7 Focus on What Matters

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Oracle Team USA was in trouble. Big trouble. With tens of millions of dollars in funding, some of the most skilled sailors in the world, and the greatest sailing technology ever used, they were favored to win the prestigious 2013 America’s Cup.1

Yet, after nine races and an early penalty, they found themselves regularly following Emirates Team New Zealand across the finish line.2 One more victory for the Kiwis, and the oldest international sports trophy would be New Zealand’s. What occurred, however, will likely never be repeated. And the team that achieved it will never be forgotten.

With seemingly insurmountable odds stacked against Team USA, the media pushed for a concession as they interviewed their skipper, Jimmy Spithill. He wouldn’t give it to them. “We feel we’ve got just as good a chance to win this,” Spithill said. “[The race] is all about development. It’s not about how you begin the competition. It’s how you finish the competition.”3

Then he finished with, “It’s not over. It’s a long way from being over.” Spithill remained focused.

Moving a seven-ton, 72-foot-long vessel across the water, with a 13-story sail and foils that want to pull your craft out of the water while going 50 miles per hour is no easy job. Even with the team’s mastery and years of preparation, how could they possibly close such a huge deficit and overcome their evenly matched ...

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