“Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you.”–Arnold Palmer
“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for making anything else.”–Benjamin Franklin
I grew up in a very competitive tennis environment, playing sectionally-ranked USTA tournaments on the east coast before traveling to national events.
In athletics, you quickly learn the temptation of convenient payoffs and excuses. It’s easy to blame the weather conditions, court surface, poor officiating, and even your very own racquet.
The gridiron in business is no different. You have bosses and employees pointing the fingers at each other, either sitting around waiting for something to happen or acting hastily to the detriment of all.
Encourage Your Team to Fail
So, why do people fail to take responsibility for their performance, and to a larger degree, their lives?
Simple – Fear of failure and/or success.
Too many people erroneously equate failure with a personal defect. Others are afraid of the raised expectations that come with increased success.
As a leader, it’s imperative that you create an environment that encourages prudent risk.
In tennis, we call it “smart aggression.” A coach can’t tell a player to “go for her shots” and then “go into a tizzy” when the ball is out. We naturally make more mistakes when we take more risks. Serena Williams makes an enormous amount of errors, yet still wins major championships.
Go for your shots. You have nothing to lose.
Peak Performance Question: How can you inspire your team to stretch outside of their comfort zone, and do so consistently?
René Vidal is a six-time NCAA tennis champion turned author, speaker, and mental toughness expert. He serves as founder of Small Steps Coaching and is co-author of Play Smart to Win in Business: Leadership Lessons from Center Court to Corner Office.
[Above: Ana Donjuh, WTA Professional Tennis Player]
“If you lose a big fight, it will plague you – until you get revenge.”–Muhammed Ali
Champions position themselves to win.
For instance, at this year’s Wimbledon, 18 year-old Croatian tennis player Ana Donjuh (ranked 92nd) held match points against world #5 Aggie Radwanska, before spraining her ankle and losing every point after the injury.
Champions also exact positive retribution. After a near miss on what would’ve been the biggest win of her career, rather than look back with regret, Konjuh set her sights forward to the next opportunity to “make things right.”
Donjuh did just that, with last night’s victory over Radwanska at the 2016 US Open.
In my work with high performers across industries, I’ve found 4 keys to producing BIG WINS both on and off the court.
#1: Dream about it.
The Book of Proverbs says, “Without vision, the people perish.” Champions visualize success. They see themselves winning, holding the first-place trophy on center court or in the corner office.
#2 Talk about it.
Donjuh highly anticipated her rematch with Radwanska. “She’s an incredible player. I’m happy to have the opportunity to play her again. This time I got the revenge,” says Donjuh.
#3 Train for it.
“I could see already at the Olympics this year that Ana is so determined to do well,” says Croatia’s Federation Cup Captain Iva Majoli.
#4 Go for it.
Personally, I was amazed at Donjuh’s poise throughout her match with Radwanska. She was patient, calm, and very aggressive. In fact, Donjuh hit 38 winners to Radwanska’s 9.
To close, don’t think for a second that elite athletes – in sports or business, are not motivated for revenge.
Champions are inspired to work harder after a near miss. Those who aren’t miss out on seeing how far their talent can take them.
René Vidal, MSc, is an American author, speaker and mental toughness expert. A six-time NCAA championship tennis coach, he works with leaders who want to develop a culture of mental toughness.
© René Vidal Companies
“If the sales manager sets the tone, the sales champions will move forward,” says Mark Bowser, author of “Sales Success: Motivation from Today’s Top Sales Coaches.“
In our recent conversation, Mark provides 3 key tips for sales leaders who want to build championship sales teams:
“If you can see it, you can create it. If you have a vision, then you also have the power to create it.”–Jon Gordon, Best-Selling Author, The Energy Bus
“Have a plan. Believe in the plan. Execute the Plan.”–Sylvester Croom, Tennessee Titans Running Backs Coach
According to ancient lore, “Without vision, the people perish.” As a leader, how does that sentiment apply to you?
