By Joni Lindquist

I have long enjoyed watching the Wimbledon tennis tournament, one of the four Grand Slams each year in pro tennis.   Having once played tennis myself, I find the players’ skills to be simply amazing.  This year, Serena Williams and Roger Federer, the two winningest champions of this generation, have both made it to the final (as of this writing).  Williams has won 19 Grand Slam titles in her career while Federer has won 17.  And it’s their ages that are making headlines.  Both are nearing age 34 years old, once considered ancient in pro tennis.  Watching the tournament, it struck me that we can all learn a little bit about career management from Serena and Roger.  Here are 5 tips I gleaned:

  1. Stay Fit – Williams and Federer are arguably in the best physical condition of their lives. Although most of us aren’t professional athletes, fitness is still important.  Staying healthy helps us deal with stress, boosts energy levels and aides in mental processing.  For me, it also helps me maintain a positive outlook and attitude.  As with the Wimbledon champions, staying fit serves as the foundation for the rest of the tips.
  2. Keep Improving – both of these tennis pros have added to their games over the years. Williams’ court movement is better (no doubt a result of being in great physical condition) while Federer has improved his serve and backhand.  In our careers, we need to keep learning and building our skills to remain relevant.
  3. Take Breaks – both Serena and Roger have sustained injuries which forced them to take time off from the game to recuperate.  It shouldn’t take a physical malady for the rest of us to take time off.  Perhaps we are too plugged in and don’t truly take enough breaks, even while on vacation.  We need quality time away in order to recharge our batteries.  When we take breaks we can return reenergized, just like the tennis champions.
  4. Build Upon Your Strengths – Serena has had an incredible serve for years. Recently, however, it has improved so much that most experts now deem it the best serve EVER in the women’s game.  It’s not just speed, which is phenomenal – upwards to 130 mph – but also her placement.  Federer meanwhile has always had great court movement.  Over time, he has continued to improve gliding motion and become even more efficient.  While not the fastest, he may cover the court as well as anyone in the men’s game.               For the rest of us, building upon our core strengths at work will likely help us advance rather than trying to “fix” things we’re not good at.  Figure out what you are GREAT at – and strive to continually be stronger so that you differentiate yourself and stand out from others.
  5. Set New Goals – This is an assumption I’m making. As Serena and Federer have amassed tournament and Grand Slam wins, it seems reasonable that they have set new goals for themselves.  If Federer wins this year, he will have won more titles at Wimbledon than any other man in history.  If Williams wins, she will have completed her second “Serena Slam” – winning four straight majors.

In our careers, we need to keep setting new goals so we don’t get stagnant.  This gives us motivation to improve and advance.  Without goals, we can have a tendency to just keep doing the same thing.  I encourage clients to write down their career goals each year, and then write down what they will do that year to make progress towards those goals.  As the old adage says, “if you don’t’ know where you are going, any road will take you.”  Setting objectives establishes where you are going, and although things will change over time, these goals can provide focus.  It’s important to take an active, rather than passive role when it comes to our careers.  Take charge instead of “letting things happen.”

Whether you enjoy tennis or not, we can all learn a few things from the champions.  For help building career and life skills, schedule a meeting by clicking below, contact Joni Lindquist –, or call (913) 345-1881.

Photo credit: toga / Foter / CC BY