Watching the Wimbledon finals a couple of weeks ago was an experience – an amazing example of determination, focus and resilience by some of the best tennis players. These are remarkable sportswomen and men who achieve great results mainly because they don’t give up when facing hard ships. They manage their mental focus, stay in the zone and keep their attention on the game. Importantly, they play until the last ball.
Behind their achievements are years and in some cases decades of work, training and experiences. These experiences include the great moments of victory but also failures, mistakes and hardships. They haven’t got where they are by doing one massive step but by doing thousands of small steps and learning every single time they hit the ball.
They have been able to stay at the top for so long – especially in the case of Roger Federer – because they love what they do. People who do well in sport do so because of their skills, talents but also their mindset and attitude. The latter is what affects their success most. Often this is reflected in their personal lives. There’s a lot we can learn from them. As Roger said: ‘You have to believe in the long-term plan you have but you need the short-term goals to motivate and inspire you.’
Find something in life that you love – work that brings you joy, and time almost stops when you are doing it. It is this activity that has the power to bring you happiness and satisfaction. Because you will be using your strengths – it will bring you success. Find what you are good at and practice it. Stay with it and get better.
As Burnett and Evans said in their book Designing Your Life: ‘Work can be a daily source of enormous joy and meaning, or it can be an endless grind and waste of hours spent trying to white-knuckle our way through the misery of it all until the weekend comes. […] You weren’t put on this earth to work eight hours a day at a job you hate until the time comes to die.’ A statement that says it all.
There is an ideal career/calling for everybody. Sometimes what it takes is to pause and reflect; decide where you want to be and then work backwards by making smaller steps and designing your life in a way that works for you. If you feel stuck get a coach who will help you to get clarity over your next steps. Your coach will support you, empower you and make you accountable when you decide and commit to make a change.
I will finish with Roger Federer’s quote: ‘I always believe if you’re stuck in a hole and maybe things aren’t going well you will come out stronger. Everything in life is this way.’