Rafael Nadal, who won the US Open for the second time, is my hero.
His athleticism is extraordinary. His focus is awe-inspiring. His skill is, clearly, second to none. His will is unremitting. It’s a joy to watch him in competition. Yet those are not the reasons he’s my hero. In fact, it wasn’t until after he was finished playing in this year’s final that he rose to role model in my book.
So what was it?
It was that, right after winning, he fell to the ground, crying, then leapt for joy, then lay back on the tennis court, face down, sobbing. After a few moments, he got up and hugged Novak Djokovic, his opponent.
“Now that,” I told Isabelle, my eleven-year-old daughter, who was watching with me, “is what it looks like when you put your whole self into something!”
Where is that energy in our companies today? Where are the people leaping for joy, pumping their fists in the air, or weeping, either with happiness or grief?
I sometimes walk through the halls of various companies, looking at people working numbly at their desks or cubicles or nodding off in meetings, wondering, “Where are the people?”
I’m not advocating for a workplace of loose cannons. I am advocating for a workplace of human beings.
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