Whether it's the World Cup in Soccer, the Super Bowl in American Football, the Masters in Golf, or the majors in tennis, when the best athletes compete against each other, the lessons learned for all of us are abundant. This year’s Wimbledon Championships were no exception. Here are 5 of my key takeaways from the tournament that you can apply to improve your performance:
.01 WHERE YOU START IS FAR LESS IMPORTANT THAN WHERE YOU FINISH //
When Roger Federer was 15 years old, he was known as a kid with great potential but with a self-declared horrible mindset. His temper tantrums of throwing his tennis rackets were an embarrassment to his family and his coach, Peter Carter. However, when Carter was killed in a horrible car accident just before Federer's 21st birthday, he looked at himself in the mirror and said he would clean his act up, commit himself to achieve his full potential, and work every day on his Performance Mindset so that he could control his emotions and become a mental giant. His pledge to himself was to never embarrass his family or the legacy of his coach again.
Today, Federer is the role model of a Performance Mindset. Each time he steps on the court, he demonstrates his focus, passion, grace, vulnerability, confidence, courage, grit, growth mindset, and will to win. Think about how this applies to your life. Where did you come from? Do you tell yourself stories about why this holds you back? Do you have a clear vision of where you want to go and who you want to be?
.02 IT'S WHAT YOU LEARN WHEN YOU'RE ALREADY GREAT THAT MATTERS MOST //
At age 35, with more grand slams than any other male tennis player in history, Roger Federer started the 2017 season with a new backhand. This new backhand was better equipped to attack short balls and handle the high bouncing topspin shots that his opponents previously used to derail him. All-time Masters 1000 record holder, Novak Djokavik, recently hired tennis legend, Andre Agassi, so he could learn how to reconnect to his purpose, balance his work and professional life, and return to the top of his game where he plays with as much heart as he does muscle. Rafael Nadal, known as the greatest clay court player in history, returned stronger than ever this year, displaying amazing touch and net play after being written off and told to retire due to chronic foot and knee problems. Serena Williams, at about 7 months pregnant, took a break from this year's Wimbledon but that hasn't stopped her from practicing and hitting balls as often as possible to get ready for her return to tennis after her delivery.
Four players, all who have been number one in the world and are often deemed the greatest players ever, are still constantly working to learn and improve. What are two things you could still learn to help you continue to grow?
.03 STRATEGIES GROW WITH AGE //
When you look back at the history of tennis, very few players were still playing at a high level by age 30. This Wimbledon, we had Venus Williams play amazing tennis and almost win at age 37. We saw 35-year-old Roger Federer win his history-making 8th Wimbledon Championship, 19th overall grand slam championship, and second grand slam of this year. How did they do this? Without a doubt, training and technology have helped players play at their highest level into their 30s, but the biggest change has been the total integration of Mindset, Nutrition, Movement, and Recovery strategies. Federer even spoke about how important his recovery (sleep, downtime, fun time, family time) was to his success.
Are you training to be able to bring your best work in the next decade? Are your current Mindset, Nutrition, Movement, and Recovery strategies going to get you there?
.04 STRUGGLES AND SETBACKS ARE PART OF THE PROCESS //
Venus Williams, diagnosed with Sjögren's Syndrome (an autoimmune disease that causes muscle pain, joint pain, and fatigue), has pushed through her struggles and setbacks by taking one day at a time. Federer used his recovery time after suffering a knee injury (while playing soccer with his twin daughters) to improve his game, get his Mindset back, and reconnect with his joy and love for the sport of tennis. Both of these players, rather than complaining about the hand of bad luck they had been dealt, refused to quit. Instead, they looked for the opportunities their struggles presented, they made adjustments to work through their struggles, and they continued to pursue the visions they had set for themselves.
What struggles do you have? Do you allow them to hold you back or do you use them to create a new opportunity?
.05 PRACTICE EVERY DAY LIKE A CHAMPION //
If there is one mantra that our clients hear over and over again from Tignum, it's that "no human being can outperform their own self-image". Nowhere is your self-image built and confirmed more than the way you handle yourself every day (at work, at practice, or at home). If you want to be a Super Bowl champion, you have to ask yourself, "Did I practice today like a Super Bowl champion?" If you want to be a part of a new innovation that changes the world, you have to ask yourself, "Did I work today like someone who will change the world?" It doesn’t mean you have to work harder; it means you have to work smarter, and you have to invest in your own Sustainable High Performance so that you can bring your best to both work and home.
During one of Roger Federer’s post-win interviews, he was asked how he continued to stay focused even when he wasn’t winning any tournaments. Without hesitation he replied, “I approach every practice like I am the champion I want to be. I approach my fitness work like I will have to play the best match of my life against the toughest opponents to win. I balance my life with this same commitment to my family because I know that this is what is really important to me in my life.”
How did you show up today? How will you show up tomorrow?
Whether you're a tennis fan or not, these lessons apply. Remember, Sustainable High Performance happens by design, not by chance. As always, we would love to hear what you think.
By Scott Peltin //
Chief Performance Officer