What can an amazing tennis career teach business owners…different industries, different skills, different worlds. Surely there is no correlation right….WRONG.
I think it is fitting as Lleyton plays potentially his last match at the Australian Open tonight (hopefully not), that we look at his astounding 20 year Oz Open career and what his remarkable journey can teach business owners.
1.Age is just a number. Lleyton qualified for the Australian Open when he was still 15 years old. OK so he was one month shy of his 16th birthday – but what were you doing when you were 15? To him, he wanted to play tennis, and by god did he prove everyone wrong thinking someone that age would never compete at the level required to win tournaments. Don’t let your age (whether it be too young or too old) be a barrier or an excuse for why things can’t happen.
2. Doubt is the enemy. Lleyton never doubted his ability. Small town boy from Australia wanted to mix it with the world on the Grand Slam scene. Why not have dreams? Difference between Lleyton and many others – is he didn’t let doubt (either his own or that of others) get in his way. He does whatever it takes to get the results (hopefully tonight is no exception).
3. Injury is a part of the game….be prepared. Lleyton has had many injuries over his years. Let’s face it, I have hurt my ankle walking down the street, so it is no surprise over 20 years and more than 800 matches of tennis he has faced injury. Toe, ankle and hip surgery just to name a few. Many would have called it quits, but he was not done. He still had fire and passion. Injuries (or obstacles) will always come at you, how you handle them will show your true determination and success rate.
4. Media is part of the game, but not the reason you are in the game. So when you pair Australia’s most prolific tennis player (yes going out on a limb here) and match it with Summer Bay’s leading lady it was always going to be a media frenzy. Every time I see those glossy magazines, it seems the Hewitt headlines are front and centre. Divorce, split up, relationship woes, pregnant, not pregnant, not supportive, too supportive. Remember, media is not why you got into the game, so block it out. Only you know the true story and let your racquet (or business) do the talking.
5. You have a skill, share it. Lleyton has not only done himself proud, but he has done a nation proud. Whilst his retirement from the Australia Open is the end of an amazing era, it opens up other opportunities for himself and others. He has been named Davis Cup Captain for Australia – so he can share his passion, skill, determination and experience with up and coming Aussie tennis players. OMG – seriously – can the guy get any better?? You too as a business owner have skills, passion and knowledge – share it. Be proud of your ability. Help others to grow and succeed, and it will only serve (ha ha – tennis pun a plenty) you well.
6. We all have bad hair days. OK, so I don’t want to dis Lleyton, but C’mon (couldn’t resist that little Lleyton quote we have grown to love). He has shown us that at times we make bad decisions. We all know his long, curly, pony tail was not a great fashion decision. But heck, we all have days where things just don’t go our way. And you know what, that is life. We bounce back, we forge ahead, we get a haircut and we come out fighting – better than ever.
“I do all the right things. I’ve prided myself my whole career on preparing as well as possible and doing all the one percenters to try and get the best result possible.”
— Lleyton Hewitt, 21 Jan 2016
So are Lleyton and I similar – no not really. But does his amazing career, laid back personality, fighting spirit, tenacity and skill teach business owners something. Yes it does.
“Preparation is the key to success, for anyone. Results can be achieved even if you are the underdog. Don’t stop fighting, until you lose passion.”
So sit back tonight, and watch the master in action. I think we can all learn something.