Tennis is not a sport I watch much. But this past weekend, I was lucky enough to see poetry in motion: Rafael Nadal winning his 12th French Open. Rafael is a legendary presence on the tennis court and after watching him win a tough match with a young, hungry opponent, can see why he’s so admired and beloved.
What a fantastic competitor – and craftsman! On the court, you can see all his thousands and thousands of hours of practice come into play. Whatever obstacle to winning cropped up on the court, Rafael overcame it with workmanlike precision. He remained calm and totally focused, quickly shaking off any setback and getting back to the job at hand: making his next shot count. No drama, no acting out — just determination and discipline.
Rafael’s inspiring game prompted me to find out a little about a tennis camp he runs. On his website he shares some straightforward advice worth repeating:
“However great your dedication, you never win anything on your own.” Clearly, Rafael has surrounded himself with a winning support team of friends, family, and professionals who keep him fit and focused. Like him, we need our own “tribe” to succeed.
“The people who excel in life are those that persevere.” Whether he lost a serve, a shot, or a set, Rafael bounced back, again and again. He was relentless. We need to bring this same intensity to our work on the page – and to getting published.
“I always work with a goal, and the goal is to improve as a player and a person.” What a simple, but powerful objective for us all: to improve our craft, to get better at what we do. If we can just focus on this, everything else will fall into place.
“Losing is not my enemy. Fear of losing is my enemy.” Wow, I love this! How helpful it is to remember that fear is the real enemy we all battle and that it is self-inflicted.
Bravo, Rafael – play on! And now, inspired and emboldened, let’s all write on.