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Rafael & Roger: Comebacks, Recovery and Historic Results

Posted by Joe Antle on July 17, 2017 9:15 AM EDT
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Perhaps the two greatest male tennis players in the 150-year history of tennis are enjoying unprecedented success in their comebacks from several years of good, but sub standard results (by their standards).  Their stories reveal key lessons for the principles of healthy recovery for everyone.....

...whether someone's healthy recovery has world-class professional athlete ramifications or not!

Okay.  As some of you may know, I am a tennis buff!  Not "tennis buff" in the sense of being in great physical shape, but "tennis buff" in the sense of loving to play the game and more than that, enjoying watching the game played by the best-irregardless of age, gender or socio-economic status. For me, tennis combines the skill and technique that takes years to hone along with extreme athleticism when played at the highest levels.  For me, it paid for college, has enabled me to meet countless great friends from all over the country and to this day is an avocation that keeps me striving to get better-even into my advanced age.

So, the remarkable stories this year of both Rafael Nadal's and Roger Federer's resurgence is nothing more than magical.  Great theater to be sure-but even greater examples of the key principles of healthy recovery-regaining what seems to have been permanently lost.

I won't delve into the statistical merits of these two legends, who are still competing (and at present, dominating) at the highest level of one of the world's oldest truly international individual sports.  (Golfers may hold me accountable for too much hyperbole here, but the fact that far more countries are represented in tennis on the international sports stage and that the athleticism in tennis given its weekly rigors are noteworthy makes my use of hyperbole reasonably acceptable).

So, for me, here are the key lessons that are applicable to anyone pursuing a meaningful and almost impossible breakthrough in healthy recovery, or in regaining aspects of their overall well-being that may have seemed lost forever:  recall Gallup's definition of well-being as having five key dimensions- Physical, Career, Financial, Social and Community.

Recovery=Reasons+Regimen+Reliance+Results+Rewards/Recognition

Reasons:  Every meaningful endeavor to regain something of value that is lost requires there to be a really important reason behind the need for the recovery.  Without a meaningful reason to regain something valuable this has been lost, there is no true commitment to do what it takes to succeed.

Regimen:  Every truly important recovery, in any or all of the five dimensions of well-being, relies heavily on a plan of action, a step-by-step set of activities that will produce the results that are being sought.  This requires deep sacrifice, rigor in terms of actions taken, focus and commitment and lots of measurement as the steps down the plan's path moves ahead.

Reliance:  For remarkable and sustainable recovery results, there must be a "team" of support and significant others who are about the recovery being made.  There needs to be relevant expertise in the areas that make up the recovery regimen, accountability, and transparency, shared rewards and consistent execution against the recovery plan.

Results:  Tracking results, sharing those with others who share the journey and care about the outcomes, and celebrating progress are keys to continuing the regimen with the kind of focus that produces even better results and results that will become sustainable over a period of time.  Measuring activity against the recovery plan's key milestones is an important requirement for staying on track.

Rewards/Recognition:  For most people, and certainly for Nadal and Federer who are wealthy beyond most people's wildest dreams, the recognition and the rewards of achieving truly meaningful recovery are as varied as are the people seeking such recovery successes.  But to be sure, they are rarely monetary.  The ones that keep the greatest motivation fires burning are more than likely ones that include recognition. Rewards have to be there, so it's important to understand what drives the results so that when the results happen the appropriate return on the invested effort is in place.

Not everyone can achieve the remarkable comebacks and career recoveries that Nadal and Federer have achieved.  But everyone, in his or her own way, can excel against formidable odds in achieving and sustaining a healthy recovery.  Untimately, the same priniciples are in place for all of us

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