Career Success Advice from the US Open

Today’s career advice comes from the US Open tennis tournament.  It ended last night. Novak Djokovic beat Rafa Nadal in a grueling four set match to win the men’s championship.  On Sunday Samantha (Sam) Stosur beat Serena Williams to win the women’s championship.

But this post isn’t about the players it’s about a ball girl. Denise Castelli was on the court as a ball girl throughout the tournament.  There are about 75 ball girls and ball boys who work the Open.  Over 500 tried out.  Denise’s story is special because she is an amputee.  She had her left leg amputated in November 2009 after breaking her leg in a softball game in April 2008.  She had over 30 surgeries to repair the leg, but it had to be amputated.

Denise had this to say about becoming a US Open ball girl…

“I knew it would mean a lot for the amputee community and the community of people with disabilities to show everyone that we’re more than capable of doing things, even though we might be a little bit different.”

She showed a lot of people last Saturday.  During  the CBS broadcast of the women’s semifinals, Dick Enberg featured Denise and the cameras followed her as she grabbed a few balls.

Good for Denise.  I was happy to hear her story.  It reminded me of tweet 37 in my career advice book Success Tweets.  “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it.  Don’t dwell on the negative, use it as a springboard to action and creativity.”

Denise sprung into action in the US Open ball kid tryouts.  She was a softball player at the University of New Haven.  Tina Taps, the US Open Director of Ball Persons said that Denise has “a shotgun of an arm.  She’s fully capable of throwing the ball the full length of the tennis court.”  This makes her perfect for working behind the baseline at the Open.

Successful people, like Denise Castelli, have a habit of focusing on the positive and putting the negative out of their minds.  Positive habits like this are an important key to career success.  Habits are like muscles.  The more you use them, the stronger they get.  Dan Robey is the King of Positive Habits.  His eBook, “The Power of Positive Habits,” is one of my go-to books when I need to give myself a little boost.  You can get a copy at

As I heard Denise’s story, I thought about another book by Evelyn Brooks, called Forget Your Troubles: Enjoy Your Life Today.
Evelyn suggests that you get S.M.A.R.T. about managing stress and difficult situations…

  • S Smash the negative.
  • M Maximize the positive.
  • A Act.
  • R Relax.
  • T Target your next action.

Sounds as if Denise took this advice to heart.  She maximized the positive — her great arm.  She smashed the negative — her lost leg.  She acted — by trying out to be a ball girl.  She seemed very relaxed and confident when I saw her on TV.  I bet she is already targeting her next challenge.

Stuff happens as you go through life; positive stuff, negative stuff, happy stuff, sad stuff, frustrating stuff.  The important thing is not what happens, but how you react to it.  In other words, smash your negative thoughts; replace them with positive ones.  Don’t dwell on negative things, use them as a springboard to achieving your goals.  Denise certainly did.  She smashed the negative of going from a collegiate softball player to an amputee.

She maximized the positive by doing something that would show the world that amputees can do a lot more than some people might think.  Take a lesson from Denise, maximize the positive in your life by creating positive habits and routines.  When something goes well, take the time to celebrate.  You deserve it.  And, small celebrations when you succeed are a positive habit that will put you in a positive frame of mind, which in turn, will help you create more life and career success.

I have given away over 2,500 copies of the eBook version of Success Tweets.  I mention this because I’m celebrating.  I want to get the positive career advice in Success Tweets into the hands of as many people as I can.  I’m maximizing the positive.  You might say that 2,500 people choosing to receive a free eBook is not a reason for a huge celebration; but I do – and I’m following my own career success advice by creating a habit of celebrating small successes.  Celebrating small wins is a great positive habit for me.  It helps me manage my stress and not get overwhelmed by the negatives that occasionally  creep into my life.  I’m sticking to it.

The career success coach point here is simple common sense.  Successful people follow the advice in Tweet 37 in Success Tweets.  “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it.  Don’t dwell on the negative, use it as a springboard to action and creativity.”  Denise Castelli did.  Even though she lost her leg due to a softball injury, she became a ball girl at the US Open.  Follow her lead.  Use positive habits to get competent; create positive personal impact; become an outstanding performer and a dynamic communicator.  Build strong relationships with the important people in your life.  Smash the negatives in your life and focus on positive thoughts, habits and routines.  Use the negatives that come your way as learning experiences, and positive thoughts, habits and routines to create small victories.  Treat these small victories as a reason for celebration.  Celebrating small victories is a good way to keep things in perspective and build the resilience necessary for dealing with the tough times.  Take it from a career success coach, positive habits are powerful and will help you become the life and career success you deserve to be.


PS: If you haven’t already done so, you can download a free copy of my latest career success book Success Tweets Explained.  It’s a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail.  Go to to claim your free copy.  You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.

PPS: I opened my new membership site on September 1.  It’s called My Corporate Climb and is devoted to helping people create career success inside large corporations.  To celebrate the grand opening, I’m giving away a new book I’ve written called I Want YOU…To Succeed in Your Corporate Climb.  You can find out about the membership site and get your free copy of I Want YOU by going to


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