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5 Life Lessons From A Professional Tennis Game

Colin Powell thoughts on success

Last night I was lucky enough to be invited to watch the Rogers Cup currently being played in Toronto.  This annual event is always well attended and one of the premiere sporting events in the city’s calendar.

I had the opportunity to watch Canada’s last hope for this year’s tournament Milos Raonic ranked at number 5, playing Jack Sock, an American ranked at number 50.

It was my first time at a professional tennis match and like most live sports events, it is the atmosphere that makes it special.

Raonic won the match, but it was a tougher win than one might have expected given their respective rankings. In reflecting on the event, I thought it was worth sharing some of the night’s lessons, and how they can be applied by all of us in striving for success in our own lives.

  1.  Raonic headed into the game ranked much higher than his opponent, which could have bred a little complacency.  Whether he was complacent or not, he struggled to get the win … which reminds us all that no matter the situation we need to be well prepared and never complacent.

  2. Raonic struggled throughout the match, in fact he made more “unforced errors” than his opponent.  He overcame that adversity by using his best asset, which is his very powerful serve.  So … we should develop our best assets and use them to full advantage in our quest for success.

  3. Raonic’s struggles could have affected his desire to win, and many people would have been discouraged by the way the game went.  However he stayed focused, played through adversity and won.  We need to display that same resilience when we are “in tough”… the difference between winners and losers can be miniscule, so stay positive.

  4. Raonic’s opponent was not intimidated by the big difference in ranking.  Sometimes being the underdog can work to your advantage.  Remember that when you are competing against the “big guns”… believe in yourself and go for it !

  5. Nobody gets to the level of these athletes with out the hard work and dedication it takes to learn their craft.  We all need to invest in our own development continually, if we want to get any kind of success.

The crowd was entertained, the players gave their best and all in all it was a very pleasant evening.  As a business owner looking at world class athletes it is interesting to ponder (a) the athleticism required to play at that intensity for 3 hours; (b) the years of training required to reach the level that qualifies them for this kind of event; and (c) the mental toughness needed to compete with fellow professionals on this kind of circuit.  There are often analogies between sports and business, but these kinds of experiences help to really bring them home for me.

Do you have what it takes to be a winner?