How do you want people to think of you? What impact should that have on your daily decisions now? Kobe Bryant is one of the best known athletes of all time. In addition to earning countless NBA awards, Kobe scored two gold Olympic medals. Even after retiring from basketball, he will continue to be a household name and influencer. What can real estate investors take away from his life, business game, and mindset to achieve their own goals? Plan for a Long, Strategic Game “These young guys are playing checkers. I’m out there playing chess.” — Kobe Bryant Want more articles like this? Create an account today to get BiggerPocket's best blog articles delivered to your inbox Sign up for free Both professional sports careers and investing in real estate are long games. There may be sprints, intermittent tournaments, and different seasons, but the picture is far larger than any single game or deal. Related: Steph Curry Shoots ‘Til He Makes 500 3-Pointers Every Day: Here’s the Crucial Lesson That Teaches Us One of the biggest mistakes that real estate investors make is only having a five-year plan. That’s a plan for disaster. If you still want to be successful in 20 years (or after you are gone), get a 100-year plan! Remain Loyal & Build Long-Term Relationships Staying loyal and building long-term relationships is crucial for winning the long game. Kobe stayed with the LA Lakers his entire career. That is virtually unheard of across all sports. Most players are just rushing off to the next team that looks like it could help them look better for that season or who offers them a little more money. Or teams trade players if they have a poor season, suffer from a secret injury, or if the team needs to save a few bucks. Being loyal and developing those relationships, even when you don’t technically owe the other person or company anything, is going to make a huge difference. If you want uncommon results, you have to take an uncommon approach. Keep Constant Focus Kobe Bryant is human like anyone else. He admitted to having self-doubt and even to feeling the effects of age on his game. Yet he was intensely focused on the game, on winning championships, and chose a perspective that constantly drove him forward in spite of it all. That’s not to say that Kobe didn’t mess up. He almost destroyed his career and had complications in his personal life. All it takes is one moment of weakness to throw your entire future away — and to instantly change a lifetime of good by only being remembered for a single bad deed. Investing in real estate is a privilege. It’s not a right. Thousands have thrown that away by losing focus of the purpose and have gone broke or gone to jail. There is a lot of temptation to take shortcuts out there. To avoid those traps, it is vital to remember your biggest goals, how you want to be remembered, that you can’t afford to slip up for a minute, and to stay actively vigilant. Aside from reviewing your goals daily and surrounding yourself with the right people and environment, one of the best ways to do that is with accountability partners. Related: 3 Survival Lessons Real Estate Investors Can Take From Jason Bourne Summary Today, Kobe is best known as a major philanthropist who is an ambassador for after school programs and has given $1M to help veterans. And it is worth noting that some of his best plays and most notable awards came after his slip up. So no matter where you are in your game today, there can be a bigger, brighter future ahead. To achieve that and hold onto it, I believe that people should be making decisions based upon the long-term plan, not short-term profit. This always goes back to creating more value than you take in a business relationship — or in any relationship, for that matter. At the end of the day, everyone has their own personal brand. So the question is, what do you want people to feel when they think of you? How are you going to achieve that? [Photo by Keith Allison (Flickr: Kobe Bryant) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.] What have you learned from Kobe’s legendary career? Do you apply these three lessons to your business endeavors? Let me know with a comment!