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One Point at a Time: What Tennis Taught Me About Winning in Life

I’m a huge tennis fan. 

I grew up playing competitive junior tennis on a really high level, and I still have so much respect and love for the game. 

It's graceful, classy, and you get to wear cute outfits (let’s be honest, this was a huge part of the draw for me.)

Last month, I watched the best tennis players in the world compete at Wimbledon. 

(You know, the super prestigious tournament where everyone wears white). 

People everywhere were captivated by American tennis pro, Christopher Eubanks. 

For the first time in his career, Eubanks got in the Wimbledon main draw after trying four previous times and failing every single time. 

To everyone’s surprise, he beat top-10 player in the world, Cam Norrie. 

Then he went on to beat the number five player in the world, Stefanos Tsitsipas, in 5 sets. 
Which got him to the quarter-freaking finals of Wimbledon.


People were asking him, “How did you do this? How have you never made it to the main draw? And now you've beaten two top 10 players? You've made it to your first ever quarterfinal in a slam. How is that even possible?”

Here was his response in a nutshell:  

He knew if he could keep playing his game consistently with the right mindset, eventually he would seize his opportunities, get ahead, and win. 

And that's exactly what he did.

Watching this tournament reminded me of how much tennis has shaped me as a person. 

It's why I'm gritty. It's why I'm determined. It's why I will never give up. 

It's also why I believe so much in empowering other women. I know that you can be down match point and still come back.

The game has taught me so much, which is why this week, I wanted to share with you… 


8 life lessons I learned from tennis: 

  1. Play one point at a time. In tennis, you can’t be thinking about shaking hands with your opponent, when you’re still in the middle of the game. You have to focus on the shot at hand and play one individual point at a time. It’s the same thing in life. Focus on the task at hand, and take one step at a time. Then you can step back, evaluate, and figure out what the next best step is. If you get too focused on what’s ahead, you lose sight of what you need to be doing right now.
  2. Be gritty. The dictionary defines grit as “courage, resolve, and strength of character.” I would add that grit is continuing to get up and try one more time, even if you don't think you can. It’s falling down, skinning your knee, getting up gracefully, shutting out the haters, and still believing your goals are possible. That’s what has to happen on the tennis court as well. You can't focus on the crowd. You can't focus on the opponent. You can't focus on what everybody else is doing. You won't win every point. That's why grit is so important in life and in tennis, because you're not going to win every single time. Find the courage to stand up one more time, play one more point, and try one more thing. That’s what separates the champions from the average players.

  3. You can always come back. You can be down 6-0, 5- 0, 40-love, match point in your life and still come back. I’ve seen it happen time and time again. It's the same thing in life. You’re not down and out until you put yourself there. You always have a chance to come back and do things differently. Life is here for you to seize your moment and win. 

  4. Attitude is everything. Attitude and perspective are everything. If I have a crappy attitude on the tennis court, my game is crappy. If I have a crappy attitude in life, my life looks crappy. What you give out, you bring in. Your perspective about life, situations, failures, and even about wins is everything. It’s the same thing in tennis. There are so many people on tour whose mental game is not where it needs to be. They have a crappy attitude. They’re yelling at the chair, at their box, at the crowd. They’re letting all this extra stuff distract them and their attitude is awful. You cannot win with a losing mindset.

  5. Your mind can win or lose a match for you. You can have all the skill in the world, but if your mind is not 100% there, you will get beat. It doesn’t matter if you’re the better player. It’s the same thing in life. You can let life beat you or you can win at life. You have to learn how to pivot. You have to learn how to lose the point, walk to the other side of the coin, and play the next point with a fresh mindset. If you're still thinking about two games ago where the official called a shot that wasn’t fair, you're going to be out there beating yourself. You don't lose in those situations. You beat yourself. Your mind is what’s going to help you win or lose in this game. 

  6. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Sometimes you do everything right, play your best game, and still don't come out on top. And you know what? That's okay. What are the lessons that you learned from that match? What can you improve? What can you do better? What do you need to eliminate? How can you fail forward?  You're not going to win every match you play. You win some, you lose some. It's okay to fail. Instead of letting that failure mean something about yourself, move forward in a positive way. Ask yourself: What can I learn?

  7. Surround yourself with the right people. In tennis and in life, your team will make or break you. You need people in your corner, who have your back and your best interest at heart. When you surround yourself with crappy people, you’re going to get crappy results. When you surround yourself with the right people, who all believe in your mission and who are all on your team to help you win, that’s how you win in life. Surround yourself with the right people with positive energy, good things to say, and who want the same things for you. That's who's sitting in your box as a tennis player, and that's who's sitting in your box of life.

  8. Always be prepared to seize your moment and take action. Chris Eubanks knew that if he kept playing his game and doing what he knew how to do well, he would eventually get his opportunities to win. That is our last lesson. When you get up one more time, surround yourself with the right people, and operate in your zone of genius, then you’re going to get your opportunities. It's your job to seize them. I always say, “If you're up 40 love, don't let them back in the game.” Same thing in life. Don't let negative thoughts and negative people back in the game. When you have the opportunity, seize it. Don't wait. Don't let the fear or doubt creep in and tell you that you can't do it. Seize the moment when it's yours. You've worked really, really hard for it. 

Those are my life tennis lessons. To dive a little bit deeper, check out my latest podcast: One Point at a Time: What Tennis Taught Me About Winning in Life

I hope these left you with some encouragement or at least some little nuggets you can take away. Please share your thoughts or if you have anything to add! I’d love to hear from you. 


Until next time, 


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