The Enabling Genius Project and the reading and writing that I have been doing around it has effectively put me in an awkward place – I have to apply what I am learning to myself. And I feel really exposed and vulnerable about that – and now I am writing about it!
One of the things, in Enabling Genius terms, that seems to have some truth to it, although not in all cases, is that people who perform towards the top of their game often have another game at which they excel. There seems to be a cross-fertilisation in terms discipline, learning, and apart from the joy of being immersed in a different activity.
Many years ago I promised myself that I would take a break, a sabbatical, and play competitive tennis again. Now in my 53rd year the 55 and over age bracket is on the horizon. It seems the time has come to prepare! And synchronicity decided to play a part too – I was introduced to a tennis coach, one Craig Walker, who has an affinity and understanding of inner game principles who is also making a study of what it takes to become a champion – he calls it the ‘Champions Code’. And he works in West London at Dukes Meadows, 10 minutes from where I live.
On the day before our second session I had a flashback to a tennis match that I played many, many years ago, the final of the Leinster, Ireland under 18’s. I lost a match that I probably could have won. What I realized after the flashback was that I had no idea about how to win. So when as I got on court and Craig asked me what my identity as a tennis player was I got really interested.
This idea parallels on of my ‘maxims in the making’ around ‘Enabling Genius’: Each person’s genius is individual and unique. So within the discipline of tennis I can develop a unique identity. With Craig we arrived at a viable proposition about my tennis player identity and then identified what that would look like in action – and then we practiced those sequences of play.
Not many of us know what our unique and individual identity is within our career, craft or discipline. Even fewer practice and review what ever that is. And although this way of thinking and behaving demands a certain kind and level of intensity I can only observe that I have seldom had so much fun on the tennis court.