Dre Baldwin is a professional basketball player, international social media expert, entrepreneur, speaker, author, and business coach. He is the owner of Work on Your Game Inc., a company where he personally coaches and helps people develop their Bulletproof Mindset so they can start being the person they need to be. Aside from being an athlete and coach on self-discipline, mindset, branding and entrepreneurship, Baldwin also has authored 27 books and over 100 athletic training programs.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
I grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. My childhood was shaped by two attentive and loving parents. My mother was big into education and had both my sister and me reading and writing from a young age. This influenced my future as an author and professional speaker.
Aside from that, I was always drawn into sports, which planted the seed for my future as a professional athlete.
I have plenty of stories from my childhood that shaped my adult life! I will focus on one: my struggle to make myself first into a mediocre basketball player on the amateur level, then a high school and college player, and then to become a professional player as a young adult.
The biggest challenge with that was that I did not have any guidance or teacher or anyone taking me under their wing to help me learn the game. I was self-taught as an athlete, long before we had social media, online influencers, or YouTube videos to learn from.
That experience taught me that I could make anything happen as long as I stayed focused, disciplined, and had a strong-enough reason to keep working at it. It sounds cliche, and cliches are based on truth.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
The value of personal development!
I was always into what we now know as “personal development,” reading books on human psychology, thinking, and action. What I didn’t know was that there was a specific genre based around it.
No one ever directed me towards it until I was in college and I had an experience with network marketing, believe it or not. At every meeting, the speakers would always direct us to read and consume more “personal development.” I didn’t even know what that was, but once I started looking into the people whose name means they often mentioned – Napoleon Hill, Brian Tracy, and Jim Rohn, to name a few – I realized that this is the exact topic that I had always been interested in.
I wish I had known about it sooner; I would have been reading personal development from a much younger age had I known it existed. When I have children, they will be well-versed in personal development as soon as they can read.
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
The biggest one would be the concept of “Faking it till you make it” when it comes to confidence.
“Fake it till you make it” is not a real thing; when you tell yourself you are faking or pretending it eventually ends. Then you are back to being whoever you were before you started the faking.
The best way to change your self-image would be to actually become it, not fake it. Assume the posture and self-image of the person you plan on becoming in the future, do that now.
Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?
That would be in the early years of my professional basketball career overseas when I found myself an unsigned free agent with no job prospects.
I didn’t like that situation because I had no control over my career or my income, and I didn’t know if or when I would find my next time. As an adult, you could understand that this was a crisis situation!
My solution was to ask myself a really good question: how do I find the intersection between things that I love, like basketball, something I was really good at, like the internet, and something that I can make money from?
The result was what eventually became my brand and company. The happy ending was that I did actually get more professional basketball playing opportunities anyway; so I basically had two careers going at the same time for many years.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
Show up every day and do the work!
This is one of the basics of the “Work On Your Game” philosophy and one of the main things that people know me for; people come to me knowing that I will provide them the tools to keep their mental game activated and also the Frameworks to help them show up and do their work on a consistent basis to produce long-term results.
What is your morning routine?
3:45 AM Wake up.
4:00 Drink 1 liter of water, yoga, stretch. Eat 2 bananas
4:45 Workout (Some combination of Weights and Cardio or Boxing)
5:30 Foam Roll, Shower, Shave
6:30 Walk 1 ½ mile.
7:00 Protein shake
7:30 Check email, staff messages, sales reports
8:00 Daily call with Assistant
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
Getting around other people who are doing similar things to me in different ways, and those who are doing better. This is the Law Of Association in action.
We all have heard that we become the average of the people we spend the most time around, and it’s true! Other people have ideas, experiences, and connections that we don’t have. We could get these things the hard way, living through every experience on our own. The easier way is learning through other people, leveraging their experience and resources for our own personal benefits. We also offer our resources and experiences to other people, so it’s a symbiotic relationship.
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
1) Pay less attention to what anyone else is doing. This is the biggest thing that saves me time.
2) Have a consistent routine to follow every single day. This cuts down on decision-making time and procrastination.
3) Factoring in time-wasting time for browsing social media, checking email, etc. We all do it; the problem is when we try to fight it or schedule our days as if we won’t do it! I factor in time for doing this, so I don’t feel guilty when I am doing it.
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. It was my introduction to the light and dark sides of human nature. I had always been interested in human psychology, but this was the first book that talked about it in such a way as for me to understand that both sides needed to be addressed; not just the positive, you-can-do-it side of life.
The Law Of Success by Napoleon Hill. This is a very long book, and worth every minute. Hill covers every aspect of achievement with the what, how, and why angles covered. The book was written nearly 100 years ago and it is still perfectly relevant now.
The 50th Law By Robert Greene and 50 Cent. This one is about fear and learning how to deal with it. Important because we all deal with fear on some level in life; the book argues that our inability to deal with and handle fear is the main thing that holds many of us back. This book helps me see a lot of my own weaknesses and forced me to address them.
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
I have too many to list them all!
The most important one is “Work On Your Game,” by me. It encompasses my brand and entire life and business philosophy. Everyone has a “game” — like you in doing this interview — and you are always either getting better or getting worse.