What Nadal's Historic Win Teaches Us About the Importance of Purpose…and, a Lethal Forehand
In this issue: What Nadal’s Historic Win Teaches Us About the Importance of Purpose … / Purpose and the employee / Help employees improve well-being and performance – Gallup / The Lighter Side of Finding Your Purpose
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What Nadal’s Historic Win Teaches Us About the Importance of Purpose…and, a Lethal Forehand
Whether you’re a tennis fan or not Rafael Nadal’s 21st Grand Slam win was nothing short of miraculous.
Almost sixteen years after his first Grand Slam win at Wimbledon in 2006, he continues to demonstrate why he’s one of the all-time greats in an incredibly physically and mentally demanding sport.
What made this recent victory even more astounding was the fact by his own admission he was just happy to be playing in Melbourne after a rare degenerative bone disease threatened to finally end a career plagued by injuries.
But he adjusted.
He changed his game so he could start playing again…only to contract COVID.
In the end, his love for the game prevailed.
Despite not being at his physical best nor able to practice enough…
He showed up.
He never gave up.
He played with passion and determination.
And after losing the first two sets of the Final, 5 hours and 24 grueling minutes later, in what was called a tennis masterclass…he won!
He had overcome a lot to achieve this.
Coming back from injury and illness.
Having limited practice time.
And an opponent 10 years his junior, in peak playing shape.
Even still, with all this against him, he won.
While it’s not usually easy to will ourselves to do our best, victory becomes a whole lot easier and sweeter when what you're doing lights you up inside.
When, you find your purpose.
The Purpose Deficit
According to Gallup, last year, for the first time in over a decade, employee engagement declined (and it wasn’t very high before).
A little over one-third of employees (34%) were engaged, and 16% were actively disengaged in their work and workplace.
Think about it…
If you were/are in your office and you looked to the left and to the right of you, it’s likely that at least one or both of those people are disengaged.
Depending on the person in the mirror.
The truth is most of us aren’t like Rafael Nadal (I’m a master of understatement :).
It’s unlikely that we’ll be asked to show up and endure extreme pain and discomfort to beat an opponent, whether it’s a rival on the court or the stack of papers on our desks.
But what if, in our own way, we could bring a version of Nadal-like passion to our work?
If we could find the same feeling of inner joy for what we do each day like Rafa does?
What if we too could find our greater purpose?!
In a recent survey by McKinsey, they found that nearly two-thirds of US-based employees said that COVID-19 caused them to reflect on their purpose in life.
And that nearly half were reconsidering the kind of work they wanted to do.
While the talk around the Great Resignation might indicate otherwise, this search for a greater purpose isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
People who find their purpose at work are more productive than people who don’t.
This can lead to an increase in those low employee engagement scores, improve loyalty and make it easier to hire the best talent.
So how can we find this holy grail?
It begins with defining what truly motivates us, understanding why and continually working to achieve it.
Having a purpose doesn’t necessarily equate with some big career goal, it can also be something more intrinsic, like the prospect of learning new skills or deepening their expertise.
Even in Nadal’s case, it would be easy to mistake achieving a record twenty-one wins with his greater purpose, but even after all of these years, it’s clearly still about his love of the game and being the best, he can be.
Which, at this moment, is the best in the world.
So, how can you find your purpose-filled victories …
If you want to develop more purpose here are three things you can try:
1. Know the Game. If you don’t define your purpose, it’s impossible to live it. Once defined, reflect on what matters to you and what would make it meaningful. This will help make it easier to determine when you’re out of alignment (or moving away from purpose), so you can adjust your “game” to more closely align with your values, interests and purpose.
2. Play to Win. Being the best version of yourself can be a purpose, unto itself. By continually working to improve, like Nadal, you can also find greater joy in the process and, therefore always be ready for the big matches when they happen.
3. Get a Coach. The best players know that they can’t do it all by themselves, that’s why they have coaches. It’s not always possible to have a clear view of all the shots we take and sometimes it takes an outside, unbiased, and knowledgeable perspective to help guide us towards achieving our overall purpose.
RECOMMENDED LISTENS, READS
Purpose and the employee: “Employees with a calling could well be more dedicated. But that doesn’t necessarily make them better at the job. And teams are likelier to perform well if they blend types of employees: visionaries to inspire, specialists to deliver, and all those people who want to do a job well but not think about it at weekends.”
Help employees improve well-being and performance – Gallup
“When your employees' wellbeing is thriving, your organization directly benefits -- they take fewer sick days, deliver higher performance, and have lower rates of burnout and turnover. But when your employees' well-being suffers, so does your organization's bottom line.”
The Lighter Side of Finding Your Purpose
I hadn’t followed Nadal’s story but you inspired me to look it up. :) In this Covid world of physical isolation and limitations, my sense of purpose and knowing how to live it has been confused. The story you shared here reminded me that what is possible is what I say is possible - so many people would have believed Nadal’s ability to play, let alone win, not possible and actively discouraged him. Like you said - he never gave up and look what happened.