It almost killed mine on Saturday. I play in a tennis league. I love tennis like a good drug. Saturday morning I’ve got a big match. My opponent has beat me before, she’s a former NFL cheerleader, 20 years my junior and has made snarky remarks about a friend of mine, referring to her as that old lady and that older lady is younger than me–so needless to say my mission is to kick serious butt.
The first match she’s up by 5,0, OMG I’m getting pounded. Why? Because I’m looking at where I want the ball to go, I’m being a visionary. And I’m loosing the point, because I’m taking my eye off the ball and not focusing. I some how find some points. My serve is smoking hot and pull the devil drop shot out too. I’m back in the game 4, 5. I do it again look forward and take my eye off the ball and she takes the first set.
Set two. I know I can do this. I’m just as good as she is and I’ve got maturity on my side. I’m up 4,0, feeling good and then there I go again. Looking forward, being visionary and loosing the point, OMG she’s on my trail, 4,4, I’ve got to shift gears and get my head in the win zone or I’m the big looser here. I get back into ZEN tennis, it’s about the moment and focus, nothing else. I hit some freaking amazing shots, my body is screaming in pain, I’m determined to get this set.
The sun is in my eyes, there are two big ass bees swarming around my head and my asthma has now joined the game, I’m huffing and wheezing and this young thing is on my tail and close to taking the second set.
NO! I’m not going to go down.
My eyes are glued to that ball. I can see every fiber, and cannot think about any forward visions like next move, strategies or winning the title in my league. I must be absolutely concentrating on the moment at hand and being an extraordinary player on the next few points, and nothing else.
I take the 2nd set. 6,4 and now we go into a 7 point tie breaker. The first 6 points I’m in the sun, can’t see anything, but have to keep my head in the state of a champion. I can do this. Even the games she won, it was close and I played well. This is about pure mental state of MUST WIN, because I believe. Any visionary thoughts will sink me. This is totally about FOCUS and being the victor.
I’m ahead 4,0 in the tie breaker, feeling confident and then she freaking creeps back. We’ve tied again 5,5, It’s time to amp up the cylinders and take no prisoners or I’m toast.
I get so intense. Totally focused on that small green ball, nothing else, No strategy. No game plan. Just crystal clear zoomed in on concentration. I shake off everything else, my mistakes and the bees. I don’t let the elements distract me and I feel like the Roger Federer in a skirt.
I get the next point it’s 6,5 and I serve. Right down the line. She hits it back. I hit it solid and hard, back to baseline and she dinks it straight into the net. It’s over. I WON!!!!!!
My adrenaline is pumping.
This experience is poignant to business also. There are times when vision is critical, but there are also equally as many times in the battle field that no vision and complete focus is the very best move.
As an entrepreneur and tennis player, I’m guilty of often being too out there, too forward thinking, always looking ahead and loosing points and progress because I sometimes can’t shift gears quickly and totally focus on the precise point, the project or the kill.
The key is to know the right time for each, when vision should drive planning and when the laser focus should conquer the day, the competitor or the challenge at hand.
Also, check out: Tiger Woods and other Monday morning losers.