Watching wimbledon the other week, a commentator said the difference between the great and the good was the ability to fight back in the face of adversity.
Some players, at 2 sets down against the greatest players in the world will drop their heads, lose belief…and that final set will be a walkover.
Some players, at 2 sets down against the greatest players in the world will shift up a gear and fight like a cornered tiger.
It doesn’t always work…there’s not always a happy (winning) ending, but those players will know they left everything out on the court.
Are you rising to your challenges or are you slumping your shoulders, dropping your head and losing self-belief when things don’t go your way?
It’s totally understandable to lose heart, to fold, to despair. When adversity strikes, it is tough to pick yourself up, to win the mental game. It is much easier to embrace defeat. And I am in no way criticising those who do fold under the pressure – I made it clear last week what I think of armchair critics.
Being a doer of deeds and a dreamer of dreams takes great courage and tenacity…and sometimes the challenges beat us. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be much of a challenge, would they?
But that being said, it is perfectly possible to learn to be more of a tiger, to learn to shift up a gear in the face of adversity or defeat.
Elite sports people have learned this determination, this resilience, this tenacity, this fight.
The top sports people in the world will not quit, will not admit defeat, will not meekly back down and concede defeat..they will fight until the very last moment.
I’m not necessarily talking about working harder (although if you’re being half-assed, it might be worth upping your effort level a touch), but working smarter, changing it up, revving up your self-belief, reminding yourself that you’ve got this (even if it’s looking like you’ve lost this), drawing on the support of those around you who want you to win/succeed, staying in the game up to the last point.
I often say I’ll give up on my dreams when I’ve done everything I can think of to make them happen…or when I don’t want them anymore, because what’s the point in chasing something you don’t want.
When I’ve left everything I have on the court, given it my all, tried my hardest, done all I can…then even if I don’t win/succeed, I’ll know I did the best I could.
It’s really not easy – just take Wimbledon this year – even great Champions and fantastic players were not able on the day to raise their level, to stay in the game, to fight back.
But I bet it feels (slightly) better in the locker room to know that if you went out, you went out fighting hard. So next time you face adversity, think of your favourite tennis player (or other sports person or team) and think of what they would do – rev up their self-belief, change it up, use smarter plays…and fight to the very end.
Now you guys know me – I don’t do pushing and striving and sweating and efforting my ass off…instead, I’ll look for the 1% change I can make. The small difference that will help me stay in the game, the minor tweak that that changes the way I play, the attitude adjustment that has me thinking ‘why not’ rather than ‘why bother’.
I admire sports folks – they have to work so hard to get to the top of their sports, often with little reward for their sacrifice and dedication. And we all could do so much better in our lives with just a fraction of that effort and drive…so what 1% change could you make to become more resilient, tenacious, have greater self-belief…or whatever your favourite sports person characteristic is?
Just so you can say, when you’re done…I left it all out on the court.