A Pro Athlete in Startups: It’s Human Nature to Relax When You Win

Tim, great article.

The idea of deadlines is especially important for the startup entrepreneur, who has no one looking over his shoulder. The idea of a coach, boss, internal goal, or co-worker that you know you have to show up and bring the energy for, the results, the deadlines, the points, the hustle, the sales, the brief, the energy, etc, is a damn good thing.

Think about life from a sports perspective for a moment.

If my coaches never expected me to be in before class started to shoot, would I have reached my potential and hit my deadline to be a division one basketball player?

Hello? Of course not.

Unless you are obsessed (and have been obsessed) with something you have a deep, deep knowledge of, and are already an expert in, you are probably underachieving. Even if you are an expert, it helps to have learning, sharing, deadlines, and copious amounts of knowledge being shared back and forth between two different parties.

I know the feeling after a great win in pro basketball. Of winning a title and having my summer go to shit. But let’s focus on the micro wins. One game out of 90 and it may change my approach to the next day or week. I’d get home. Crack a beer. Have a shot of tequila (this is Europe people), and get ready to go out for the night. Typically my next day would be recovering from not only the game, but from the drinking and partying I put into my body.

Yes, I know, I should have been more professional, but damn man, I was making money, I was popular (okay, not really), I had all these great things going for me, why not get out and enjoy life?

Well, that’s the brain’s way of telling you to relax. To give in a little. To lower your standards. To not write. To not work. To not close the deal.

Stephen Pressfield, one of my favorite writers talks about the voice of resistance that speaks to us, our subconscious mind that wants to fuck up everything when we start moving in the direction of our dreams, goals, and deepest work.

Now, I’m not saying relaxing or downtime isn’t important. It is. I’m saying you choose your days, times, moments, or weekends to relax versus that voice that changes your typical plan for greatness.

I feel Tim on the Netflix, YouTube, and Instagram distractions. For us to truly achieve our potential, we have to set that shit aside and demand to finish what is most important to our lives.

Write everyday, naaaahhhhh, go to the park and hang with your friends first, says my voice.

Workout and get a six pack, nahhhhhhhh, go to the bar and hang out with my friends first says my resistant voice.

If I lost a basketball game, I took it hard. I would give myself a deadline for shots taken, miles run, speed ladders in the sand sprinted, weights lifted, and I’d practice twice a day until the next game.

Instead of going out, I’d go home, sit in an ice bath and get ready to work the next morning. I’d get ready to meet my deadline. And that’s super fucking important.

The difference is awareness of knowing what voice you are listening too and why deadlines help you remain true to the voice that cares about you. The voice of self-love wants you to be useful, to give back, to impact people and show up.

So getting ready to meet your deadline means you have to take care yourself first. Your loose ends. Your wife. Your husband. Your kids. Your paperwork.

Then you have to set aside that time to meet your deadline and go HAM (hard asa mothaf$cker).


When you get that first pay check.

When you get that new raise, (and spend it on a dumbass purse).

When you get the at hot, sexy, smart, funny girlfriend and after a few months, you treat her like you did all the rest of them.


Shit man, having a coach, a boss, an instructor, an accountability beacon standing over you like your girlfriend is a great thing.

It’s human nature to relax. Especially when you win. So start setting deadlines, own up to other people’s expectations (including your own) of that deadline, or hire a coach, a boss, a friend, to help you be accountable to it.

Now go whoop ass and stop complaining.

Good luck! Read more of my Trevor Huffman’s Sports Wisdom to Weird Life Lessons here!

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