Never Discount The Heart of a Champion
Precisely one year ago today, tennis champion Roger Federer was humiliated by Rafael Nadal in the 2008 French Open Final 6-1, 6-3, 6-0. I remember watching in utter disbelief – waiting for the Federer magic I’d become accustomed to seeing in Grand Slam Finals.
It never came. The fact that Nadal won the match wasn’t shocking. After all, Nadal had never been defeated on the red clay of Roland Garros. But the way Nadal overpowered Federer announced to the world that day that the Federer Era was coming to a close. I remember the announcers wondering aloud if Federer would ever have a chance to win the French Open.
One month later, the two tennis greats met again – this time on Federer’s home turf: the lawns of Wimbledon. Federer was the 5-time defending champion, but he knew that the surging Nadal was going to give him everything he could handle. I consider myself lucky to have watched every second of this match – it’s commonly referred to as the Greatest Tennis Match Ever Played. After nearly 5 hours of breathtaking tennis, Nadal dethroned Roger Federer taking the deciding 5th set 9-7. The torch had officially been passed.
Fast forward to February 2009. Federer’s nightmare continues with another 5-set loss to Nadal at the Australian Open. After the match, Federer breaks down during the trophy presentation, succumbing to the pressure of expectations placed on him by the entire world. After the match, Federer says “God, it is killing me.”.
Ordinarily, we’d roll our eyes at a comment like that coming from a guy who makes $10,000,000+ annually and is revered worldwide. After all, how bad could Federer’s life possibly be?
The heart of a champion, though, never dies. Today, Roger Federer made tennis history by defeating Robin Soderling (who shocked Nadal earlier in the tournament) in the 2009 French Open final. He became only the sixth player to record a career Grand Slam, and also tied Pete Sampras’ all time mark of 14 major tournament victories.
Do You Have the Heart of a Champion?
Well if you’ve survived the past 18 months in the mortgage business, we know you’re at least a player. But what inspires the Greatest of All Time? Clearly, for Federer it’s not about the money. Most originators I know, however, judge themselves by how much money they’re making. More money = more success.
Do you ever think about your legacy in life? That’s what I think fuels Roger Federer. We have exactly one life to live, and we never know how many days we have left to enjoy it. What are people going to say about us when we’re gone?
I know that I don’t have the heart of a champion quite yet. I’m not getting up at 5am every morning and leaving the office at 10pm. I’m not making as many sales calls as I need to be making. But the one thing I think I’m doing each and every day is following my passion. The mortgage business has taken a real beating the past few years, just like Roger Federer. But those of us who keep the faith, and above all, remain committed to helping people will never fail.
I don’t idolize Roger Federer simply because he’s a great tennis player. Hell, there are great athletes everywhere. Roger Federer is a champion human being. And that’s why I couldn’t help but well up with tears at the moment where this happened:
Let’s challenge each other to become better human beings today. Find somebody you think you can help – and help them. Don’t worry about the money. I tried to do this on Friday and it felt damn good all weekend. So good in fact, that I’m going to make it a habit to do it more often. That ought to be the common glue of this blog – people helping people. Thanks for reading this article – and make it a great day.