January 18, 2019

ZEITLINES | 01.18.19

This week our brand new Director of Client Success, Jake Barnes makes his rookie debut, and what a debut it is. While he’s flying solo, Jake has a good Zeitlines wingman in @pskills43 and some schooling for all of us on how to be extraordinary. Game On!

 

Here I am, my second week as a member of the Republic team, fresh off a 2018 that brought with it all sorts of exciting milestones, growth and change. Coming back from a month traversing New Zealand on my honeymoon, I’ve tried to take some time to reflect on just how the heck I got to where I am today in my new role as a Director of Client Success on this wonderful team, and on the precipice of a 2019 that promises to be even more challenging, and hopefully just as rewarding as the last.

Those who know me well (or frankly, at all) know my obsession with sports, and so it only makes sense that I’d turn to my favourite local team for a source of inspiration for my first Zeitlines article - no further do you have to look than the breakout star of the season, the Toronto Raptors’ Pascal Siakam, more affectionally known as ‘Spicy P’.

Just months before the season, the trade rumours were swirling around the Raptors with the common refrain being ‘whatever you do, don’t include FVV [Fred VanVleet] or OG [Anunoby] in any deals’. Nary a mention of Siakam in that ‘untouchable’ category. Yet the all-knowing Masai Ujiri staunchly refused to include him in the deal that ultimately sent beloved homegrown star DeMar DeRozan to the Lonestar state for one-season (at least) of The Klaw - Kawhi Leonard (and the criminally under-appreciated Danny Green). What did the Raptors’ brain-trust know that we casual, or even obsessive fans did not? Apparently this: despite seeing only flashes of it on the court to date, Spicy P was ready to burst onto the scene this season and assume the role of arguably the most important player on the Raptors roster - and in doing emerge as a favourite for the league-wide Most Improved Player award.

So I asked myself, what can we mere mortals learn from Pascal Siakam - whose story is as incredible as his unexpected rise to stardom?

Here are five lessons from Spicy P School that we can apply to our everyday lives:

1. There is no substitute for hard work.

- The real progress is made when no one is watching - for Siakam this meant summer runs in LA alongside a ‘who’s who’ of NBA royalty and under the watchful eye of Rico Hines - proving to himself he could hang with the best.
- For everyone else this means the ongoing pursuit of growth - further education, reading and going the extra mile to elevate your capabilities beyond what your day-to-day may demand of you.

2. Nobody controls your future but you.

- Coming into the league as a 27th overall pick in 2016 with only a few years of organized basketball under his belt screamed ‘role player’ or ‘energy guy’ but Siakam has never stopped defying the critics, from starting almost 70% of his games as a rookie, to emerging as one of the league’s most electrifying talents.
- The lesson here is not to let anyone tell you what you can and cannot accomplish, to dictate your developmental timelines, to put a ceiling on what you’re capable of achieving.

3. No two success stories are the same.

- Many lamented Siakam’s lack of organized basketball experience, but others saw a blank slate chock full of potential, and with the footwork (honed over years of youth soccer) that has developed into an unstoppable spin move.
- There are so many ways to arrive at a destination, no two journeys are the same and nor should they be. Don’t look to what others have achieved and let it diminish your own aspirations but allow it to serve as inspiration to the varied avenues that success can take. In doing so, find what you bring to the table that is truly unique and double down to make it your competitive advantage.

4. Find people who believe in you.

- For Siakam this was Masai and Bobby Webster. For me, this has been countless individuals throughout my life who have taken a chance on me, given me an opportunity to succeed, allowed me the freedom to fail, and supported me each step of the way. From early managers who gave me a start at Capital C, to Sid Lee (twice) to the team here at Republic with several stops in between. I’m incredibly lucky that this also extends to my home life where I have a wonderfully supportive wife and family.
- Those people are out there for you. Seek them out. Listen to them.

5. Fun is important to success.

- Nobody plays the game harder, faster, or with a bigger smile than #43, Spicy P.
- At Republic we’re fond of saying, and telling our clients, that we’re ‘Smart. Nice. Fun.’ – and while this may seem superfluous and fluffy, it’s actually a big part of our competitive advantage that turns clients into partners, colleagues into friends and makes our work fulfilling. We take our work seriously, just not ourselves.

Vote for Kyle and Kawhi for the All-Star game, and while you’re there, give Spicy P a nod too!

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