Chapter 31 | Struggles; Life’s Lessons

tennis racket on tennis court next to tennis balls

I sit in this conundrum.

My big conundrum is my forehand on a tennis court, a bloody forehand if truth be told.

I haven’t had such a physical challenge in my life before; the last time I struggled grasping something at this level was ‘pronouncing French’, which I still cannot do, however I care less…. I walked away from French about 10 times, yet, I kept on walking back and every time my take was a little bit different.  I have had to totally accept that I will never sound great when I speak French, however, can I make myself understood and can I be empowered through the language? And the answer is yes. Does it mean something to me, is it important enough to make an effort and do I derive joy from it? And the answer yet again is ‘yes’… So the finished ‘product’ is not going to look like I want it to look, or in this case, sound, and that is OK.  Relief.

Back to the tennis. I bet that a lot of people will laugh and feel quite happy right now, because yes, it involves a body and a movement and yes I am struggling…  The thing is, I don’t want to give up on playing the shot really well, I want to absolutely nail it, down to the T… to the centre of the court… that perfect shot… 

I loved my disposition today, I totally got it intellectually, I was emotionally calm, no tantrums, not getting annoyed with my coach Pascal for shouting too many instructions or for telling me off a thousand times; I just took it. I agreed with him on many occasions and I just kept on struggling. I apologised for his frustration, how difficult must it be for him to stand there on a Monday morning, teaching a forehand for the 20th time to a woman, age 44, who by the way is supposed to ‘get it’… I told him that I am his lesson in patience and resilience and for not ‘giving up’ on the student. I told him how great it is for me to struggle, because in reality I struggle with so little in my life – what a privilege to struggle under guidance.  What a lesson it is to be wanting to do something far better than what you are actually managing.  My expectation and my deliverance are miles apart, and the beauty is, I am finally OK with that too. The reality is, I might never get it right, but I am sure as hell not going to stop trying… maybe, just maybe, this has got nothing to do with tennis, or a forehand, maybe this is just life….

To have an expectation, to put yourself up and forward for greatness, to deliver far below par, and yet, to be OK with it. To walk away from it, lesson learnt, insight derived, things to work on and to improve, more lessons to learn.

My tip to you – go out there and find a lesson in which you really struggle; go and test your repertoire of emotional, cognitive and physical flexibility/ capacity/ endurance/ maturity/ adaptability…  Let’s go out there together and #learnthroughstruggle.

You might also like