Walter Bond is an athlete, a former NBA player, and a successful motivational speaker. He travels the country and teaches people to be accountable. I am lucky enough to call Walter a friend, so I asked him to talk about his path to success and how his journey can help you with yours.
Dreams and Jobs
Walter was taught the value of hard work and accountability at an early age.
“When I was a kid, I knew I wanted to be a professional athlete and a successful businessperson. Literally, I’m living the dream I had when I was a kid. It wasn’t easy, but I never gave up on what I wanted. In today’s society, especially America, people give up so easily. At the slightest little discouragement, we throw in the towel.”
When I asked if Walter faced discouragement like the average person, he laughed.
“I had bumps and setbacks in my careers. The first time I spoke to an audience, I was paid a $25 gift certificate to Applebees. Eleven years later—by staying focused and committed—I speak over 100 times a year and I have traveled on private jets around the country.”
Walter was recently named one of the Top Speakers in America. The list includes luminaries from Colin Powell to Jay Leno.
Not everyone works in the NBA or flies on a private jet. What about the guy who might have a job that isn’t rewarding or fulfilling?
Walter said, “I’m going to give you the million dollar secret.”
I like secrets.
“American children are taught to go to school, get an education, and find a good job with benefits. I believe in turning the model upside-down. Don’t decide a career. Discover a gift. If you allow a gift to drive your career decisions, you’ll have a lot more success and you’ll have a lot more money.”
Feedback and Growth
Even as the economy recovers, it’s tough out there. The recession has taken its toll on worker confidence and motivation. As his own boss, I asked Walter how he stays motivated, positive, and focused on his own personal development.
“I am my own worst critic, but I am confident in my gifts. When I left the court in the NBA, I focused on what I did wrong and how I could improve my game. As a keynote speaker, I leave the stage and I ask myself, ‘What could I have done better?’
Having confidence means that correcting yourself isn’t an indictment. When you follow your gift and know you’re good, it’s okay to strive to do better.”
Personal Accountability At Work
When I asked Walter how people could be more accountable for their jobs and careers during a global recession, the answer was quick and clear.
“Don’t blame your boss, your parents, or your upbringing for the challenges you face. Take responsibility. Your life is your fault—good or bad. Once you are accountable, you are in control.”
Closing Thoughts on ‘Developing Your Gifts’ and Accountability
Walter ended our conversation by reminding me that the path of least resistance isn’t the most effective way to navigate your career. In fact, it will often lead you astray.
“Don’t decide a career. Discover your God-given gift and develop it. Development isn’t an easy way out, though. I am my own worst critic. I believe that if you are easy on yourself, life will be hard on you. If you are hard on yourself, life is easy on you.”
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