This is the final week of the 2017 Tennis U.S. Open. So of course, I’m watching every match that interests me and rooting for my favorites. And it happens that one of my favorite female players, Kim Clijsters (now retired), was recently inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Reflecting on her great career, success, life and having all her dreams come true, Kim said that there were many lessons she learned over the course of her tennis career that could be applied both on and off the court. The eight lessons she learned were: dedication, caring, optimism, patience, respect, sacrifice, tolerance and passion.
Now I’m wondering what eight (the number is optional) lessons I’ve learned in life from a sport, experience, pursuit, encounter or daily living that’s impacted my life in a deeply profound way similar to what Kim describes.
And what about you?
Can you list some lessons you’ve learned that are meaningful to you and to accomplishing your goals in life and having your dreams come true? Or maybe you need to reflect on your life a bit to come up with what the lessons are.
Of the eight words on Kim’s list, she says that three are the most important to her and to all that happened to her. Here’s what she says about them:
“The first is optimism. That is having the right attitude. As you deal with adversity and negative moments, it’s important to stay positive. I’m not just talking about tennis, but in life overall.
The second is dedication, taking the time to really devote yourself to whatever you want to accomplish: fitness, mentally being ready, all the extra effort that it takes to succeed. That has been very important to me as well.
Finally, but most importantly, comes passion. You can be optimistic, you can be dedicated, but most of all you have to bring that special energy and desire to anything that you do. Everyone that has stood on this stage before me and will stand here after me has had a passion for the sport of tennis.”
I think it’s important to look for the good, to connect the dots, to see how what we’ve gone through, how what we’ve overcome has made us stronger, happier, created who we are, been the basis for our success and for having our dreams come true.
These “life” lessons come from our upbringing, our experiences and our connections. They form our true self and are the basis for how we operate in the world and even how we’re perceived by others.
Yet it’s easy to brush the words off and think yeah, yeah I know this. But reflecting back on your life and realizing how a particular trait you’ve developed has affected your life in different circumstances and how that trait has been developed over time can be rewarding and perhaps point the way for how to use your life lessons to bolster the life and dreams you have now.
Kim Clijsters is expressing gratitude for perhaps hard lessons she’s learned and for the inner essence (such as the energy and desire) she possesses that have led her to fulfilling her dreams.
I love that she talks about devoting herself to all the extra effort that goes into succeeding. For some of us it may be difficult just to get into action. Kim is talking about action plus “extra effort.” Stop and think for a moment about all the extra effort you could be putting into a goal or dream you want to reach. Do you have a clear idea what all the pieces that go into being successful at something are?
In my opinion, I think our lessons continue throughout our lifetime as do our dreams. Even when we think we have everything, a new dream will come along to fill the void and with it more lessons to learn.
Now here’s my question for you: What are the eight (pick your own number) lessons you’ve learned to achieve or bring you closer to fulfilling your dreams? What traits are a part of your true self that you can develop further to get you where you want to be?
We’d love to hear from you. If you care to share your lessons, or you’d like to comment, please do so below.