Roger, Rafa + The Definition of Resilience / by Dana Wood

These guys. Great friends, fierce competitors and never-say-die consummate professionals. 

These guys. Great friends, fierce competitors and never-say-die consummate professionals. 

It's been a month and change since the final of the 2017 Aussie Open, and I still can't bring myself to watch it on DVR. I can be that way about matches I know, in advance, that Rafael Nadal has lost; he's my all-time fave player, and it's been a real roller coaster with Mr. Majorca in the past few years. 

Still, after having watched Rafa absolutely kill it in the lead-up to the final, why didn't I have more courage? And more importantly (I'm sorry, but despite the fact that it's correct grammar, I will nev. er. get used to swapping-in "important" for "importantly"), why couldn't I have just been happy that he made it that far?

That they both - 35-year-old Federer and 30-year-old Nadal - had made it that far?

Because here's the big takeaway I got while watching the AO, more so than during any other time I've watched Rafa recently. The guy doesn't give up. 

Every tournament, every match - every point - is an opportunity for Nadal to re-write the script and re-claim some of his 14 Grand Slams glory. So he takes that opportunity. He seizes that opportunity every single time. 

His perseverance - and the sheer positivity of just continuing to work really, really hard even when things haven't been going his way - really struck me like a bolt of lightning during the AO.

I've been trying to bring that champion mentality onto the court with me for my own little wussy-girly matches. To start fresh, even if I just got my head handed to me on a silver platter by my last opponent. 

I'm also trying to beg, borrow or steal that stick-to-it-ive-ness for my career. 

It's easy to be upbeat when things are going swimmingly. What's far harder is to stay on track, and in a state of forward momentum, when something not-great pierces your happy bubble. 

I'm there right now; I've been good and pierced by a situation with an unethical client that is just kooky-krazy bananas. It isn't on me; I know that. Maybe if it were on me, I'd feel less de-stabilized. 

But here's what I intend to do about my current state of de-stabilization: I'm going to compartmentalize, in a healthy way, and put that one bad client situation on a mental island all by itself. By doing that, it won't have the chance to infect every other (objectively awesome) part of my work-life. 

And then I'm gonna bring it. I'm gonna step back out on that court ready to win. 

UPDATE: Yes he lost the AO, but Rafa ended up winning TWO slams in 2017 - The French Open, for an unprecedented 10th time, and the U.S. Open. (The latter win went down during Hurricane Irma, as I watched, white-knuckled, from St. Petersburg, Fl.) That brings his total to 16. Yesssssssssss.