By: A Student from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, from Heather Nelson‘s Service Leaning Class

What are the chances that a high school basketball player makes it to the NBA? Only 5.7% of high school basketball players will end up playing in the next college, and 0.9% when it comes to playing in division one. And only 1.2% of those who make it to the NCAA will go to the NBA. In total, the chances of a high school basketball player making it to the NBA is 0.002%. In other words, only two out of every 100,000 high school basketball players will go all the way. So, what’s the chance that a young Michael Jordan, who got cut from his High School varsity team, would not only make it to the NBA but dominate and become one of the most influential athletes in American history? The answer is 100% because Michael Jordan’s journey to cementing his name into basketball and American history was not by chance.
Legendary Athletes such as Michael Jordan aren’t created by chance. They are created through professional goal setting. Professional goal setting consists of both long-term and short-term goals. Long-term goals help you answer that age-long interview question, where do you see yourself five years from now? When creating a long-term goal, this question should always be in the back of your mind. Long-term goals must be SMART.

Specific – Precisely identify what you want to achieve with your goal.
Measurable – Goals should be kept track of to keep tabs on progress.
Attainable – Goals need to be realistic; goals that are unrealistic can be discouraging.
Relevant – Make sure your goals align with your beliefs and are related to your career.
Time-bound – Long-term goals need to be in the distant future; however, they should be close enough to push you toward working on your goal.

Although Long-term goals are essential for professional goal setting, young Michael Jordan wasn’t worried about making it to the NBA. He was just cut from his high school basketball team. Short-term goals are the keys to success. Michael Jordan was a fan of the Building Block approach, where you focus on one short-term goal after another. Another NBA legend Kobe Bryant was known for his goal of every practice making 800 jump shots. When creating a short-term goal, keep your long-term goal in mind. Short-term goals should be stepping blocks that help you reach your long-term goal. They can take up anywhere from a couple of days to three years. Think about all the skills, resources, certifications, and experiences you need to be successful in your career.
NBA athletes are great at utilizing professional goals but don’t have to be the only ones. Anyone with a dream can use professional goals and the means to accomplish that dream. However, setting up reasonable goals is a skill that takes time to master. Programs such as Omaha Skills Connection (OCP) help those who face economic challenges in the Omaha Northern and Southern areas. They provide individuals with access to skilled trades, career readiness assistance, and financial literacy. It can be hard to find that first step toward accomplishing your long-term goals, making the leap with OCP, and becoming the person you want. Don’t leave it up to chance.


James Clear. (2020, February 4). Lessons on success and deliberate practice from Mozart, Picasso, and Kobe Bryant. James Clear. Retrieved November 15, 2022, from,approach%20our%20work%20each%20day.

Peek, S. (2020, August 6). How to create long-term and short-term goals. Retrieved November 15, 2022, from

Provident Bank. (2020, September 25). The Michael Jordan Playbook of goal setting. Provident Bank – Loans, Checking, Savings, CDs – Serving NJ, NYC & PA. Retrieved November 15, 2022, from,anything%20was%20step%20by%20step.

#OCD #Michael Jordan #Career #Goals #Success

Omaha Skills Connection is a 501c3 non-profit organization located in Omaha, Nebraska established as a result of the post pandemic era to help bridge the skills gap between education, technology and today’s workforce. Omaha needs an educated, flexible and dynamic workforce in today’s knowledge-based economy.  OSC connects talent to opportunity, modernizing employee development for today’s workforce.