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13 Jul, 2011

Inspired by Wimbledon by Lesley Stopford

Posted by: The Coaching Academy In: Coaching Articles|In The Spotlight|Life Coaching Articles|Personal Success|Success Stories

Inspired by Wimbledon by Lesley Stopford

Recently I observed a wonderful example of determination, self belief, humility and achievement. I was watching the Wimbledon men’s final and it occurred to me how much control of the mind those players needed to have to overcome the fear they surely must have felt. As they walked onto Centre Court and took that first strike of the ball in the heat and electric atmosphere they needed to be both technically brilliant and have the ability to manage their state of mind in order to give the best performance on the day. I found it fascinating to watch as they handled the ups and downs of the match and how their performance was affected by what was going on between their ears.

How many of us would willingly expose ourselves in this way? How many of us give up because something is too difficult or out of embarrassment at not being able to do something to the standard we expect? How many of us tell ourselves we aren’t good enough, gorgeous enough, fit enough, thin enough, rich enough etc, etc or just not damned perfect enough before getting out there and doing our thing? What we can learn from these two tennis greats?

Imagine doing a job where your errors and successes were played out in public. These guys risk doing this publicly all the time but the pay off is that they grow in strength and ability. It is not enough to practice in isolation or solely with their coach, they must put themselves out there and play on the big courts and only then do they really raise their game to a higher level.

Nadal is ranked 2nd in the world and objectively he is a magnificent player and has achieved so much but he lost the final so in his eyes/mind yesterday he failed. I would imagine he was pretty disappointed in his performance and may have felt humiliated at his public defeat. I wonder will he go away, never to return and beat himself up for not succeeding or will he take some time out, watch the replays, analyse his performance with his coach and work hard, coming back even better and stronger than before? I would guess the latter.

When we have a go at something and it doesn’t work the way we want, have we failed because it “went wrong” or have we succeeded because we gave it a go and we learnt what worked and what didn’t and got useful information in order to try something different next time. If we wait until we reach perfection before we go out to “perform” we won’t have the luxury of feedback and will never know what tweaks and changes could have improved our performance and made us even better.

We need to learn from those players and take a deep breath, publicly pick up our metaphorical tennis racket and hit that first stroke.

by Lesley Stopford

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