I was deeply saddened to hear of the recent, sudden passing of Kobe Bryant.

Words cannot justify the sheer tragedy of his passing, not just for his family and friends, but for sports fans all over the world.

Undoubtedly a legend, Kobe was to basketball what Nadal is to tennis. His passion, drive and work ethic were renowned and are being celebrated world over.

Trying to find some sense amongst the tragedy, led me to think about how he became such a legend and find a little ray of hope amongst the bleak news being reported. Being a sports star alone doesn’t automatically qualify someone for the iconic status Kobe became known for. Not every sports star is honoured with the Empire State Building being lit up in purple and gold.

Whilst we’re not all sports legends, there’s lessons we can learn from Kobe’s brilliance to take into our own careers and lives.

Practicing Mindfulness

I’ve always felt a synergy from afar with Kobe who was a huge believer in mindfulness and practiced daily. Kobe believed that mindfulness set him up for the day and acted like an anchor for the challenges life presented him with. He felt it enabled him to have greater control, not of what was thrown at him, but how he responded to those moments with calmness and acceptance. All from just 10 minutes each morning.

Mental and emotional fitness

Becoming one of the world’s best athletes doesn’t just happen. Extraordinary talent isn’t enough alone – the recipe is far more complex, but one thing’s for sure, Kobe had it in spades. He was highly driven to be the best in his game and win, and to do so needed an attitude and mental fitness to match. Critical to his success was his mindset – a dogged determination to rise to every challenge, overcome it and win. He both took responsibility for his own actions and dared to believe he could always do better, excellent qualities we can cultivate from mindfulness.

Today’s busy and complex world often (quite rightly) leads to mental health being a topic high on the agenda. The world is waking up to prevention, not cure and to looking after our most valuable asset, our brain. When nurtured and nourished, the brain can support a happy, thriving mindset, so brilliantly demonstrated by Kobe. I sincerely hope that the mental strength and determination Kobe exhibited in his lifetime, flows onto his family during this tough time, and that we can all honour a legend by thinking, acting and behaving in a more conscious, mindful way.