He's a point guard who's making a point, loud and clear. The New York Knicks' Jeremy Lin proves it's time to ditch two stereotypes: that Asian Americans aren't NBA material -- and that brainy Harvard graduates aren't either. More importantly, Lin is influencing many people with unrecognized talents that they, too, may one day claim the spotlight.
Lin's sudden ascent from undrafted benchwarmer to global superstar is crushing records. He outdueled Kobe Bryant. He scored more points in his first five starts than anyone since 1976. His No.17 jersey quickly became the top seller in the NBA, even though the humble Lin didn't even know it was available.
The Taiwanese-American sensation has taken a bottom-feeding team and singlehandedly transformed it into the league's must-see team. The NBA is thrilled. Linsanity has helped the league overcome the ugliness of the season-starting lockout and is making an impact in the coveted Chinese market. Most importantly, Lin's spirit has raised the psyche of Asians around the globe. Even Taiwan's President, Ma Ying-jeou, is asking his cabinet to emulate Lin and work together as a team.
Lin's talents are inspiring his teammates and fans alike. He came from nowhere to become a top trender on Twitter. And his team's web traffic has grown an astounding 3,000 percent in a week.
But what explains how a guy who rode the bench is now carrying this off? I believe the answer comes from one of his former Harvard coaches, Bill Holden. Holden has said, "The bigger the stage, the more he brings it."
Now we're getting somewhere. Beyond his ball-handling skills, the secret sauce is Lin's ability to embrace his own influence. If you're a person whose talents have been unrecognized or under-appreciated, here are a few tips to help you "bring it" when you get your big break:
- Influence begins within. When faced with an opportunity, first convince yourself that you're worthy. You are.
- Inner boldness is key. When the stakes are high, rise up. Don't hold back. Be fueled by a sense purpose, not a fear of failure.
- Tap into your higher purpose. Believe there's something greater in play than just you. There always is.
- Don't allow ethnicity, gender slights or lack of recognition to derail your efforts. Own your talents.
Jeremy Lin is proving that he can handle more than a basketball. He's handling the spotlight and all the pressure that accompanies it. You can, too. Influence begins within -- embrace it. You'll see success coming -- even if no one else does.
An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Lin was Taiwanese-born.