Johanna Konta’s quarter-final match against world number two Simona Halep, was a thrilling display of athleticism and power. The barrage of serves, ferocious returns and gruelling rallies kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the two and a half hour match, but what impressed me most of all, was Konta’s unwavering focus and determination.
In what was possibly the most highly pressured match of her career so far, Konta kept cool, calm and collected as she battled her way to become the first British woman to reach the semi-finals of Wimbledon since Virginia Wade in 1978. This ability to stay focused on the end goal is just as important to commercial success as it is to winning Wimbledon. So let’s learn by example and follow Konta’s masterclass in focus and determination to help us raise our game and become a true commercial athlete.
Lesson #1 – Focus Is The Key To Success
Konta describes herself as “process orientated” and has worked with various coaches to help her manage her mental state. She has learned to control the emotional meltdowns that affected her early career as shown when her coach said, “Johanna is very focused… she’s trying to stay in a neutral state.” Konta’s hard work has clearly paid off. As the roar of the crowd grew on Centre Court, Konta kept her composure, playing each point as though her life depended on it and wasn’t even distracted when a woman shouted out at match point. This ability to keep your head when all around are losing theirs, is equally important in the world of business. Great leaders need to stay focused on the task ahead of them by drawing on their self-control – a key EQ skill. Self-control enables you to stay calm in a crisis, manage your anxiety and rebound from any setbacks that come your way. A great way to develop a more focused and peaceful mind is by using mindfulness techniques that enable you to calm the mind so you can be truly present in the moment.
Lesson #2 – Determination Delivers Results
Konta’s drive and determination to win is evident in every match she plays. It’s therefore not surprising that she said, “I knew at nine that I wanted to be the best player in the world.” This desire to achieve the extraordinary is what differentiates true champions, for as Muhammad Ali wisely said, “Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the will and the skill but the will has to be stronger than the skill.” This holds equally true in the business world. Given today’s uncertain and challenging business conditions, you need to keep raising the bar if you want to stand out from the competition. A powerful way to achieve this is to make sure you keep moving out of your comfort zone into your stretch zone – your area of best performance. It is only by stretching yourself in this way that you can move from good to great.
Now, all that’s left is for us is to do is wait with bated breath for Konta’s head to head with Venus Williams in today’s semi finals, wish her the very best of luck and keep our fingers crossed that she’ll be the first British woman in almost 40 years to reach the Wimbledon Singles Final!