This week we saw some amazing mindsets in action via the tennis finals for the Australian Open, and as a mindset coach I lapped it up!
I’m not much of a sporting fan, but like most of the country I got swept up in the #bartyparty and tuned in to watch proud Ngarigo woman and world number one Ashleigh Barty win the Grand Slam, clawing back from being one-five down to win the second set and the match.
The next night Rafael Nadal played Daniil Medvedev and lost the first 2 sets – plus he was working way harder for each point than his competitor. I thought for sure he would lose. ‘It’s so hard!’ ‘The other guy is younger and fitter!’ Yet Nadal won the remaining 3 sets in a 5+ hour match to take out the championship. An incredible feat of physical endurance for sure – yet you could see in both cases the mindsets underneath each moment of play.
I have written about Ash Barty in my new book Lead In and wanted to share an abridged part of that here because we too can use this power of mindset. As a mindset coach for teams and individuals, I know how mindsets are often the maker or breaker in the areas of life that matter to us.
Like many high performers, Ashleigh Barty has a mindset coach on her team, and hers is a man called Ben Crowe.
One of his core questions is, ‘Do the conditions determine your mindset?’ He believes they do not. If you let your environment or life situation determine your mindset, then those conditions can take you off course and leave you focused on the wrong things.
In sport, many outcomes can’t be controlled. On the court, winds change. Stuff happens. Crowe says the only two things you can control are your intentions (strategy and tactics in Barty’s case) and your mindset.
Barty’s rise to world number one nearly didn’t happen. Crowe has shared the story of Barty at the French Open in 2019, where she had lost a set that should have been unlosable. Barty was three-love down in the next set and tension was high. She sat down to regroup, then
started laughing! Her mindset shift was obvious to her coach – he could see that Ash recognised she was letting her environment determine her mindset.
Instead, in a masterful way she reframed it quickly: ‘Uh-huh. I decide my mindset. I decide my attitude. I decide my self-worth. I decide.’
Now let’s pause here for a moment. The pressure was excruciating. The world was watching. The focus on winning must have been immense. The environment was a huge arena for distraction with missed serves, umpire calls, and a global audience of millions. Yet Barty’s focus shift was on her mindset – the only thing she could control.
With this attitude change, she regrouped. She tended to her inner choices. Barty won the match and went on to win the French Open. Two weeks later, she won the Birmingham Classic in England and became the world number one.
Most of us don’t perform anywhere near this sort of elite level, yet we also face challenges and obstacles that distract us. We get frustrated, focusing our efforts on the things in our environment that we can’t change, and overlooking our mindset to our detriment. We forget that even when things are tough – maybe we’re not meeting goals at work, or a family member is ill, or we are worried about the uncertainty in the world – our conditions don’t determine our mindset.
We do. You do.
What could you do today with a shift in your mindset? Where have you given up – thinking it’s too hard or not possible? Where are you five-love down and about to throw in the towel?
What new mindset can you choose? How would someone with that new mindset tackle your problem?
Now go do that!
And if you think a mindset coach would be great for you or your team please send me a note and let’s talk.
Till next week,