Coffee with Kampas | January 31, 2020

The Mamba Mentality

In today’s #CoffeeWithKampas, EMPIST Founder & CEO John Kampas honors the legendary work ethic and passion of Kobe Bryant both on and off the court.

By now, I am sure you have heard about the 9 people that lost their lives on Sunday when their helicopter crashed in L.A.  All 9 people aboard were killed, including Kobe Bryant and his 13-year daughter Gianna.  My condolences go out to their families, and anyone impacted by this tragedy.

I must admit, this has rattled me.  I didn’t know Kobe Bryant personally, but I did follow his legendary basketball career from 1996 to 2016 and more recently his business and philanthropic progress.  He proved that talent will only get you so far, but talent combined with work ethic and grit is what makes you great.  He showed all of us that hard work plus determination is what leads to success.  5 NBA championships, 18 all-star appearances, MVP, and he still had the first one in, last one out work ethic.  This is respected by many; including me.  So many players around the league and entrepreneurs have stories about Kobe. The success he had on and off the court didn’t happen by accident; it took a lot of hard work.

Kobe was a legend.  He touched the lives of so many people and left a mark that will last for generations.  This is something that I hope I can do – albeit at a smaller level.  I have gone through my share of challenges – times when I questioned if I was doing the right thing.  Kobe said: “Everything negative – pressure, challenges – is all an opportunity for me to rise.”  This is one of my favorite quotes of his.  I frequently remind myself of this as it’s a cornerstone of the Mamba Mentality – which Kobe crafted.  Mamba mentality is all about focusing on the process and trusting in the hard work when it matters most.

What I think shook me the most is the gut check reality on how quickly things can change.  We should all be grateful for what we have and cherish every minute of it – because it can be gone in a blink of an eye.  Be thankful and appreciative for what you have.  This relates to your personal and business life.  Your family, your coworkers, your health, your job and your business.  Always be kind, empathetic, and try to give more than you get.  Do what you can to leave a mark on people so that they will remember you for something good.  You don’t know when it will come to an end.  Be the best version of yourself each day.

If you would have asked me last week, I would have told you that I was already doing all that. But as I have been reflecting since this tragedy, there is more that I can do.  I ask myself, what if it were gone tomorrow?  What would I regret?

A time when I didn’t thank someone?

A time when I was not there when my family needed me?

A time when I missed my son’s basketball game?

A time when I did not provide a great customer experience?

A time when I found myself not giving 110%?

A time when I didn’t identify the potential in someone?

The list could go on.  I work with so many amazing people that I care deeply about; I have an amazing family who I love more than anything.  For me, it is family over all else.  Blood and work families are most important to me and I try to lead by example.  First one in, last one out, Just like Kobe.  Never retreat and always try to outwork my competition.   I hope no one would ever question my work ethic, but I also know I can do more.

I leave you with this.  Wake up every morning like it could be your last.  Don’t take things for granted.  Thank your coworkers for being there for you, thank your customers for being your customers, tell your family you love them and put 110% effort into everything you do.  Thank you, Kobe, for reminding me what is important. Your message has not gone unheard.


Mamba Mentality for life.