Champions in Action at the French Open

Last week I had the opportunity to watch champions in action while attending the French Open. One of the matches that I saw -  Alexander Zverev vs Damir Dzumhur – stuck out for me because of the quality of the competition, and because of what happened near the end.

At 21, the young Zverev has already risen into the top five in the rankings, and Dzumhur, at 26, currently has a career high ranking of 29. Their match was a clash between two tennis players competing at their highest levels.

Dzumhur played exceptionally well; he got up two sets to one and was serving for the match at 6-5 in the fourth set against the #2 player in the world at one of the biggest tournaments in the world. I wondered to myself whether he would be able to hold his nerve (and his serve).

Zverev ended up breaking Dzumhur’s serve with ease and went on to win the match. At the most crucial moment of the match, Dzumhur was unable to find his next gear but Zverev was. That was the difference between winning and losing. Dzumhur did everything right to get his chance to win but faltered right before the finish line.

I saw similar patterns in the other matches I watched at the French Open. The difference between victory and defeat for many of the players was their ability (or inability) to find their next gear at the most critical moments.  Some players were overwhelmed by the moment. Others overwhelmed the moment.

In sports, the best teams and most elite performers in the world are the ones that know how to find their next gear in the key moments. Zverev, the #2 player in the world, was able to step his game up when he needed it most, and because of that, he moved on to the next round.

Sport provides one of the more salient examples of how important it is to find your next gear, as it manufactures turning points where an athlete must either step up or step out and go home. Our daily lives produce these same moments - less frequently but no less important than the ones faced by these world class athletes.

These moments challenge us to find our next gear, to step up and perform in key moments so that we too may attain the levels of success that we desire. And, just like the athletes we see on television, if we don’t step up, then we too may never reach the levels of peak performance we desire.

Until we meet again, busy seeing the Champion in you.

Dr. Tomi

Don't Let Life Pass You By

My husband and I are preparing for an eventual move from our home of 20+ years. Recently I have been on a cleaning spree to prepare, and the hard drive on my computer was no exception. As I organized my files, I came across an old poem I wrote.

Time Gone By

Lost in thoughts of days gone by,
Who was I then?
Tick, tock, tick, tock.

Lost in thoughts of this moment,
Who am I now?
Tick, tock, tick, tock.

Lost in thoughts of the future,
Who can I be?
Tick, tock, tick, tock.

Time has run out... why did I waste my life being lost?

I sat in silence after reading it, thinking on how easy it is to put ourselves in a rut and let life pass us by, and on what the opposite of this poem would be. I wondered, “how do great leaders spend their time? How do they avoid the life potential trap of woulda-coulda-shoulda?” Then I went back to deleting old files off my computer. Apparently, the question wasn’t compelling enough. Or so I thought.

Later that same afternoon, my younger son, Warren, wanted to go to the bookstore. I wasn’t looking for a book, but elected to go, as I have always loved the feel of the bookstore and being in the presence of so much wisdom.

We went to the bookstore, and I did my usual perusing of the aisles. One book caught my eye: Messages From The Masters by Dr. Brian Weiss. The only other book I had read by Dr. Weiss, Many Masters, Many Lives, had caused me to change some of my world views, so I figured it was worth a shot.

I couldn’t put that book down. The pages of Messages From The Masters spoke right to the heart of my poem Time Gone By:

So wake up and climb out of your rut. If you stay asleep, you will grow old still asleep and you will miss your life’s potential.

Live in the present, not the past or the future. The past is over, learn from it and let it go. The future is not yet here. Plan for it, but do not worry. Worry only wastes your time and energy.  (p. 130)

Great leaders - masters - wake up. They don’t miss their life’s potential, and they do it by living in the present, letting go of the past, and planning for the future. Then they let the rest go.

Dr. Tomi

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