A resort tennis pro serves up an important lesson in power.
“Don’t reach for it.”
I was staying at some swanky resort somewhere, and it had these amazing tennis courts. Tennis isn’t really my thing. I’ve got more foot-eye coordination than hand-eye, but these courts were a marvel.
And, you could get a half hour or hour lesson with the resident tennis pro, so I thought, why not? You never know when having a passable back hand might come in handy.
(It used to be that business meetings happened on the golf course or at the tennis club. Now, I’m told, it’s executive road cycling, but buggered if I’m getting into all that lycra.)
So we’re batting balls back and forth.
At some point the pro says, “Don’t reach for it. You’re reaching for it.”
At first I’m like, “Mate, what are you on about? I’ve got a racquet and I’m trying to hit the ball. Of course I’m reaching for it.”
But he said, “Slow down. You’ve got more time than you think.”
I don’t remember exactly what he said, but this was the central gist. I was rushing things. I was too keen. I was out of my element on the tennis court, and so I was compensating by trying to get ahead of the ball.
I was trying to rush out and meet the ball because I didn’t have the confidence to let the ball come to me. I was trying to deal with the problem before it got on top of me.
I was trying to deal with it while it was still ‘out there’. Before it was ‘in here’.
And so I was reaching for it. The racquet was too far in front of me. This messes up your swing in a few ways. Because you’re racquet is early, you tend to hook the ball (on a forehand). If you want to hit it straight, then you kind of have to break your wrist back to change the angle so it’s pointing in a straight line.
Early swing + late wrist = inconsistent mess.
The other thing that happens is that when your arms are flailing about ‘out there’, you’ve got no power. Power, I’m told, comes from the hips.
(My power certainly comes from my hips. Hey? Ladies?)
Most of the drive comes from the legs and from the torque in the torso. The arms are just sauce on the hotdog.
So your power zone is close in – where the legs and torso are doing the work. It’s not ‘out there’ where you’ve got nothing but your 2-minute noodle arms to work with.
And so the secret to a powerful (and more consistent) shot is to wait on it. It’s to let the ball get close in – almost terrifyingly close in. Let it come to you. Let it come like a curious mouse, softly padding into the lion’s den, and then right at the last minute, bam, unleash the full power of your hips on that naughty little mouse.
In hindsight, I think the pro was probably high. Resort-living. But man it worked. I have never hit the ball so well. And I’ve never had so much fun with tennis. I was working with my power zone. I was still all over the shop. I still sucked. But I was hitting the ball hard and that was fun.
And I think there’s an important life lesson here.
Wait on it. Let it get close in. Let it come into your power zone.
I’m not talking about mice here, but everything. I know I still find it tempting in the early stages of a deal to try and reach for it. To get things happening quickly, rush things along. I don’t want to miss out.
FOMO busts my mojo.
I know I’m much better off if I let things get a little scary. Let them get close in where I feel a little vulnerable. Like it’s moving out of my control.
That means being ok with getting gazumped if that’s what happens. It means being able to get up from the table and walk away. (If you can’t walk away from a deal you may as well ask them to set their own price.) It means being ok with missing out.
But let it come. And then once it has come to you, once all the ducks are in a row, bam. Lion time. Act with clean decisiveness.
An abundance mindset is really an asset here. If you have confidence that the world is going to keep serving up opportunities to you, then you’re more comfortable to let a few deals go through to the keeper.
It gets easier to wait on it. To stop reaching and bring yourself back into your power zone.
Just trust it.
That’s it. Slow down. Let it come, let it come.
Bam. Lion time.
How have your hobbies made you a better investor?