Thursday, September 01, 2011

Emergency Success Plan

I love the U.S. Open. I've blogged about this before, a couple pf years ago when Melanie Oudin came out of nowhere, made a run for the title, and made us all BELIEVE just because she'd written it on her sneaker. Those moments are what remind me of how much can happen if we stay focused and keep on keeping on.

This year, I'm especially enjoying the commentators: John McEnroe, Chris Everett, Brad Gilbert... As they talk about what it takes to succeed in a sport with so many variables and challenges, much of what they say applies to normal lives like yours and mine. Last night, from John McEnroe: "Great talent is the ability to shrug off bad things that happen." Isn't that true? We're only a few days into the tournament, and already the discussion of how many players are working out a comeback of some sort is striking. It reminds me that in tennis and in life, there's no way to avoid setbacks, so you need to have a set of skills & a plan that helps you through.

Another topic that keeps coming up (they have a lot of air time to fill this early in the tournament, as most of the matches are smack downs that don't require all that much explaining) is how success--when a player breaks through and has a big win--often sets the stage for a season of disaster. A select few players assume the mantle of success gracefully, but many struggle to adjust to their new reality, floundering under the increased expectations, media scrutiny, and distraction of fans who suddenly know your name. Not to mention this: if you've had a single goal driving and motivating you for years, when you finally reach it, what do you focus on now? It can take a little time to figure out what life is about after that.

Have you thought about this at all? How will you handle being a top contender/published author/VP of Marketing/wife/husband/parent/lottery winner? Whatever it is we're working & praying about presents this question: aside from the daydreams of hoisting trophies into the air, how much have we thought about life after success? What are our non-negotiables in terms of the shape and direction we want life to take? How will we handle others' opinions of what we should do next? How will we preserve what matters and move forward into new endeavors?

Planning for success is so much more fun than coming up with a backup plan for if everything collapses. I'm grateful to the Johnny Mac & his peeps for reminding me to consider it.


KimberlyH said...

I've found that after a goal is achieved or a season of life ends for me, that I can feel uneasy; for example, finishing a semester of classes, or an event occurs that I've been planning & working towards for several months. Afterwards, I tend to feel like "what do I do with myself now?" or "what's next?"
In the past, I've tended to try to find something else to throw myself into. But I'm starting to recognize that uneasy feeling in myself and instead give myself some grace and time to adjust to the new situation. Honestly, those transitions can be difficult for me, even the transitions that are supposed to be "good".

Sarakastic said...

I'm really not scared of success just because I'm awesome now. When I fail at something, I am still awesome. Later on when I succeed, it's still the same amount of awesomeness.