CNN covered an interview recently on Andre Agassi returning to tennis to coach Novak Djokovic in his next chapter of his career. Such a great read as well as an insightful interview of Brad Gilbert, commentator extraordinaire and former coach of Andre Agassi.
He talked about how Agassi played his best tennis after 29, the latter chapters of the legend’s career.
He was further asked about the player-coach relationship and how that dynamic works. We forget sometimes that these superstars we see on screen are also human beings traveling the journey of life with its ups and downs, whether for glory or strife.
I love tennis and try to play as much as I can. The mental part of the game is ridiculously intense. I can only imagine what these talented and dedicated pros go through at the highest levels of the game.
Djokovic has had his downs lately, despite being on top of the world for a long stint. And he was looking for an answer to his crisis. He read Agassi’s bestseller, Open. I love that book for the same reason as many did. He was shockingly transparent and human about his failures. It took a lot of courage for Agassi to put his thoughts, memories and confessions out there.
I think we all get stuck at times. And it’s hard to figure out how to get out of the rut. When we have had success, it’s not necessarily a guarantee that the streak will continue. Then what do we do? Do we pretend we are always successful? Or do we get real?
The CNN interview Brad Gilbert had struck me as something real. He understood the human part as well as the technical trade of the game. And he was seeking to describe the parts of our humanity that unlock our potential. Concepts such as wisdom, insight and connection matter. If we are disconnected from our hearts or other people, it’s hard to perform or make sense of how the relentless spinning world around us can make sense.
I’ve been up and down in my life, much like many of the successful people I know. Heck, we can’t evade the law of averages. There are too many other forces at work to dictate our circumstances.
So what do you do when you may have had success and can’t seem to find that groove again? Perhaps Djokovic has found hope and an answer by connecting with what he is perceiving as real in Agassi’s journey. He has all the physical skills to dominate. He has already done what so many other people envy and dream about.
Getting congruent and finding that emotional connection to make ourselves whole is critical to lining up the pieces whether for the first taste of success or for renewal.
I have seen this journey. It can feel like a reboot. It’s not necessarily about success. It’s about alignment. Successful people already have experienced the achievement of their desires and will. But to mature and stay consistent in a place that is so intense demands a depth in our pursuits, perhaps a discipline and graduation from mere determination.
Getting and losing something can be confusing. And hard work and effort don’t necessarily overcome the elusive nature of achieving success again.
Maybe it’s about growing up. Or there’s a secret to less effort and more reward from the fact that experience allows us to move with more ease. Experienced pros aren’t trying harder and working harder. They know what matters and live into that space.
There’s great drama watching the celebrities. It draws us in and enthralls us. It’s entertainment.
But, the narrative of our own lives are what we have to deal with day in and day out. And I think there are things we learn when we can see the human parts of those top .1% of people that hyper focus on success.
How can we do things that are substantive and long-term? How can we gain what feels lost?
There’s a human part to it all that really matters and the great ones seem to understand this.
There are things that work. There are things that hurt. And there are things that don’t matter.
We can feel like we arrived when we achieved something in life. But if it’s so hard to hold on, or we lose what we worked so hard for, is it really success?
Maybe that’s the time to think, seek wisdom and find out what creates sustainability.
I like achievements. But the staying power, and maturity that comes with such rare form, is a next chapter in the story which is natural to the success journey. Don’t despair when you lose something. Build on those lessons to create that next chapter of staying.