I was driving to work this morning and I heard on the radio that Flint was voted the 5th worst city in America to live. Now I always knew that Flint had issues with crime and the job market after the GM plants began to close but it never seemed that bad to me. In my experience Flint is filled with passionate, caring people who love where we come from and the lessons that we learned growing up in Flint. I truly believe that Flint is the greatest city on earth and the people I’ve met and the lessons they taught me are a major factor in the success I have had.
I’ve heard people say that iron sharpens iron and the same thing can be said about growing up in Flint. Flint teaches you a certain type of grind and toughness, it is a working class city and nobody is going to give you anything, especially on the basketball court. When you step on a basketball court in Flint, regardless of whether it is in a gym or in a park you better have your shoes tied up and be ready to go. You are constantly playing against people like Mateen Cleaves, Charlie Bell, Morris Peterson, Kelvin Torbert, and number of unbelievable players. So you better be ready because if you come out there and you aren’t ready to play, you will be embarrassed and chances are there is a group of people watching the game who will make sure the whole city knows about it. I spent the majority of my basketball career in Flint as a minority on the basketball court, it may be hard to believe but there aren’t a ton of 6’2 white guys playing basketball in the Flint city leagues. So I knew that whenever I was on the court I had to almost justify to the people watching that I belonged there and earn my respect. But I loved every minute of it and it forced me to develop a toughness and grit to never back down from a challenge. No matter what happened in my basketball career I always remember what I learned on the courts back home, I’ll never forget where I came from and how it help shape the person I am today.
Don’t forget where you started and what those experiences taught you. You might have been an intern in the mail room and worked your way up to the CEO of your company but at some point during your internship you learned something that will stay with you forever. Just like my early time on the basketball court you have to take ever opportunity to justify the job you are doing and earn the respect of your co-workers and customers.
Take time to think about your up bringing and how all the experiences you had shaped you into the person you are today.