NBA Player, Walter Bond: You Must Have a Shark Mindset To Succeed In Life and Business

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As I work on starting a foundation to provide grants and other resources for ParentPreneurs, I will regularly feature inspirational people who are parents and entrepreneurs.

Like many of you during the Coronavirus lockdown, I am taking the time to meet new people and develop meaningful relationships. A good friend (who will be on the blog soon) recently introduced me to Walter Bond and invited me to join Walter’s now closed LinkedIn group.

Walter is a top keynote speaker, former NBA player, and author of the book,
Swim!: How a Shark, a Suckerfish, and a Parasite Teach You Leadership, Mentoring, and Next Level Success

And he is, you guessed it, a parent! So I’m here for all of it.

Check out this NBA highlight video of Walter. In the end, you see him putting a nice little move on Michael Jordan.

That’s what’s up.

NBA Player, Walter Bond: You Must Have a Shark Mindset To Succeed In Life and Business | @walterbond Click To Tweet

I caught up with Walter for a little Q&A; I hope you are inspired by him and will benefit from his persistence in life and business.

Who is Walter Bond?
I am a Chicago native, former NBA athlete turned Hall of Fame speaker and business coach.

How did you make it to the NBA? Did you have mentors? When did you know you could play with NBA players?

I made it to the NBA through determination, faith, and great coaches and mentors. I came off the bench in college and broke my foot twice. So the NBA looked like it wasn’t in the cards for me.

I always thought I was good enough but didn’t see myself getting a real shot after a decent college career. A conversation with my dad was the final push.

I was about to take a job as a hospital administrator and he asked did I think I was good enough for the NBA. I thought he was nuts for even bringing it up, but by the end of the conversation, I knew what I had to do.

Also, in high school, we got a chance to play with NBA guys and they mentored us. Because of that experience, I remembered I could play at that level.

What did you learn as an NBA player that prepared you to be an entrepreneur and a parent?

The most powerful lesson I learned from the NBA was to reach your potential you must master the fundamentals of basketball (dribbling, shooting, etc). In business, you must master the fundamentals of business (marketing, sales, etc.).

In parenting, you better master love patience and discipline.

How did you transition from a professional basketball player to an entrepreneur? What happened when you learned of the salary discrepancy between the NBA and corporate America?

I felt forced to become an entrepreneur. At 33 the only offers I received were entry-level jobs. I couldn’t support my family on $30,000 per year and I believed I was worth much more. So we launched our company in 2001.

How was it starting your entrepreneurial journey while being a parent? What were the biggest challenges?

We worked inside the house and keeping a professional feel and look when our phone rang was most important. Our kids were very young when we started, so they learned that when they hear this ring….BE QUIET!!!!

This was before working out of your home was popular. Being professional was everything, and coming from a sports background and being a minority I had to make sure we presented ourselves very professionally.

That was our biggest challenge….SSSSHHHH!!!!!

What is a shark mindset and why did you write your book?
The book happened organically on a fishing trip. I caught a Suckerfish and the captain explained to me what it was and how it survived in the ocean.

The Shark mindset is based on our Sacred Six in our book SWIM. It’s the reason why sharks run the ocean. They operate at a higher level than every other fish.

What are the three most important aspects of a shark mindset?
Sharks never stop moving forward, they outwork every other fish, they only look up and they don’t look down…positive!

And they are great teammates, they work in tandem with Suckerfish.

What role does your wife play in your business?
My wife is our COO, she runs operations behind the scenes. She works harder than I do.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
Choose a college to play basketball that will bless you forty years after you are done playing, and not just for four years.

Boom! There you have it.

Walter is a beast and a great dude. If you need an inspirational keynote speaker or a coach, check out Walter here to book him.

NBA Player, Walter Bond: You Must Have a Shark Mindset To Succeed In Life and Business |@walterbond Click To Tweet