- Surround yourself with the right people: Janko felt that he was extremely lucky because he was surrounded with the right people and enjoyed the support of his family. He also had an unbelievable coach as a junior, named Roman Savochkin.
Action step: You can do the same by surrounding yourself with people who support you and who give you honest and real feedback.
- Be disciplined: The main thing that his junior coach (Roman Savochkin) taught him was to develop an incredible work ethic. Working hard is the secret to success and applies to all of us. Janko called himself a hedonistic kid who enjoyed life and everything that life had to offer, but who at the same time also believed that it’s this inner fight to delay gratification and pursue big dreams that stop us from living like cowards. Once we embrace this inner fight, we are able to give everything we can to increase our chances for success.
Action step: Choose one new habit that will help you become more disciplined.
- Set big goals and follow through: Up until Janko was 25 – three years after breaking into the top hundreds of professional tennis, he was too afraid to set big goals. Janko feared to try his best and not achieving the goals. Only once he started setting specific goals did he start to really fulfil his potential. The number one thing that he changed was he stopped being a coward in terms of setting up goals. In previous year’s ( the ‘’cowardly years’’, as he likes to call them), he was working like a dog for five or six hours every day, but never dared set up a bar and aim to finish the year inside the 20 players of the world because of the risk of disappointment. Once Janko set himself this goal, it was easy to understand whether certain activities were supporting or harming his goals. He started that year ranked #49 and ended it as #9 in the world and being the ATP’s most improved player of the year.
Action step: Define your goal for the next 12 months and think of the 3-5 key steps of getting there.
- Success is a lifestyle: The ATP professionals and WTA professionals and talented girls and boys all over the world worked hard. What separates the best professionals and everyone else is what they are doing outside of the tennis court. The question we need to ask ourselves is: ‘’Do we want to make it, or do we really want to make it?’’ Janko believes one of the big differences between being a top junior athlete and becoming a world-class professional tennis player is understanding that playing at the highest level is really a lifestyle that includes things like:
- Sleeping routine.
- Morning routine.
- The nutrition.
- The recovery.
- The yoga stretching.
- Being obsessed with what you do.
- Watching endless YouTube videos of things which one can improve.
Action step: What is one thing you can do right now to become more professional?
- How to tackle the fear of failure: A big challenge of giving everything and still not achieving the outcome we desire. As an athlete, it is important to face the fear and say “okay this is as good as I am right now”. What we don’t realize that this psychological trick is only for that year and there’s another year and another year where we can improve and get better. As Rocky Balboa famously said: “It’s not about how hard you can hit, it’s about how many times you can get up when life hits you and eventually this is how you become a winner”. If an athlete really wants to succeed, he or she needs to learn that fear of failure can’t exist. Instead, they need to look failure clearly into the eyes and tell it: “I’m coming to get you and if you knock me down I’m standing up and I’m going again”.
Action step: Think of a moment where fear of failure stopped you from taking action- how could you reframe that situation?
- Three ways to respond to setbacks:
- First-Keep digging: Janko explains that life is generally throwing a lot of obstacles our way and that the only thing we can do is to keep digging> He gives the analogy of a gold digger, who won’t find anything unless he keeps digging till he finds something.
- Second- be grateful: Just thinking of all the things we have lets us see our setback with some perspective.
- Third- focus on the next challenge: The beautiful part about tennis is there’s always next Monday, a new event, new opponent and a new chance to redeem our self and try to fix the failed test of losing a match previously.
Action step: Use these three steps next time you suffer from a setback.
- How to handle pressure: For Janko, positive reinforcement is the key skill for handling moments of pressure. However, he goes beyond just thinking about positive things, but instead about saying them out loud. Making a positive statement and giving himself simple instructions is a great way for him to relieve stress on the court.
Action step: What could you tell yourself next time you feel pressurized, to get yourself back into your best performance state?
Where to find Janko: