the future)

I left Maine in 1988 after graduating college with a few accomplishments but knowing that there was a bigger world out there that I could learn from, that although Maine held so many advantages for me, emotionally, quality of life, even spiritually, that economically and financially Maine was (as is) at a significant disadvantage.

I did not return to live again in Maine until 2005. Seventeen long years away, and it did hurt a lot. In 2011 my Dad, who had lived in Maine since 1960 (before I was born) passed away. 

The years passed much much too quickly. 

Of course you can never make up for those lost years.

In 2010 I ran for Governor of Maine. I didn't make it all that far, comparatively, but I learned a lot. 

I wrote about finding my Cleveland (in Maine):

This Great State - A Rigorous Examination of Leadership in Maine Present, Past and Future: Alex Hammer: 9781440430312: Books 

LeBron was a little smarter than I was. Or a lot. He could sort out his priorities at a younger age. He knows himself and there is great power in that.

If I had followed my love for being an entrepreneur at a younger age as LeBron followed his passion for basketball, I might be a lot further along now.

But life isn't a straight line, of course. And we come to things when we are ready for them.

The Decision

LeBron was derided, and I think rightly so, for the insensitive and frankly selfish manner in which he made his career decision in 2010 (I could have said cavalier manner, but that is too bad of a pun). It's not the fact that he was leaving Cleveland for Miami - LeBron and most of the world knows that this was the right decision for Lebron - It was the manner in which it was done, which added insult to injury to Cavs fans, who loved Lebron, and tore their heart out.

Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert overreacted in his letter, and then exacerbated his overreaction by leaving the letter on the website for four years, but he was expressing the pain and hurt (and yes, I guess outrage) that many in Cleveland felt.

But time - and more importantly maturity - heals, as they say, all wounds. 

I like the saying which I heard once that "we are stronger at the broken places". 

As LeBron also wrote (a bit more fully than above) in the SI article about his return to Cleveland "I’ve met with Dan, face-to-face, man-to-man. We’ve talked it out. Everybody makes mistakes. I’ve made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?"

The world now loves LeBron James. At a minimum they respect and embrace him. If the Cavs win a championship with LeBron - or more than one - the city will go beserk, and I anticipate and hope beserk in only a positive sense of the word.

I am a long time Red Sox fan also living in a place of relative longstanding challenges (but also many strengths, Maine to Lebron's Northern Ohio) so from more than one perspective I feel that I can also in my own way identify with what Lebron, and many in Cleveland, might be feeling.


For me, LeBron's decision reflects more than just a return home in geography, but an acceptance and enabling of the best in oneself. Admitting mistakes (and trying to right them). Not holding grudges. Accepting the challenge.

The challenge I have felt in life is not feeling let down by others. I am strong but I have not had (although a thicker skin has been forming) that stay positive at all times mental fortitude which LeBron demonstrates. LeBron holds people accountable with extraordinary high standards, and I do this as well, but I am admittedly no LeBron James. I've worked hard and done very well, and have been a good person, but I have not always led by example in a way that inspires confidence. I've been petty far too often. I've made mistakes.

I've blamed others. A lot.

I believe that the greatest battle in life is really with ourselves. As I wrote in 
The Laws and Secrets of Success: Delving Deeper than You've Been Told Before into the Mysteries of Why Some People Accomplish More Than Others, Are Happier, Better Liked, and Yes, Wealthier: Alex Hammer: 9781492870258: Books 
"Successful people realize that the real competition is actually with oneself. Others just serve as a mirror, and a measuring stick, for us to allow us to see where we are at and improve. This is part of taking responsibility for
one’s life.

And for one’s success."

I am an entrepreneur. I've come to embrace that, and all that goes with it.

Accepting and embracing my own challenge.

Our startup possesses world leading technology and business model in 'smart ecommerce" 

Media 2.0 

but I've learned also, at times certainly the hard way, that is difficult for others to separate out the message from the messenger sometimes, and that,critically, as has been famously said, "No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."

So, we have yet to win our first championship.

But like the Cavs, we are building and putting the pieces in place.

I've tried to learn also continually from the best and most successful in the technology world.

This includes both companies
Disrupting the Disruptors: Technology 3.0: What the Future May Hold For Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter and Others Via Disruptive ... From Mobile to Search to Ecommerce to Bitcoin: Alex Hammer: 9781499207569: Books 

and individuals
The Online Success Leaders Volume 1: (Gary Vaynerchuk, Jason Calacanis, Brian Tracy, Kara Swisher and David Cohen): Alex Hammer: 9781492934714: Books 

Where is your Cleveland?
Maine is my Cleveland. But we each have one. Even ET.

I love LeBron as a person because he is a champion in life as well as in sport, following his heart, correcting mistakes, and stepping up.

Lebron said it all:
SI exclusive: LeBron James explains his return to Cleveland Cavaliers 
'I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home."

Where is your Cleveland? Where is your home?

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