Drive the ball — Stay aware during this crisis and you will win.

When I first started playing tennis as an adult I was pretty much a mediocre player, and I still am, but as a competitive person, I couldn’t let myself be bad at something, so I never stopped trying. The reason I am bad at tennis is the same reason someone can be bad at anything that needs skill, you need a technique to get the ball over while speed and stamina can get you up to a certain point.

To tell you the truth, I am not that much into tennis but I was definitely into finding out why.This was my situation, I often found myself chasing the ball or stepping back slowly to get more time for a hit, but what this caused was to hit the ball weakly or with the wrong technique. It was frustrating to me as I was really struggling to be consistent. You can understand that I was not only mad at myself but at the coach as he could not get his message through and then it hit me. At some point after numerous attempts, it struck me, in order to get the ball right, I have to hit it in an active and not passive manner. I have to drive the ball and not the ball to drive me.This was game-changing, I was finally getting better on my technique by being proactive on every shot. This got me thinking “What if this is the mistake I am doing wrong all this time in my business?, I am passive rather than active.”.

So how did a tennis ball change my whole attitude towards anything in life? I am not a natural go-getter, I have to always push myself to get the things I want but when I do, it seems easy just because I build obstacles in my mind that make me think it’s not worth pursuing. Going back to tennis, I am the kind of player that will chase every single ball because I believe I have the speed to get it but when I do, I do not have the skills or experience to pass it over the net. So what drove me to chase every single ball in tennis that could not be applied in life?

I was lacking passion, a reason to chase anything, whereas in tennis it is pretty much explained to you that your goal is to pass the ball over the net and collect as many points as possible to win. In business, the goal is subjective to each individual and money is your first answer when you don’t have one. However, money is not the goal, its a point system and more specifically money is an adjusted point system that is purely based on society’s ideals and the economy’s standards. Being rich means that you are lucky to have passion for the ideals the modern society has appointed or hungry for what money buys. That’s not the point. Top tennis players are not great because of the price, that’s their fuel, they are great because they love the game.

So what gives you the incentive to drive the ball? Your passion for the game not the result. If you chase the result, you most likely lose interest when starting to get behind the score and never chase a hard ball. So when everything goes wrong you most likely stare at the ball coming towards you and do nothing. We are in a similar situation right now, the world is getting beaten big time. Very few businesses are doing well and we are most likely facing an economic crisis for the next couple of years.

If you have passion for what you do, you will most probably fight for it, because you know that if you win you will be in a much better position than before. That’s is why bubbles happen, when an industry is booming and it’s all based on hype, the ones that fail are the ones that got into the game for the money. If you have the passion or a vision for what you do, you will probably get through any situation by having the incentive to survive.

This crisis will be catastrophic for some business and individuals but glorious for the ones who drive the ball and most importantly have the willingness to chase it. So how can someone actually get inspiration from a tennis ball through this crisis. Just by revisiting the steps of a simple tennis swing.

So the first thing you do is try to calculate the situation, where the ball is going to drop. This is a judgement of experience and the more experienced you are the earlier you will get a feeling of where it’s heading. This is where you really need to stay on your feet and be aware of every new information that is available, but let’s review the steps from the start.

  • Stage 1: The ball is hitting the opponent’s racket — True experience will know where to go, usually wait but keep your feet moving.

These are 3 basic steps (sorry but I am a mediocre player so I am sure I left some details out), to ensure you get to the right point on time to swing with a right technique. So how can this apply to the current situation?

Stage 1: All businesses close down due to lockdown and you start calculating the approximate results of this event. This is more of a curve ball where the initial hit is misleading.

Stage 2: After the initial shock you start getting ready for the moment we start getting back to a somewhat normal life and adjust your business accordingly. You aim to get to a point where you are more likely to strike back when it’s over.

Stage 3: Businesses open. You are now in a position to operate with new data in mind and not any previous standards. You have to just be accurate and swing back until the next ball comes back. For some businesses if the ball is too tricky and short there is no turning back and they will have to risk being in front of the net to finish the game or to lose.

I know that for some tennis means nothing but the analogies are helping me get a point out. We are now in Stage 2, probably at the beginning of it, and we are planning the next day. The one thing I know is that whatever the outcome, I will be prepared for a scenario, probably the worst one. This gives me a reason to feel confident about the future and to never regret not chasing a hard but winning ball. If I lose I will have fought for it but if I win, that will be a match point.

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Hotelier & Tourism Enthousiast

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Konstantinos Santikos

Konstantinos Santikos

Hotelier & Tourism Enthousiast

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