The Power of “I am…”

Every once in a while, we get a glimpse into the mindset the separates the good from the great.

Kobe gives us a sneak peek in his article, 8Teen, featured on The Player’s Tribune:

Maybe I’m just old school. Maybe my line of thinking is that of a rotary phone. Maybe this smartphone generation enjoys sharing games of domination. Maybe they like taking turns. Maybe they enjoy competing passive aggressively.

Maybe I’m the one with the problem, maybe it is right to have multiple alphas, maybe I’m the weaker one, the selfish one. Maybe, just maybe…

Either way, I refuse to change what I am. A lion has to eat. Run with me or run from me.

The Law of “I am…”

I am…” statements are powerful things. Did you catch Kobe’s? (“I’m that too!”)

When working with an athlete, have a hypersensitivity to their “I am…” statements. Like a hound sniffing out a fox. Be on the prowl. Unrelenting.

In order for someone to change, how they see themselves has to be movable. “I am…” statements lay the foundation for you-at-your-best , or promote less-than-your-best.

Whatever you say after the words “I am…” seems to set your immediate future in motion.

I am…” statement(s) must create the possibility for growth. Even for areas being stretched into, an “I am…” – rather than “I hope…” or “I will…” mobilizes and creates momentum for the desired improvement.

Tune into people’s “I am…“. Before you get into any technical/tactical teaching, you need to make sure their “I am…” is creating the possibility for future success. Someone’s “I am…” defines how they perceive effort, difficulty, feedback and sacrifice.

Think this is all fluff?

Well, it’s backed by that science-y stuff. Carol Dweck has been a trailblazer with her work into “growth mindset” — the idea that we can grow our brain’s capacity to learn by leveraging the power of yet.

Well, on that note, as Michelangelo so poignantly put it: “I am still learning.”


Oh, if you’re curious, here’s my I am statement