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Early this morning, while most of Australia was still sleeping, 19-year-old Canberra boy Nick Kyrgios did the unthinkable – he won a Wimbledon match against Rafael Nadal. The youngest player in the draw beat the world number one tennis player. This was a match that Nick didn’t have a chance to win, but win he did! He is the first player ranked outside the top 100 (just last week he was 160), to beat the world number 1 man at a Grand Slam since 1992. So what can we learn from this inspiring Aussie feat?

1. If you think you can achieve something, you’re halfway there

It never occurred to Nick that he couldn’t win, and I believe the most successful business people go through life with that same level of confidence. My mother and the stories I heard of my grandmother – two extremely focused, determined and confident women – were instrumental in setting me on the path to success. It was almost three months before RedBalloon made its first sale back in 2001. People used to ask me ‘when were you going to give up?’ but the thought never crossed my mind. I never, ever thought that it would not work and I never contemplated throwing in the towel. It was two months and four days before RedBalloon sold its first experience, but here we are in 2014 at two and a half million experiences sold and counting. It’s all about self-confidence and persistence. If Nick had gone into that match thinking he had no chance of winning, I know the result would have been different.

2. Don’t let the negativity of others bring you down

In an interview with the BBC, Nick confessed that even his mum thought Rafael was just too good for him to have a chance. Instead of focusing on the negatives, this comment spurred him on even more. Over the years, I’ve learnt to let negative comments fuel my fire. In fact, I wrote a LinkedIn post on the topic this year called “Tell me I can’t”. I made a commitment many years ago to only surround myself with people who give me energy and motivate me – there are a lot of people out there who have a tendency to sap your energy and I cannot bear to be around negativity. When negative people make an appearance in your life or business (and they will!), try to see their comments as opportunities to prove them wrong.

3. There’s no such thing as “an overnight success”

The majority of Australia had never heard of Nick Kyrgios before today, but he’s been on the scene for years. Nick was a junior world No. 1 and won the junior Australian Open in 2013, so he’s no amateur when it comes to the tennis court. He started formal tennis lessons at seven years old, but despite all this he’s being called an “overnight success”. Let me tell you a secret – in my experience, there is no such thing as an overnight success. What we don’t see is the number of tennis lessons Nick has attended, the late nights he’s spent perfecting his sport, the sacrifices, the heartache, the disappointment when he didn’t quite get there, the anticipation – what we see is the win. Some people are fooled into thinking that RedBalloon was an overnight success, but it was far from that. Businesses are 1% idea and 99% execution. You do still need that bright, shining idea though – without it, you only have hard work!

Image courtesy of  This article first appeared as part of my LinkedIn collection

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