If you’re like me then there were moments this week when you just couldn’t bear to watch the tennis on TV, too afraid our champion would get knocked out of what has been a wonderful Wimbledon Championships.
In this Golden Age of tennis, where we’ve seen three legends of the sport, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, between them dominating the Grand Slams like never before, wasn’t it starting to feel like Andy Murray would never get a chance to take the title?
The great British public has been waiting 76 years for a champion to bring home the Wimbledon Trophy. Not since Fred Perry won the championship in 1936 has there be a British male winner.
If, as a fellow Brit, you are feeling a bit like we did when we hosted the Olympic Games last year then we owe a lot to our champion Murray. But as entrepreneurs what can we learn from his success, focus and years of determination and how can we relate it to our business?
Entrepreneurs need support
Just like any successful person, whether that’s in sport or business, you need a great support network around you. Andy Murray has two fitness trainers, a tennis partner, a physiotherapist and his coach Ivan Lendl.
Who is supporting you?
Do you have a business coach? Someone helping to build your reputation and visibility? Andy uses Ivan Lendl to talk strategy, who do you use? Of course when you are starting out you can’t necessarily afford a host of consultants, coaches and mentors but you can identify people you trust and want to see you succeed. People who will be honest with you; it’s those people you need in your camp supporting you while your business grows. So who in your life gives it to you straight every time?
Entrepreneurs need to become master craftsman
Author, Malcom Gladwell, in his book Outliers talks about repeating a task for 10,000 hours to become a master at it. Although this ‘rule’ doesn’t apply to everything in business, for example, the internet start-ups of the world. (Mark Zuckerberg didn’t have 10,000 hours of running a social networking site under his belt before launching Facebook). However, the rule certainly works for people in many professions, for example, becoming an expert coach, sales person, therapist, stylist, marketer etc.
How often are you:
• Practicing your skills?
• Striving for improvement?
• Monitoring performance and evaluating success?
• Working on the aspects you’re not so good at but need to be?
Entrepreneurs need to be disciplined
Murray trains all year round, there is no off season for him. In the winter he goes to Miami and freely admits that when he was younger, ahem he is only 26, he used to eat junk food but now he has a very healthy approach to his diet.
The recovery session after a game is incredibly important, it can take about 4-5 hours to complete and Andy has learnt the hard way at times that this is one of the most important aspect of his approach as it helps his body to recuperate. After a five-set match he has a bath and a massage. Sounds good. But the bath is an ice bath, yep you’ve guessed it, not just a cold bath but one with ice cubes in it! His massage is for kneading out the knots in his muscles. And then he goes to bed early.
So, how disciplined are you about making your business a success?
• Do you eat healthily and exercise every day?
• Do you make sure you get enough good sleeps so your body can recover?
• How do you deal with the stresses of running your business?
Entrepreneurs need to make sacrifices
At a young age, Andy was playing against Raffa Nadal and found out that Raffa didn’t go to regular school but a school providing aspiring student-athletes with the education necessary to realise their full athletic and academic potential. Andy wanted to attend and at the age of 15 he left his family and moved to Barcelona, Spain to study at the Schiller International School and to train on the clay courts of the Sanchez-Casal Academy.
As entrepreneurs sometimes we need to forgo certain things in order to realise others. Danielle LaPorte has a great saying ‘you can do one or two things really well, but you can’t have it all’.
• What are you prepared to forgo to take your business to the next level?
• What one or two things are you going to focus on so you can become an expert in that area?
• Could you do more for your business if you sacrificed time spent with friends and family? Going out? Shopping trips? Holidays?
Entrepreneurs must believe
Every great champion has always believed that they can do it. If you don’t believe that you have what it takes to realise your ambitions then you are surely not giving yourself much chance of success. We’ve all watched Andy Murray for years, he hates to lose, but he has always kept faith with himself and in his own abilities. Becoming a Wimbledon champion is a massive achievement but without that unshakable belief it just wouldn’t have been possible.
• What about you? Do you believe?
So today it’s our Andy who is celebrating victory but it is certainly true that he’s had his fair share of defeats. He has been the runner-up now in five other Grand Slam singles finals, including last year’s Wimbledon final where he lost out to the great Roger Federer. But in the words of John McEnroe, “Defeat, failing, falling on your arse are the only things that teach you how to win.”
Congratulations to Andy Murray and his team. They finally did it and they certainly deserve it!
We would love to hear from you about any similarities you have noticed between top athletes and business and of course any wonderful comments about Andy and his team. Pop your comments in the box below.