To be at Kobe’s last game … oh my what an experience!! Getting to see Black Mamba score 60 points in his final outing as a life-long Laker was a night I will never forget. Through the generosity of a good friend, we sat in the 12th row for a moment that will live in basketball infamy. What a night!

As we drove home in the afterglow of being in the presence of basketball’s elite, I reflected on the amazing and undeniable work ethic of Kobe Bryant. For 20 years, slugging it out every day to become the one of the greatest the game has ever seen. I could only think of the word passionate.

I read this interesting article this week that Kobe got up early the 1st day of retirement, worked out and then went into the office. I love it! Of course he did! One of the greatest shouldn’t just be able to turn it all off! How crushing it would be wake up to … well, nothing, the next day. His passion drives him forward, even after the game was over. I admire Kobe for his basketball achievements, and I imagine he’ll still be incredibly passionate about the game and his post-game career. I also think he’ll learn to value the slower side of life as well, and enjoy retirement … or maybe take up baseball.

We celebrate passion in our work culture. We use the word to describe people who are dedicated and focused and accomplished. We even use it to describe our worship of God. If you’re not fiercely passionate about something, you’re wasting your life. But I wonder if just beyond a healthy passion is a workaholic. Just beyond being passionate is a youth worker who doesn’t have healthy boundaries or “off time” to relax and recharge.

If you haven’t figured it out yet … this article isn’t about Kobe … it is about me. I am deeply passionate, motivated and never try to waste a minute of any day God has given me. But taking vacation isn’t wasting minutes. It is savoring them. Time with your family or spouse isn’t a withdrawal on your time, it makes your time deeper and more meaningful.

I’m hoping to learn this better and better each day! Thoughts?