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As a Knicks diehard fan, I cringed at the idea of ESPN producing a documentary (ironically for this post, called 30 for 30) about our wars with Reggie Miller. That was a crazy time in the history of the league, and those Pacers-Knicks rivalries gave us some of the most classic playoff games ever. The documentary was awesome, but what spoke to me was the title: ‘Winning Time’.

In the documentary, it eluded to the final seconds of a game. When the decision of the game is hanging in the balance, someone has to step up, take ownership, and deliver in the moment. Needless to say, Reginald (I hate calling him by his proper name, sue me) did this early and often, and many times against the Knicks. The title intrigued me because I think Winning Time applies to every aspect of life, aside from competition.

Life is a collection of experiences. We go through our daily motions and find challenges in different situations. It is in these situations, where we show our true makeup and decide whether we will succeed or falter. The great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said it best:

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

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This time of challenge and controversy is Winning Time. When I was fed up with my employment situation and wanted to make a change, I was challenged. The choices were simple. I could accept my situation and try to make the best of what I have or I could change my situation by actively seeking new employment. The job hunting process is not as simple as most people want you to believe. I looked for work while having a job, so Lord knows I feel for those who are unemployed and looking for work.

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If you want to maximize your opportunity to get a new job, the road will be that much more difficult. You have to tighten your resume, spruce up your LinkedIn page (if you aren’t on LinkedIn you NEED to make it happen), work on your interview skills, etc. You have to ensure that you are presentable and knowledgeable about the job you want to attain. You also have to actively search for jobs too. It was arduous to type that out, but it’s even tougher to complete all the tasks I mentioned to the highest level possible. You might think this is all too much and not worth the effort. At that moment comes the realization that this is Winning Time.

Are you going to upgrade your career or settle for mediocrity? Are you going to let a few rejection letters stop you from applying to 20 more jobs, going on 20 more interviews, and grinding twice as hard for work? Are you going to use your previous experiences to your advantage or reflect on your failures as a detriment? The way you answer these questions and face the challenges determines if you will own Winning Time or if you’ll just be another spectator to some else’s greatness.

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When I wanted to lose weight and get in better shape, it was the same situation. I look at people with physiques I admire, and I consider them masters of the fitness Winning Time. I want to get to that level and I’m determined to do so. Do I let setbacks, cravings, and stress deter me? At times, yes. I’m only human, but my desire to own Winning Time and achieve my goals will always trump self-doubt and the rewards are endless.

Winning Time is a state of mind. The mind is one of the most powerful things on this Earth. How you utilize it can determine your success level and general confidence. Time waits for no man. Winning Time will either move with you or look to move with those who know better. Life happens. Challenges get more difficult. We all lose at times in our lives, but we never want to say that in defeat we folded under the pressure. The desire to conquer and master Winning Time has helped me keep things in perspective. I don’t want to miss goals. I don’t want to make excuses every time I miss. I want to analyze, learn from my mistakes, and prosper. I want to be the Reggie Miller, The Jordan, The Mannings, and The Jeters of Winning Time and reap the rewards of self-belief and determination.

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Let’s all win with effort.

The Winner Within,

Streetz