Despite the controversy in the final match, I was awed watching Serena Williams during her journey through the US Open. In the Quarter Finals, both Serena and Rafa Nadal found themselves unexpectedly behind and yet somehow they were able to dig into their reservoir of talent and pull up their inner winner. How do champions do that? And more importantly, how can you do that in your industry?
1) Champions expect to win. How many times do you go into a situation with a less than winning attitude? Or go in thinking “well, this presentation, conversation, or sale can go either way but I’m going to give it my best shot.” That is NOT a winning attitude.
We often fear that going in expecting to win may seem cocky, arrogant, or unrealistic. If you are still believing any of those things…STOP! There is too much evidence and research in brain science world to prove you wrong. Your thoughts are powerful. Serena found a way to shake off any negative thoughts. She connected to her knowledge that winning was within her grasp. It would be helpful for you to do the same.
2) They stay in the moment. In that quarterfinal match, after she’d lost several points and had her serve broken twice, Serena looked oddly calm. She was focused on what was next, not on what had just happened.
How much energy do you waste dwelling on past failures and disappointments? Showing up to a meeting worrying about that meeting last week when you offered a suggestion and it was overruled? Or that sales meeting you prepared so hard for that netted nada? What can you do to be more in the moment?
3) They cultivate, embrace, and acknowledge support. Instead of hiding away from her fan base after the birth of her daughter, Serena chose to engage her fans through social media and even a documentary. After a match, Serena and many of the players mention how helpful the fan support was to their win.
What are you doing to engage and rally the people around you who can support you when times are tough and root for you when you need that extra push? Look for and cultivate allies in your office or in your industry. Acknowledge privately and publicly when people have helped, supported, or championed you.
4) They hire and put their trust in good coaches. Any superstar athlete, leader, actor or singer knows the value of having a terrific coach that understands them, challenges them, pushes them, and believes in their greatness. So, if you really want to become the Serena of your industry, wouldn’t it make sense to find someone who will do all those things for you? Who can help you become not just great, but a Champion? Seek out a mentor in your industry or hire a coach to help you do just that.
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