Steph Curry is one of the best basketball players on the planet. He recently broke his own record for most three-pointers in a single season, his Golden State Warriors just ended the season with an NBA-best 67 wins, and he’s the favorite for the NBA’s MVP award this year.
But the Golden State Warriors weren’t always the team to beat, and Curry wasn’t always a household name. Curry knew he had the potential to be great, and those around him knew it too, but a couple of years ago, he was not a widely-known entity. That all changed when he let loose and started playing his game.
In 2013, Curry was snubbed for the NBA All-Star Game. There was buzz in the media that he should have been there—and players who were less deserving than Curry were there, but the fact remained that he wasn’t there.
Curry handled it with grace, saying all the right things, but after the All-Star break, he was a changed player. He played as though he had something to prove. More importantly, he played loose and relaxed and confident. He started launching three-pointers from several feet behind the arc; he started driving through the lane more aggressively; he started taking over games. It was as if he knew that to get off that bubble, where maybe he’d be great and maybe he wouldn’t, he had to show what he could do. And what he can do is incredible.
Less than two weeks after the All-Star game, Curry set his career scoring record with 54 points against the New York Knicks, in Madison Square Garden. The previous night, he had 38 against the Indiana Pacers. It was a glorious thing to behold, and anyone paying attention could see that Curry was a changed player. Rather than being a contained young player, he emerged as a confident, comfortable player who was undeniably an all-star. He found, and showed the world, his game.
As freelancers, finding our game is vital. There is too much noise to be just another designer or developer or writer or photographer. What sets you (and me) apart from the pack?
As I grow and develop the Freelance Cat, I’m still working this out: what can I offer that is extraordinary? What do I do better than anyone else? What’s my unique perspective? These are the questions that will take our freelancing careers to the next level.
Freelancing is an incredible opportunity to get loose and do what you do best. There’s no time to play it safe or try to be someone you’re not. Freelancing can bring freedom, purpose and a sense of self that you’ll not find working for someone else, but only if you bring your most confident, inspired self to your work.
The question then becomes, will you let go of fear and become what you’re capable of becoming, or hold on and try to be what you think others want you to be?
I know what Curry would do.
Top photo: Keoni Cabral (CC BY 2.0)