This is Joel Berry. He was a highly recruited athlete out of high school – one of the top prospects in the country, in fact. He had his pick of schools and ultimately chose North Carolina, which is probably one of the three or four best men’s programs in history. But when Berry got to UNC, he went from one of the most coveted athletes in the country to a bench player. His freshman year, in 2014, he didn’t start a single game. He only averaged 13 minutes per game (out of 40), and had very little role in the team.

Today, Berry is one of the country’s best players. He was named the MVP of the 2017 NCAA Final Four, and he went from not starting any games four years ago to starting 105 of the team’s next 107 games over the last three seasons. He also has a national championship ring.

That’s the background for Berry’s story, which he recently shared with UNC fans at the team’s senior night. I want to focus on this particular quote he gave, at the end.

“Just stop trying to blame it on the coaching staff and look at yourself. What are you doing to give the coaches confidence to put you out on the court? And that changed my whole entire career here.”

In one word: Wow.

I’m big on cause and effect thinking. Are you the cause of your success or the effect of your problem? The process Berry went through from his first year on the team to his last was a perfect model of this. He blamed everyone else around him to the point that he felt like he wasn’t at the center of his own progress. He gave up on progressing when he blamed the coaching staff. And it was his parents who challenged his perspective by getting him to take ownership of his own success. That spurred him on to become the best player on one of the best teams in the country.

Just think about this when it comes to the cause and effect relationship in life. Think about people who go through life and who just blame things and they make excuses, they make alibis. When all is said and done, they’re not lazy. Laziness is just a symptom; the disease is their belief system. Their belief system says “I don’t believe I’m enough,” and so what you see is all the excuses, you see all the deflection, and you see the laziness.

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I share that with you because I believe every human being is born enough. Let me repeat that – every human being is born enough.

Starting on day one when we enter into the world, we start to be programmed by things, by parents, by friends, by siblings, by teachers, by bullies, by books, by TV shows. We get programmed to believe we aren’t enough, and so we deflect to other things and refuse ownership of our own lives.

We have to make a U-turn back to our beginning. That’s what Joel Berry was doing. He made a U-turn back to the beginning of where he started, when he believed that he was enough. And in order to keep up with that belief and prevent it from becoming diseased again, he has to basically tell himself every single day, “I am enough.” That’s what all of us have to do. We all have to tell ourselves, “I am enough,” every day to give ourselves the confidence and motivation to be a better version of ourselves every single day.

We have a crusade at FPG to convince 100,000 people that they are enough with our award-winning programs by 2023. And so I want you to be part of that. And once you’ve transformed, and you’re unleashed, I want you to start spreading the news. Trust me, you’ll want to spread the news. That’s why Joel Berry was so excited to tell everyone about his journey. So don’t think about what your boss is doing to limit you, or how your coworkers are the reason you can’t succeed. You are ultimately the captain of your own ship. The only person who can determine whether you succeed or fail in life isn’t your coaches, or your boss, or your peers.

It’s you.

I have a no shame policy everywhere I go. Everyone around you needs to build you up and make you feel bigger and stronger and more powerful. That’s what we do for our clients, our coworkers, our families, our friends and everyone we meet. So follow Joel Berry’s lead and become the cause of your success, not the effect of your problem.

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