On Aug. 22, we were joined for a special talk by NBA veteran and four-time league champion Andre Iguodala. The all-star swingman, who played in the league for almost two decades, spoke candidly about his experience as an athlete, an investor, and a father.

Here are 10 takeaways from Iguodala’s fireside chat with the Infinitus team:

  1. Our traumas can define us – or not. “It’s about taking [traumatic] moments as fuel,” Iguodala said, “and using them as catalysts to not get trapped.” Iguodala did everything he could to make sure he could use his foundational experiences to help him move beyond the challenges he faced growing up.
  1. Being in-tune with your craft is key. That’s the case whether you’re a professional athlete or an engineer or anything else. When you can fill your environment with things that will help you with your craft, “it’s all going to flow together, and you’re going to raise your level,” Iguodala said. He shared a story of teaching his budding athlete son to brush his teeth with his left (nondominant) hand, to help him build up strength on both sides. “When you can eventually do things without thinking,” he said, “that’s finding the flow.”
  1. Know yourself. In striving for balance, Iguodala went on a mission to learn. He studied sleep, pilates, his diet, and more. “Everything you do becomes about how you perform [in the NBA],” he said, but the more you learn about yourself, the better version of yourself you become in general.
  1. Never let bad days affect your relationships. Iguodala emphasized that he did his best to never let bad days – no matter how bad – impact his relationships with his teammates. While his teammates might have seen him upset on rare occasions, he made sure not to let disappointment impact his role on the team.
  1. There is such a thing as a bad win. “It sounds insane,” Iguodala admitted. But there can be what he called “slippages” – on NBA teams, but also for large, successful companies. A team or a company might win so much they forget about what got them there. A loss of fundamentals can happen in sports and in business, he said. It’s important to always remember the basics. “Success is about maximizing potential,” Iguodala said. “… and not allowing for slippage.”
  1. “Don’t watch just to watch.” That’s advice Iguodala gave about watching game film – but it applies to companies too. It’s important, when reviewing film, reading notes, or even watching a recording of a call with a client or potential customer, to have an intention of what you’re looking for and what you can learn from, and to take good notes. 
  1. Balance is hard. And it’s hard no matter who you are or what you do. “It’s one thing I’ve never figured out,” Iguodala said, of striving for balancing his pursuit of professional greatness with time for his family. 
  1. Preparation matters. As soon as the NBA season schedule comes out (which is months before the actual season begins), players and staff are strategizing how best to tackle it, identifying when the longest road trips occur or when they’re facing the toughest opponents. Companies do this too. But just as it is for all humans, preparation extends to family and personal life too, and plays a big role in success. 
  1. Be curious. Iguodala said he’s always been curious, and that’s something that’s benefitted him all his life – especially as he’s become an investor. “If you’re going to invest in a startup, you need to know why you’re investing,” he said. “What is the problem it’s fixing, and why does that problem need a fix?” Becoming knowledgeable helps when you’re betting on a company’s success. “We call it bending the risk curve,” he said.
  2. A little bit of crazy can be a good thing. “Think about it,” Iguodala said. “Our best entertainers all have a little bit of crazy in them – but they’re brilliant at the same time.”