Confession time – I’m a Wimbledon addict. I love tennis, and Wimbledon is the perfect backdrop for the best tennis in the world. To me, Centre Court is the modern day Gladiator arena; the physical and psychological toughness required simply inspires and awes me. For fans like myself, it’s a two week roller-coaster, but one that ended this year on a fabulous note – not necessarily because Andy Murray is British, but because he so very much deserved it, because he had fought every step of the way to earn the right to lift the trophy. So, what are the winning factors that can we learn from his journey?
Factor #1: Belief
You have to believe you can achieve what you’ve set out to – no matter what the external circumstances may be pointing to. In an era where Murray was jostling for the title against the likes of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic it would have been easy to let go and think the mission futile. Believe in yourself, persevere and never let go.
Factor #2: Resilience
Following on from the above, he was never defeated in his failure. He mentioned in a recent interview that whereas at one time it would have taken weeks to recover from his loss in the final last year, he just picked himself up and carried on. Learn from your failures and then move on.
Factor #3: Teamwork
Whilst Murray is the man hitting the balls and producing the winners, there is a huge entourage around him – a coach who has been hugely instrumental in shaping him to be a Champion; dietician, physio, nutritionist etc. He’s picked the right people for the right role and always thanks them. Even if you’re the star of your own show, make sure you’ve got the right people supporting you and acknowledge them every step of the way.
Factor #4: Authenticity
Murray hasn’t been the easiest of tennis players to idolise. His well charted journey from petulant adolescent and media antagonist to winning the hearts of the British public has been a challenge for him, and yet he’s never tried to be somebody he’s not. He’s grown and matured along the way, but without sacrificing his true self. Look at where you need to bring people with you for the journey, and do it in an authentic way.
Factor #5: Community
Murray clearly has a strong sense of identity tied with the community of Dunblane. No doubt heightened by the tragedy he survived there, his roots are strong and he is profoundly aware of a responsibility that goes beyond breaking 77 years of history. Connect with others and create a community around what you believe in, give back and always be conscious that you are a role model for others.
Factor #6: Hunger
He wanted it. Badly. Badly enough to keep getting up, to dust off after the defeats, to persevere and keep going. How badly do you want what you’re working towards? Does it keep you awake at night? How far are you willing to go to achieve what you’ve set out to?
Factor #7: Passion
The frequent displays of raw energy and emotion are testament to the passion Murray has for the game. In fact he could have had all the above, but without the passion and the love for the sport, the game and everything it represents, he would not have made it. You have to love what you do. Connect to that passion, channel it and use it to propel you forward – that’s what will take you to the ultimate goal.
Sometimes it’s difficult in business to pick out the above qualities when they’re hidden beneath a suit or behind politically correct conversations. In sport, they’re bared for all to see – raw, unvarnished and blessedly free of marketing spin. Let’s learn from that and bring more of it into our own leadership – the world needs it.