By Chris Koch (Lead Coach in Sydney for Voice Coach)
In the few days after the epic, history making Australian Open Men’s Final between Federer and Nadal, I found myself talking about Federer and his qualities repeatedly while coaching clients.
Then a friend sent through the following video:
Commentators always talk about how Federer plays ‘aggressive’ tennis. I’m not sure that what he does - setting the agenda, making interesting offers that the other player has to respond to – is best described in this way. I think that he takes responsibility for initiating the play, and generating new and inventive strategies. It looks to me like a creative process.
Physical instinct, purpose and drive, in the same package as rational practicality, creative strategy (proactively implemented), graciousness, perspective, clear-sightedness and non-attachment to outcome:
"I try to push myself not to get upset and stay positive, and that’s what my biggest improvement is over all these years. Under pressure I can see things very clearly."
What we’re looking at is a fabulous demonstration of how it’s possible for all of those things to exist simultaneously, in the one personal identity.
We don’t have to lose our vulnerability, our passion, our dignity and graciousness in the workplace, no matter how competitive. It’s not a given. There are reasons that can happen, and explanations, but ultimately none of them are really satisfactory. And if we look to Federer’s example, it’s clear that retaining these qualities doesn’t have to mean we lose our focus, our drive, our competitive edge, or our purpose.
Federer speaking with typical humility after his euphoric win at the Australian Open, said a few days ago: "When I heard Andy [Murray] and others speak about the magnitude of the importance of this match, I actually said:
‘All out, I’m embracing this thing. I understand - it’s important to you guys - and its important to me too but… I still have the mindset: I have nothing to lose. And I think I was able to shuffle all those things around in my head and believed to the very end of the match that I could turn it around, and the last four or five games were just epic so… I couldn’t be happier of course.’
Then he proceeded to answer the European journalists’ questions in fluent French (he is multilingual too - sigh).
At Voice Coach we can't turn you into a tennis champion. If, on the other hand, you’d like to speak with the graciousness, clarity of purpose, and perspective of a Federer, we can help.