Do You Compete Like A Champion?

By | September 26, 2015

When business is going great and you’re facing no apparent stumbling blocks the ability to think, feel and act like a champion will not typically be a problem!

But what about those times, and we’ve all had them, that an issue with a client or supplier crops up, a deal falls through, an unexpected crisis presents itself or maybe a key employee resigns?

Do you persevere or do you tend to fold like a cheap suit? In other words, just how resilient are you and, by extension, your business?

Using professional tennis players as an analogy, this article from USTA.comoffers some great advice!


The defining characteristic of resilient players is having the ability to bounce back and refocus after failure. To come out of loss and disappointment with determination, belief and a willingness to fight to the end.

“Resilience is ordinary magic – all of us have the power within to bounce back from failure.”

“Refuse to lose.”

“Fall seven times and stand up eight.”

“Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” – Babe Ruth


  • Understand it is not about being perfect. In fact, to be resilient you have to struggle and fail.
  • Have resilient thoughts. Instead of finding the reasons you will lose, find the reasons why you can succeed.
  • Stick to your plan and routines, even when you struggle. Do not panic.
  • Get back up and carry on. Resilience may be the most important value because in tennis, as in life, we are going to struggle and fail.
  • Understand that you will need:
    • A reason, a drive to keep fighting
    • Support from others because you cannot always do it alone
    • Coping skills to deal with the stress and struggle because it won’t come easy
  • Use the ‘breathe and believe’ routine. Take deep breaths, accept how you feel and what is happening and let it go. Then begin the process of refocusing by believing in yourself. Remind yourself of your strengths and the task at hand. Like Serena in the example below, use times when you have bounced back as a strong reminder that you can do it again.
  • Look at struggles as opportunities to learn and grow. This mindset allows you to approach difficult situations with an optimism others do not exhibit.
  • Not avoid the struggle, but go after it. Face it head on and be determined to find a way.


Serena Williams has achieved many great things in her tennis career. One of her most impressive single matches was the 2012 US Open final against world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, who had won the Australian Open earlier in the year. Two points away from losing the match and down 3-5 in the third set, Serena kept fighting and going for her shots. Earlier in the match she was not always able to find the range. But when she needed it the most, Serena found her range and bounced back to win the last four games and, with it, the match, 7-5 in the third set.

In doing so, Serena showed the resilience of a champion. When pushed to the brink of defeat, she trusted her game and went for it. She did not give in even though in her mind she was struggling a bit.

“I honestly can’t believe I won. I really was preparing my runner-up speech, because I thought, ‘Man, she’s playing so great,'” Williams said during the trophy presentation after the 2-hour, 18-minute encounter. “I’m really shocked.”

That Serena fought back and won the 2012 US Open should not be a surprise. She has always shown tremendous fight and desire to be the best. Azarenka knew quite well what she had to deal with. “She never gives up,” said Azarenka. “She’s definitely the toughest player, mentally, there is and she’s got the power.”

How was Serena able to bounce back from being down in the third set? She had resilient thoughts. “I never, never quit. I have come back so many times in so many matches,” Williams said.

Michael Haltman is President of Hallmark Abstract Service in New York.

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