Champions, Transitions, and Success: An Interview with Tennis Legend Wayne Bryan

Wayne Bryan Article

At CornerCap, we strive to embody our Life Appreciates philosophy in everything we do, from helping our clients build and preserve wealth to aligning our brand with community leaders and organizations that share our values. That’s why I’m thrilled we’re sponsoring this year’s Bryan Brothers Shootout, an event hosted by Remington Reynolds featuring one of the great tennis doubles teams, Bob and Mike Bryan. They will be conducting tennis clinics and playing an exhibit match on August 7. See below for details. We hope you can join us!

In anticipation of our sponsorship of the shootout, I spoke with tennis legend Wayne Bryan, noted author, commentator, and father of the Bryan brothers team, and someone I’ve met before.

He is often asked, how did you raise world class athletes, who also got straight As in school and are widely recognized as ambassadors for sportsmanship and goodwill worldwide?

He describes his formula for success in his book Raising Your Child to Be a Champion in Athletics, Arts, and Academics[1], and my purpose was to explore a key theme that we always encounter in our work with entrepreneurs, families, businesses, and nonprofits: that the path to success is never smooth and unexpected barriers are inevitable.

What can we learn from champions like the Bryan brothers as they handle those inevitable transitions? As always, Wayne’s insights are both original and yet very practical.

Says Wayne, “Losing and heartbreak… are all in the game.” He points out that on any given day, half of tennis players win, and half lose. In the arts, many might try out, but only one is selected. You have to have the valleys to appreciate the mountain tops, because “you learn more from these setbacks than you ever can from wins.”

He points out that he has developed a formula to guide parents raising kids, but he’ll recognize that many of the lessons also apply to adults as they navigate their own lives:

  • Focus on fundamentals! Champions succeed because they have passion. There are no guarantees you’ll be #1, so you must enjoy the process. And if you hit failure, learn from it but don’t dwell. “Fundamentals” will carry you through.
  • Goals are a must. Goals must be short term and long term, realistic, specific, written down, and shared with key constituents. In transitions, these goals will be tested. They act as guides to stay on path or markers to signal reassessment.
  • Good coaches (i.e., mentors and trusted advisers) help you keep perspective and learn to improve, rebound, or adapt.

In our conversation, Wayne and I also touched on two behavioral things that are vital to success.

  • I loved the fact that Wayne always made his twins write thank you notes, without fail. They would write tournament directors, coaches, media representatives, you name it. Wayne says this wasn’t just to be “nice.” He said it instills a mindset of values and creates goodwill for later. He suggests people write notes of “Congratulations!” too.
  • Second, he notes the importance of “… acting upbeat and positive during the trying times.” I noticed his emphasis on ACTING. He knows failure hurts. But the correct attitude now builds the mindset and behaviors required for success later.

Whether for parents raising children, business leaders or organizations going through a major challenge, or individuals considering “what’s next?” after a successful career, we think Wayne’s insights are key. They resonate well with our own concept of Life Appreciates.

Life Is Shorts…Be Your Passion

While on the themes of Life Appreciates and Fundamentals, I’d like to highlight the organizer of the Shootout, Remington Reynolds.

Rem is a good friend, entrepreneur, and founder of the eponymous clothing brand. After running a successful IT business for many years, Rem woke up one morning suddenly dispassionate about his job. Embracing the mantra, “Life is Short,” he decided that for the remainder of his time on earth, he would only do things he’s truly passionate about—preferably in a pair of shorts.

Rem is also a talented and enthusiastic tennis player and co-founder of the Necker Cup, which takes place on Richard Branson’s Necker Island each year. Since its debut in 2012, the Necker Cup has grown into one of the most recognized and exclusive charity pro-am tennis events in the world.

Rem’s apparel journey began with him outfitting Necker Cup guests for the perfect day of tennis, golf, and sitting by the beach bar. However, the guests loved his collection and brand so much that he decided to pursue his passion on a wider scale. Thus, a new Remington Reynolds was born.

It’s no surprise that the Remington Reynolds brand and Rem’s personal philosophy—“Life Is Shorts…Be Your Passion”—resonate with so many people, including myself. Sometimes it takes the birth of a child, an unsatisfying career, a frightening medical diagnosis, or even a pandemic to make us realize what’s truly important to us. But as Rem and (I hope) our clients can attest, once we gain this perspective, everything else falls into place.

Life Appreciates

If we’re lucky, we get to experience many chapters in life. You may be in the throes of raising a family, considering a career change, or navigating retirement. At CornerCap, our mission is to help you enjoy every chapter of your story to the fullest. Because no matter how financially successful you are in your lifetime, true wealth is only possible if your Life Appreciates, too.

We hope you’ll come out to support the event, get to meet Wayne, the Bryan brothers, Rem, and many other friends and associates… and maybe even pick up a few tennis tips while you’re at it. I look forward to seeing you there!

[1] Wayne’s book was written with award-wining sports journalist Woody Woodburn in 2004.

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