Almost a year ago I wrote about Andy Murray’s incredible victory at the US OPEN and shared an interview with tennis professional Happy Bhalla. I also wrote about my own struggles with keeping the game of tennis in perspective as a game. I wanted to stop putting so much pressure on myself and to just enjoy it. Here is a link to that post: http://thesherpapath.com/happy-on-the-path/
This past week I found myself in an interesting tennis “game.” I entered a Club Tournament with a new friend and partner, Vinny. He is a great player – having played at Duke and on the tour less than ten years ago. We were favored to win the tourney, mostly based on Vinny’s abilities. This “expectation” could surely add pressure, as some people during the week said to me “Don’t mess up.” But, during the process I was determined to stay relaxed and enjoy the game, together with my partner.
The morning of the first match, I did some “mirror work” to talk to myself and to remember the truly difficult times at Everest Base Camp. It helped me to recognize that playing tennis at a summer resort community is not high stakes. Recalling those challenging moments helps to keep moments like these in perspective. A big lesson I learned from the Sherpas was to separate ego from reality. It came in handy here.
Vinny and I had great communication. Before the first match, as we were preparing our game plan, my ten year old daughter Jasper came over to us. In the past, when taking things too seriously, I may have asked her to let us be alone. But, I didn’t this time. She added levity to the conversation. And then, with Coach K-like delivery, she said, “When it gets tough just think of the three C’s: Be Calm, Cool and Confident.” Vinny and I looked at each other and high-fived. During the match, we used the three C’s and smiled on our way to victory.