Originally posted on Linkedin: When Office Work Looks Like A Tennis Match


I played competitive tennis internationally for seven years and national intercollegiate tennis for four years. The goal of every tournament has always been to prove yourself worthy of a spot. You train and travel to win. You sow and sacrifice to win. That’s the ultimate goal: to win — every game, every set, every match, every bracket, every tournament.

From those years, I also observed that aside from skills and experience, there is an on-court characteristic that sets the good players apart from the average players.

Good players go beyond the competitive nature of the sport. They don’t come in to compete; they come in to perform their best. They don’t come in to put down their opponent; they come in to sustain and level up their game. In fact, they don’t come on court focused on the opponent; they come on court focused on the ball.

A great athlete comes on court without the pressure to compete. What makes them nervous is the pressure to perform their game — the game they’ve been practicing. Often, they adjust but they don’t do it because they need to put down their opponent; they do it because they need to improve themselves point by point.

This is the reason why great athletes don’t talk about how good they are or how many championships they have won. Their performance and records speak for them.

On the other hand, the average player comes on court with the mindset to put his or her opponent down. They try to win the crowd so their opponent gets booed or annoyed. They cheat when they can or they try to win the favor of the umpire. The average player competes because he or she needs to prove his or her worth.

Office work can be like a tennis match. It is naturally or it can become progressively competitive. But like tennis players, aside from skills and experience, there is a characteristic that sets the good employees apart from the average employees.

Good employees go beyond the competitive nature of the corporate world. They don’t come in to compete; they come in to perform their best. 

They don’t come in to put their co-employees or subordinates down; they come in to sustain and level up their work performance. In fact, they don’t come in the office focused on what people will say or think of them; they come in the office focused on what needs to be done and how it can be done.

Unlike the average employee, they don’t have the mindset to do all possible means to put his or her co-employees down. They don’t bully people and they don’t scheme their way through things to get promoted or favored. They don’t broadcast or humble-brag their accomplishments because their performance and records speak for them.

Good employees go beyond just competition.

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