I often wonder why the Miami Heat don’t win every time they get on the court. They can. But injuries and off nights and competitors that have a genius night contribute to losses. No one is on every day, all the time. Just look at Tiger over the past three years or Rory McElroy yesterday, or an MLB hitter during a slump.

The important quality in a high performer is the ability to rise up to meet a challenge when it’s important. LeBron James understands how to access his genius when the circumstances warrant and he is motivated.

Last night was evidence of this as he stepped up in the third quarter of critical game in the Heat – Pacers series of the NBA Playoffs.

LeBron James pic for blog-3

Here is Heat player Udonis Haslem’s description of LeBron’s shift in energy after half-time when the Heat trailed by four points. “It’s not an expression, it’s not a smile, it’s not a frown, it’s not a grimace. It’s just a look of determination. It’s a look that says I’m not going to quit. It’s a look that says I’m going to do whatever it takes to put us in a position to win the game.”

James had this to say about his half-time locker room talk with his teammates. “We just had no sense of urgency. We were just waiting for the game to change instead of going to get it. Instead of going to make plays and make things happen and make changes, we were waiting for things to happen… Before we took the floor in the third quarter, I just gave them a little piece of my mind and a piece of my voice, and we [were] able to respond.”

On occasion, a champion sumo wrester will forfeit a match before it begins. When a wrester sees “the look” in his opponent’s eyes he knows it’s futile to fight. That look of determination tells it all.

Too often we think we are all in. We try to convince others as we are convincing ourselves that we’re playing our hardest. But usually there is more.

To access your true potential start with an authentic determination to do what it takes to prevail. Everything starts with that decision. When you have made that decision, others will see the “the look.” Until they see that look you’re not all in. Others respond to your look – this is leadership.