Monday, September 12, 2011
12 Ways Tennis Is Like Business
I have recently begun playing tennis. I have never been much of an athlete, and I am surprised at my high level of enjoyment in learning this sport at 45-years-old. My experience with each lesson and match brings me closer to finding a comfort zone on the court. It also brings new aches and pains, as I am getting older.
After each encounter with tennis I have been contemplating what I learned, and then I explore the areas where I need to work to improve. Interestingly I am finding my needs on the court are the same as my needs as an entrepreneur.
1. Better focus equals more success. I find with tennis and in business I need more focus on the tasks at hand. I cannot get distracted by what else is happening around me, or I will miss the next point and / or opportunity.
2. Speed is your friend. When I hustle I seem to win more. If I am waiting for something to happen the ball or opportunities fly across my field of vision. With speed comes success.
3. Be strategic with each move. Taking a shot or launching a product requires a thoughtful strategy. I have never been good at "winging - it". Having a plan is better.
4. Always bring two options when you serve. If I take one ball to the line, and fault on my serve I will need to scramble to find another ball. Same is true when I work with clients. If I have only one option and it is not the right fit, then I am lost.
5. Anticipate what is coming next. Life has a way of surprising you. Just when you think you are set, your opponent can tap the ball over the net and you lose. Never count the point before it is won. Same in business. Too many times I have thought I knew the outcome only to have victory vanish.
6. Know your competitive advantage. We all have things we bring to the table that make us unique. Confidently being aware of what you do well will allow you to take the necessary shots (in tennis and business).
7. Discover what your opponent is not doing. Keenly observe those around you (those on your team and on the other side) and discover what they are not doing, or are not willing to do. Identify the hole and send the ball sailing through it.
8. Newbies do not automatically play at the top level. You cannot walk into the elite circles in sports or business. You have to earn your way up the ladder every day, and with each match you play. The small victories add up and if you are good you will be noticed.
9. Always watch the lines and make fair calls. People will knock the ball close to the line. You must be watching to see if their serve is fair. Win or lose you must be honest with them and yourself about where it landed. Call 'em like you see 'em.
10. Get to know the people around you and have fun. This should go without saying, but too many people are wrapped up in their own performance and fail to acknowledge the others who are playing the same game.
11. There are no shortcuts to better skills. You cannot fake experience and hope is a futile strategy. To get better you must be out there playing the game all the time.
12. You need a coach. Having someone to turn to when you need extra help is paramount to success. A coach who will watch from the sidelines and give pointers and advice, without judgement, will allow you to avoid the common mistakes that others repeat over and over again. Always listen to your coach and do not be defensive at his or her observations.
Have A Great Day