On July 6, 2016, during the men’s quarterfinals at Wimbledon, Marin Cilic is ahead at 7/6 and 6/4 to Roger Federer’s 6/3 in the third set.
In a fourth set tiebreaker, Cilic is at match point, three times. Federer pulls out aces and a winning volley that shifts the momentum, earning him a standing ovation after a five-set victory.
What makes for the defining wins that are a legacy of Federer’s career? He shows us how it can be done, whether you aspire to become a parent, effectively lead a company, play competitive sports, or anything else.
In addition to being a 17-time Grand Slam champion, https://www.theguardian.com identifies the soon-to-be 35-year-old as “the oldest man since 1974 to make the Wimbledon semifinals.”
Which strategies propelled Federer into his 11th Wimbledon semi? He shares, “…for me it was about staying in the match, somehow hoping for his level to drop maybe a little bit, and get a little bit lucky.”
How might the game plan of “staying in the match” (focusing on the present and on process rather than outcomes) apply to your unrealized pursuits?
In an article entitled “Why do 8% of sales people get 80% of the sales?,” marketing and business growth expert Robert Clay states: “Only 2% of sales occur at a first meeting. Research shows that 80% of potential opportunities are lost without trace simply due to lack of follow-up.” In suggesting that “It takes at least FIVE continuous follow up efforts after the initial sales contact before a customer says “yes,” the article presents these stats:
• 44% of sales people give up after one “no”
• 22% give up after two “nos”
• 14% give up after three “nos”
• 12% give up after four “nos”
This amounts to 92% of people “giving up” after four “nos.”
http://www.tennis.com quotes Federer: “[Five-setters] need a lot of concentration because the finish line is far. If it’s close at the very end, you know how tennis is, it can turn around very quickly. For each set you have to reset and start over.”
In tennis, the destination, rules, and finish line are clear. In life, while your circumstances and results can “turn around very quickly,” the finish line may seem like an elusive target. Yet by using Federer’s strategies of focusing on “staying in the game,” resetting and starting over for each set (and sometimes for each point), your success will not depend on a final score.
This is especially vital when you find yourself out of the “driver’s seat.”
Take it from the champ: “When you’re saving match points, when you’re down two sets to love, three-all, love-40, it’s a moment when it’s not in your control anymore. But I fought, I tried, I believed. At the end I got it done…it still gives me the chance to win the tournament.”
Through this approach, there is fertile ground for the seeds of victory to be harvested beyond one season. This was Federer’s 10th win from two sets down, “clinched with a 27th ace.”
A career that elevates a sport and its fans far surpasses the losses that a champion endures in the service of mastery.