It’s Just A Point

In which we are encouraged to master overcoming hard moments.

In an earlier time, I led a town-based soccer organization. We trained parents to coach so their kids would love the game and have fun as they learned. (At the time, an almost-novel idea.)

At about the time I finished my term, John O’Sullivan started the Changing the Game Project, dedicated to that mission on a national basis. In a recent blog post, he shared Roger Federer’s “three tennis lessons” commencement speech at Dartmouth College. [Federer is one of THE MOST successful and well-liked professional tennis players of all time.]

Here’s Roger’s second lesson… amazing… this is the guy who is third on the list of most Grand Slam tournament wins… twenty!

“Competing in tennis, perfection is impossible. In the 1,526 singles matches I played in my career, I won almost 80% of those matches…. What percentage of points do you think I won in those matches? Only 54%!

In other words, even top ranked tennis players win barely more than half of the points they play.

When you lose every second point, on average, you learn not to dwell on every shot. You teach yourself to think, ‘OK I double faulted, it’s only a point. OK, I came to the net and I got passed again, it’s only a point.’

Even a great shot, an overhead backhand smash that ends up on ESPN’s top 10 playlist… that, too, is just a point… This mindset is really crucial because it frees you to fully commit to the next point and the next point after that with intensity, clarity, and focus…

The truth is, whatever game you play in life, sometimes you’re going to lose a point, a match, a season, a job; it’s a roller coaster with many ups and downs and it’s natural, when you’re down, to doubt yourself and to feel sorry for yourself …

You want to become a master at overcoming hard moments. That is, to me, the sign of a champion. The best in the world are not the best because they win every point. It’s because they know they’ll lose again and again and have learned how to deal with it. You accept it, cry it out if you need to, and then force a smile. You move on.”

Nick Miller is President of Clarity Advantage based in Concord, MA. He assists banks and credit unions to generate more and more profitable relationships, faster, with business clients, their owners, and their employees through better sales strategies and execution. Additional articles on Clarity’s web site.

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