The retirement of Roger Federer has created ripples around the world. I know what you’re thinking “Gaby, stop with the sports analogies” ok, just give me one more.
What has stuck out to me the most is that the headlines are not “we are losing the greatest. What will we do now?” they are “Roger changed tennis forever.” And the fact is, tennis is not the same because he left his mark. Aside from his accolades, 20 Grand Slam titles (the third-most ever) or the 310 weeks he spent ranked No. 1 in the world (the second-most ever), Roger made a difference in the sport over his 24-year career has left a legacy of sportsmanship, philanthropy, and most of all, exemplary leadership. As Billie Jean King calls him, “a champion’s champion,” Roger has directly and indirectly lead generations of tennis players – at all levels – and inspired them to play and live with grace on and off the court.
This makes me question what legacies we are choosing to leave in the small corners of our world. I think, “What sort of mark do I want to leave on my family, my friends, my colleagues, my clients, the project I’m working on?” And I find the answers in the everyday details. As Federer stated once when he was able to clearly define his goal to compete at the highest level:
“I realized, I want to be back on that court one day, I’d love to compete with these guys on a regular basis, I’d rather play on the bigger courts than on the smaller courts. … And all of a sudden it started to make sense,” Federer later said. “Why you’re doing weights. Why you’re running. Why you arrive early at a tournament. Why you try to sleep well at night. We just started to understand the importance of every single detail. Because it makes a difference.”
The details make a difference.
The early mornings, late nights, the extra hours put in on a new software to ensure you master it, the time spent with a new colleague showing them the ropes, the time spent with a team to share an inkling of knowledge and advice, so their path is just a tiny bit easier. All our actions matter and culminate into what will one day become our legacy – at this studio, with our teams, with our clients. Do I know how to implement this today? No, I don’t have a to-do list. But approaching every day with grace and an understanding that what I do can make a difference for years to come changes the way I approach things – more thoughtfully, more intentionally.
So, for now, I keep my head down, eyes on the ball, knowing every shot counts.