Among the Giants:
How One Underdog Pursued His Dreams & You Can Too!
by Jesse LeBeau
The sound of the basketball slapping the floor echoed hollowly in the gym, as I began working it playfully with my hands. Planning my next move, I locked eyes with my opponent. I noticed small beads of sweat beginning to form in the furrow between his eyebrows. My heart was pounding, and my nerves tightened in response . . . but slowly a smile formed on my lips. Here I was, 5’8” Jesse LeBeau, going one on one with basketball superstar Kevin Durant . . . and I was making him sweat! As I started to make my move on him, I briefly wondered, “How did a skinny kid from a small town in Alaska ever get the chance to do this?” Here I was, involved in the filming of the 2012 Warner Brother’s basketball movie Thunderstruck, playing against the NBA scoring champion! It shouldn’t have happened. I didn’t fit the profile and anyone would have told you that. But I did make it, despite the odds. And here is my story . . .
Growing up as an undersized white basketball player on a remote island in Alaska, Jesse had nearly every chip stacked against him. Yet despite his size and circumstances, he managed to rise above it all and make it to the big screen in Hollywood. With only the love of the game of basketball and the tenacity to follow a dream driving him, Jesse’s persistence has led him to star in national commercials and movies with some of the most recognizable celebrities and professional athletes in the world. More importantly, he found a way to tweak the system and alter his dream and get paid to do what he loves to . . . every day! Be inspired by his story and learn the keys to successfully creating a life that is uniquely yours.
You probably aren’t going to like this, and maybe you won’t even agree with me, but I’m here to tell you this today: if you aren’t happy with your life, it’s your own fault. We all possess the ability to create the life we want. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, and make your life what you want it to be. Stop blaming other people. Stop making excuses. Imagine if you took that wasted time and energy and used it to change your circumstances and fix the things you don’t like. What kind of life would you have then? I’d be willing to bet it would be a lot better. The highest achievers don’t blame others and make excuses. They don’t expect someone else to make them happy, and they don’t have a sense of entitlement and expect everything to be handed to them on a silver platter. They make it happen. They start taking different action steps to get different results. This attitude is what makes all the difference between those who are great and live happy lives and those who don’t.
There is only one person who is responsible for the quality of your life, and you guessed it: that person is you. Everything that is happening in your life is the result of your previous actions or lack thereof. That makes you the grand master in charge of the current state of your life. Our human nature conditions us to blame external factors that are out of our control to give us a scapegoat. But the truth of the matter is, it all comes back to how we choose to respond to each event that determines our outcome. Like I mentioned before, we can’t always control the things that happen to us; the only thing we have the power to control is our attitude and how we choose to respond. The choice is yours. Take charge of your life. Think better thoughts. Visualize more positive outcomes. Take the action necessary to get what you want. This will determine everything for you and your life. Stop wasting your time being unhappy. Choose wisely, and take 100 percent ownership for your life.
What was the best advice you received as a young man that helped you to focus on your goals? How did it impact your thinking?
One of the biggest lessons my father passed down to me early on was that “attitude is everything.” To this day, these are some of the most powerful words of wisdom I have ever received. Every day of our lives we are faced with actions, and we get to choose our reaction. We can decide how to act in any situation. How cool is that? Even when the chips are down and the ball isn’t bouncing our way, we can choose to be happy. No one can steal that from us. The choice to live an amazingly fulfilling life is up to one person and one person only—you. One of the most important decisions you can ever make is simply this: take ownership of your life, and be the master of your own attitude. It’s a choice, and ball is in your court. Choose wisely.
Sports beautifully illustrate the importance of attitude. If you’ve spent any time at all in the sports world, you know that you fail all the time in sports— usually more than you succeed. The best baseball players in the world are able to get a hit only 30 percent of the time. This means that a major league baseball player, who gets paid millions of dollars and is the best at his profession, fails at his job at least seven out of ten times. The best basketball players in the world are considered great if they make even half of the shots they attempt.
