It Hurts and I Think I Like It

Read More: Discipline

My mother-in-law beats me!?!?

You can learn a lot from a direct hit by an incoming tennis ball. Especially when it’s delivered by a hard shot from your mother-in-law. As humorous as that might sound, it really happened to me when I first started playing tennis a few years back. I get hit a LOT less often now (we’ll get to that part in a minute) but the life lessons are still coming my way along with the tennis balls. I was reminded of all this on the tennis courts Saturday morning as my family and I were settling in to the first week of our annual month-long pilgrimage to Florida. Every year this wonderful family tradition gives me a fresh perspective on life along a change of scenery…if not a change of pace…the passionate work of building our community still goes on every day even though I’m surrounded by loved ones and a beautiful semi-tropical environment.

So, bear with me while I give you some background. After watching the pure enjoyment my wife Leslie was getting from the game of tennis about six years ago, I decided to give it a try. At this point I was a raw novice and had only been out on the court a couple times as a child, but Leslie’s passion for the game made me want to play too. My learning experience was a “trial by fire” in a doubles match. I didn’t know what a “Florida Net Player” was back then, but I quickly discovered why a lot of people avoid that position. My mother-in-law pegged me directly in the neck and it stung like crazy. My bravado didn’t quite cover up the pain and she knew she had whacked me a good one. Instead of apologizing she said, “You’ve got a racquet, Michael. Hit the ball!” It sounds comically simple but the application to life and business has never left me. How many needless hits do we take in life by failing to use what’s in easy reach?

Since that day the net is my favorite place to play on the court and I’ve found that real “Florida Net Players” have a kind of laser focus you won’t find anywhere else in the game of tennis. It’s an energy I like to bring to everything I do now…both on and off the court. I still get hit from time to time, but now it’s just part of the game. When you’re up there in the heat of competition it’s just you and the ball and your reflexes, and I’ve started to see some really fun parallels between that experience and what we do every day in the home business world. Typically I play three to four times a week in league or pick-up matches, but for the last few weeks, excruciating pain from tennis elbow has kept me off the court. I’ve been resting up for my Florida trip and getting back out on the court really hurt and the experience taught me a lot about FORCE versus FORM.

Here’s what’s become clear to me; form wins over force every time. After that stinging shot to the neck, I decided that it might be a good idea to make friends with that racquet and learn how to be in position when that ball comes flying in. I’m sure you can see the correlation to business. When I inherited Leslie’s passion for tennis I became fully invested in the experience. I wanted to look, walk, talk, eat, sleep and breathe like a real player. I invested in gear, I invested practice time on the court and I invested in lessons with a coach who could teach me how to form the RIGHT HABITS OF THOUGHT AND ACTION from day one, rather than faking it and reinforcing things I’d have to “unlearn” later on. The more I tried to force a game… or force a shot… the more I lost. The more I concentrated on my form, the more I was able to relax into my game and the joy of the experience. My hit rate and my win rate naturally went up.

Whenever you adapt to a new experience or a new level of performance, you are guaranteed to experience some temporary discomfort… muscle soreness, a shot to your pride, or even a shot to the neck by a speeding tennis ball. In the Marine Corps we used to say that this kind of temporary pain was a sign of weakness leaving your body. In life and business, temporary discomfort is a sign of fear leaving your life on the way to new levels of achievement. When you can let go of your emotional attachment to one particular outcome, just as I had to let go of attachment to ego on the tennis court, you’ll discover that you’re free to get all the way into the “game” no matter what that game might be… business, relationships or personal development. As a parent, an athlete, a spouse or an entrepreneur, you’ll find the rewards of winning come more naturally and more frequently when you get all the way up to the net and play with passion. Do that with consistency and I’ll see you in the winner’s circle.

Michael Hamburger


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About the Author: Michael Hamburger

Member Since: 10/01/2008

Company: Real Estate Worldwide

Industry: Business Opportunities

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