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The Fifth Set – Lessons from Wimbledon

October 29, 2008

Written by Meredith Oliver

The Fifth Set – Lessons from Wimbledon

Wimbledon has a new king. In the longest men’s final in Wimbledon history, Rafael Nadal dethroned five time champion Roger Federer. It was a thrill to watch on television and I can only imagine how thrilling it was to be there in-person.


Tournament conditions were grueling. Rain delays, a chill in the air and gusting winds made the high profile match even more difficult.


It wasn’t easy to win or lose this particular match because each time Nadal served for match point, Federer volleyed back to win the point. Four hours and forty-eight minutes long, five sets and three tie-breaks later it finally came to end. Nadal fell to the ground in exhaustion and jubilation while Federer stood silently stunned.


As I watched the epic struggle between competitors, it reminded me of current conditions in the real estate market. No doubt market conditions are more grueling than ever. And it certainly feels like the market has been this way forever (although it hasn’t). Some days it probably even feels like “match point” on your sales career.


I think we can learn an important lesson from the men’s final at Wimbledon; off-court fitness determines on-court success. Successful athletes train harder than their sport actually requires on game day. Winners know that if you can handle the pain and the pressure in practice, you can handle pain and pressure at match point. Sometimes, success isn’t about performing perfectly as much as it being able to chase down the last volley on the last tiebreak of a five set match. Hanging in there counts for something!


Do you have what it takes to go all five sets in the toughest match of your career? Do you prepare off-court for your on-court performance?


Preparing off-court means planning during good times for the more challenging times. Selling is a privilege. You earn the right to make lots of money during the good times by preparing yourself off-court for the on-court battles. No one can completely foresee the future, but if you want the perks of selling you have to plan ahead. Mentally, physically, spiritually and financially, winning match point requires the ultimate off-court fitness.


Off-Court Fitness Checklist (Check all that apply. Each item is worth 1 point):

  1. ___ I have three month cash and adequate retirement savings
  2. ___ I pay off my credit card debt every month
  3. ___ I constantly network and look for new opportunities
  4. ___ I have an electronic database of personal and professional contacts
  5. ___ I read business books, magazines and journals every month
  6. ___ I update my professional image regularly
  7. ___ I deliver outstanding service to my existing customers
  8. ___ I consistently ask for referrals
  9. ___ I have a mentor or participate in a mastermind group
  10. ___ I belong and attend professional organizations
  11. ___ I re-invest a percentage of income on self-improvement
  12. ___ I attend training seminars and workshops
  13. ___ I set personal and professional goals
  14. ___ I exercise regularly, eat sensibly and get enough sleep
  15. ___ I have a hobby or passion for my spare time
  16. ___ I spend quality time with my family
  17. ___ I volunteer or find ways to give back
  18. ___ I have good relationships with my boss and peers
  19. ___ I make time to take care of myself
  20. ___ I love my job


How well did you score?


If you scored 20 – 15 – You are in game day shape. Good job. Keep up the off-court training.


If you scored 15 – 7 – You need to increase your training regimen. You are doing a lot of things right, but not quite enough for the big match.


If you scored 7 or below – You won’t make it past the first set. You need to immediately start training for a higher level of off-court preparedness.


Now is the time to start prepping off-court for your next on-court match. Don’t wait. Life is too short. Tim Russert and Tony Snow are smiling down nodding their heads in agreement. Ironically, as you prepare for a long and prosperous career, lots of other benefits manifest like closer family ties, improved health and quality of life. Most importantly, when the chips are down you will be able to continue to make money and support your loved ones. It doesn’t get any better than that (unless it comes with a free tank of gas)!

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