I’ve played a ton of sports in my life, and even though I was a good athlete, I spent much more time losing than I ever did winning. But losing in sports teaches us how to win in life. If you fail to see the bigger life lessons that sports are meant to teach us, and what they reveal about our character, then you’ve missed the boat completely. So you lost the big game, you missed the big shot, dropped the critical pass, fumbled the routine grounder, or (fill in the blank). What are you going to do now? Are you going to scream at the referee? Yell at your teammates and blame them? Say it’s your coach’s fault? Never play the sport again? Walk away with your tail between your legs? Tell people you don’t care in order to save face? Punch the wall? Throw your glove? Give up and quit? This may sound funny, but I’ve seen every single one of these things happen more times than I can count. If you are a close observer like I am, then I’m sure you have seen it, too.
Growing up, I was taught to look at things differently. I was less concerned with the mistake that was made and more interested in how the situation was handled. What did the tough moment reveal about the person’s character? Is this person the master of his or her attitude? This really tells me who is going to be a winner in the end. True winners run off the field after striking out and high-fives their teammates, even if they don’t feel like it. They miss the line drive and immediately turn and sprint after the ball to the fence and get it into the infield as quickly they can. They drop the pass and run back to the line and get ready for the next snap, and the next day they stay after practice and do more drills so they don’t make the same mistake. They miss a big shot and keep their head up because they know that failure is a part of sports. More importantly, they know that failure is a part of life. Losing a game doesn’t make you a loser. The difference between a winner and loser is all in the attitude. Winners choose to embrace their mistakes and become better because of them. Losers don’t.
Look to develop a strong, focused, and good attitude. If you take your mistakes in stride and stop blaming others, you can focus on becoming better and making life’s next “play” to the best of your ability. In my life, I’ve benefitted tremendously from having a good attitude. For one, I am (for the most part) obnoxiously happy, which is a great way to live life. Even when the chips are down, you can look around and find others who have it a lot worse and would love to be in your shoes. This has taught me to be grateful for what I have. Having a good attitude also attracts people to you. Nobody wants to be around a “Negative Nancy” who’s always taking a trip to “negative town.” People want to be around others that are upbeat; it makes them feel good. I choose to have a good attitude. I’ve had to work at it, so now it’s a habit. You can do the same thing. Choose to find the positive and be happy; it’s the best way to live!
For a free download of Jesse LeBeau’s eBook ‘What Allen Iverson Taught Me About Life’ visit www.JesseLeBeau.com
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Over the course of the last couple years, Jesse has propelled himself from a small, Alaskan fishing town to the Hollywood big screen, being seen by millions all over the world. By leveraging his love of the game of basketball and making the most of every opportunity, he has successful created a life all his own. At 5’8”, he may not be an NBA player, but by tweaking his dream, he has been able to use his passion (basketball) to star in national commercials and movies, work with pro athletes and celebrities, and even give back on a regular basis as a motivational speaker for youth. His underdog story, outlined in his book, Among the Giants, serves as an inspiration to anyone who has ever been told they can’t make their dream a reality.
Jesse was born and raised on Pennock Island, Alaska, where his mother worked as a school teacher and his father was involved in the logging industry. Jesse played basketball growing up, but no one wanted to take him seriously, and coaches told him he was too small and would never make it. Despite his critics, he believed not only in himself but also in the plan God had for him. Jesse has experienced big wins and frustrating losses, but both triumph and defeat helped him grow as a leader and a person, and helped deepen his faith.
Today, he uses his message to motivate and inspire young people around the world as a speaker and author. Combining his love of basketball, speaking, and entertaining, Jesse founded the Fab4 Takeover, which brings celebrities into schools to teach and impact students. He also released an instructional dribbling DVD titled Dribble Like a Star. For a free download from the DVD visit www.JesseleBeau.com or text the word ‘DVD ‘to the number 58885. You can find more information, read news in the press, watch highlight video footage, and follow Jesse on a more personal level at the following websites:
To purchase Among The Giants on Amazon visit: http://amzn.to/1gg7apn
To get a free download from his DVD visit: http://bit.ly/U9w32m
To get a free download from his eBook “What Allen Iverson Taught Me About Life” visit: www.JesseLeBeau.com
Jesse will be awarding a signed Deuce Brand watch to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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