What is your vision for your life? As the “head coach” of your organization, where are you and your team going? Can you see the finish line?
In my latest book, Play Smart to Win in Business: Leadership Lessons from Center Court to Corner Office, I share three specific techniques for creating a compelling vision that sticks. Here’s an excerpt:
3 Techniques for Creating a Compelling Vision
First, achieve cohesion at the top. The most productive coach-player relationships in sports begin with shared values, vision, and how-to strategies.
On a scale of 1-10, how excited are your senior team members about evangelizing the company vision?
Second, laser focus for better execution. Successful business teams prioritize what is best for the organization, not what looks good to the market.
On a scale of 1-10, how focused are you on moving the proverbial ball down the field each day?
Third, manage your expectations. Incremental progress is the norm, not the exception. Go big on vision for sure, then become radically disciplined around creating a series of small successes.
On a scale of 1-10, how happy are you with the day-to-day progress of your personal and professional development?
The great Arthur Ashe said, “You are never really playing an opponent. You are playing yourself and your own high standards.”
Set the bar a little higher today and watch your vision come alive.
If you can see it, you can create it.
© René Vidal 2016
“I know what I need to do to be a champion.”–Usain Bolt
“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.”—Winston Churchill
As a leader, you have two imperatives:
- Consistently play at the top of your game.
- Have immediate access to a set of internal and external tools to help produce optimal results when you aren’t playing your best.
The reality is that we live in an uncontrollable world. Outcomes are uncertain, irrespective of our efforts. This is why the very best leaders, the most mentally tough competitors, value influence over brute force. This requires inner strength.
Mental Toughness Mantra: “I am driven by conviction, not circumstance.”
Step 1: Know Who You Are
Mentally tough leaders know who they are and what they stand for. For example, take 8-time grand slam tennis champion Andre Agassi. Whereas Agassi experienced great success early in his career, it wasn’t until he found his purpose that he began to realize his true potential. Agassi created what I call a “superior mental toughness stance.”
Mental Toughness Exercise
Answer the following three questions by yourself and/or with your team.
- Who am I as a leader? (Who are we as a team?)
- Why am I here? (Why are we here?)
- What difference will I make? (What difference will we make?)
Take action on what you’ve learned and share your insights with me via e-mail.
Life is good,
René Vidal, MSc | Author, Speaker & Strategic Coach
Six-Time NCAA Champion | email@example.com
Question: What do you have a huge sensitivity to?
This is one of my favorite questions of all time. I ask it of myself periodically and I frequently pose it to friends, clients, and people I meet with “over coffee.”
It’s an important question because the answer can lead you to your gift – how you’re wired to impact the world.
For example, my dad was my first coach both on and off the tennis court. My personal rules around working hard and enjoying what you do stem from his example as a loving dad and business owner. Because my dad passed away at a young age, I have a huge sensitivity for the lack of leadership and mentorship in people’s lives, particularly our country’s youth.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that my gift resides in inspiring confidence.
The Vehicle: Through writing, speaking, and coaching, I teach people who care about high performance how to leverage winning psychology for personal and professional growth. Most importantly, I serve as a trusted friend, advisor, and colleague to my clients around their BFG’s: Big, Fun Goals. That’s my sweet-spot. That’s where I play my best.
“Train your talent, trust your talent.”–Maurice Greene, Olympic Sprinter
Your ability to make and keep promises to yourself determines your level of confidence.
It’s a matter of personal integrity. Do what we say we will do and we feel good about ourselves. Renege on self-commitments and our emotions go the other way.
It’s also no secret that confidence is crucial for success in every area of life.
There are several ways you can create extreme confidence, yet for me there is one strategy that works every time.
Chris Widener is widely recognized as one of the top speakers in the world today. He has spoken all over the world in places like Germany, Spain, Russia, China, Egypt, Singapore, Australia and all over the United States.