John's Parable of the Secret Way to Success
A sales team that fell short of budget, the words of a charismatic boss, and the story of a boy at tennis summer camp give us a clue as to the right path to success.
I once had a boss named José Luis . A charismatic guy, a legendary publicist who blindly relies on the power of your own image and the magic of believing things so that they start to happen.
Also, José Luis is a great storyteller.
One afternoon in May, during a tense meeting with the commercial area, he learned that once again we would not reach the budget. He had only recently assumed the management of the company and I think he was still struggling to order the processes, to understand how we operated.
"Why aren't we reaching the goal?" - The question revealed a certain despair and the silence that followed revealed that we ourselves did not have the answer.
It was a colleague who finally steeled herself to try to answer José Luis:
"The budget is crazy, it is impossible to reach." In fact, I warn you that the following month I will not reach my quota either and I highly doubt that anyone will ...
I suppose that the answer exalted José Luis, although he did not show it. He kept cool and instead of exploding (as he could have) told us a story.
He told us that since he was a child he liked to play tennis. He was good and sometimes he dreamed of becoming a professional. His father, another lover of white sports, shared his son's illusions and looking for tools to help him improve his technique, he sent him to a tennis camp in the United States all summer.
It was the place of their dreams: from dawn until the sun one could play. There were group clinics, private training sessions with a coach, friendly matches and - of course - a big tournament to determine who was the best player in the whole camp.
Like the others, José Luis trained hard: he woke up early, took care of his diet, followed the advice of the coaches. I dreamed of returning to Mexico with the precious trophy, but I knew that winning it would be very difficult ...
The level of those attending the camp was very good and they all believed that the only way to succeed was to train harder than others, aided by new rackets, modern tennis shoes and attractively designed shirts.
Everyone except John.
One of José Luis's cabin companions would wake up calmly, at the time his body indicated. He didn't seem to train much and instead of stressing out, he was having a good time every day. He always played in worn denim shorts and his old racket seemed to have already fought a thousand battles. As everyone talked about the clinics, their heroes on the pitch, and supposed feats in their hometowns, John just watched.
One night, before going to sleep, curious about his behavior, José Luis questioned him.
"John, why don't you train? Shouldn't you?"
The boy with the Chinese hair and light eyes looked at him with a smile.
"I don't train because I know I'm going to win the tournament." I'm the best.
José Luis found the answer a bit petulant. He was sure that once the tournament started, John would choke on his own words and regret not spending more time on his training.
The summer course reached the last stage and the tournament began. And then José Luis saw John play: his determination was that of a warrior. He played every point convinced that he would win it.
And it did.
In the end, John turned out to be the champion of the tournament.
The boy would go on to become a professional tennis player, win seven Grand Slam titles (four-time US Open champion and three-time Wimbledon champion) and rank # 1 in the Association of Professional Tennis Players (ATP) ranking for 170 weeks.
It was the best. And not just from the camp.
José Luis finished telling his anecdote with a phrase that still resonates in my mind and that I rescue from my memories every time I lose faith in myself and in the goal I intend to achieve:
"That day John gave me a lesson that I ask you to remember: the first step to achieving something is to be blindly convinced that you can do it." That you are invincible. That you are the best. That you will win.
Because if you really believe in what you want, you can become as great as John McEnroe.