More than conviction

In case you missed Sunday’s record-breaking Wimbledon finals, Roger Federer bested Andy Roddick 16-14 in the fifth set, the most games played in Wimbledon championship history.

Prior to this match, Federer had won Wimbledon five times and had made it to seven consecutive Wimbledon finals (losing in five sets last year to Rafael Nadal).  He was also 18-2 against Roddick in previous matches.

Federer was a big favorite going in, but the match was incredibly even.  In the early sets, especially in the second set tiebreaker, it seemed like this might be Roddick’s day for the spotlight.

For a while, at least.  As things wore on, things looked easier, not harder, for Federer.  He served more aces, missed fewer shots.  And Roddick’s job seemed much harder than Federer’s.  Roddick was playing his best tennis, and Federer was still standing across the net from him, with enough answers to keep things even.  At each and every juncture, and before each and every serve, I wondered if Roddick was plagued by the thought, “What does it take to beat this guy?”  He had to rise above that potential doubt over and over again, with almost nothing in his past history to say that he could win this match.

So while the match could have gone either way, especially as things got tight, I think Federer had a huge edge.  He’d done this before, and had every reason to believe he could do it again. He expects to win.

When you go out to sell (your nonprofit, your product, yourself in an interview), do you expect to win?  Do have the quiet confidence that shows that you truly believe in what you’re asking for, and that you expect a good outcome?  Do you have the track record to draw on that gives you that confidence?  And if you don’t, are you going out there each and every day to build it?  Without a track record, you have no real reason to believe, in your bones, that you’re going to succeed.

This isn’t a post about hiring people who have already done it before.  It’s about saying that anyone can do this, but until you do, you haven’t.

Conviction is important, but confidence is a game-changer.

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