I recently received an email from a D1 college tennis player who wrote me that he was concerned that his game had maxed out. He felt that his cautious style of waiting for his opponent to miss was inhibiting his potential.
As I usually do, I encouraged him to write a different story, one that, in his case, would flip his story to one of being a risk taker. I encouraged him to give it a chance as the bigger risk was staying cautious and staying the same.
He wrote the new story and as he was about to embark on his new journey he must have had second thoughts as this email question from him arrived:
What helped you finally make the great transformation from a good tennis player to #1 in the world? Was it just belief or did you finally make a decision to make the changes you need to do?
Thanks and would love to hear your thoughts.
My response, I believe, may shed some light on being able to risk making changes:
I decided that who I was being as a player was not a forever fact.
I decided that I would no longer listen to my own voice of doubt and that I would work incrementally, putting one foot in front of the other.
I would leave where I was without knowing or being overly-concerned with where I would end up.
I was certain that I wouldn’t end up where I started.
And I still am putting one foot in front of the other, still not sure where the journey will end.
Winning a tournament, getting an Eastern ranking, winning a National match, getting a National ranking, winning a National tournament, making the senior Davis Cup team, winning a World Championship, being ranked #1 in the World and getting into the Eastern Tennis Hall of Fame were never in my sights until they were one step in front of me.
I just kept my head down and lived a tennis life of kaizen.
For anyone embarking on the change journey, in any part of life, take one step and see where it takes you. As you move forward, a small step will give you the confidence to take a bigger step. As you move onward, your view of where you are headed will change and the fear of how big change is will shrink. In fact, you are likely to find that change can be easy, fun and free of fear.