Are You on Fire With Passion and Purpose?

Lessons from Rafael Nadal and other 2017 U.S. Open Competitors

A re you on fire with passion and purpose? Do you feel inspired and alive and ready to claim your next victory? Are you doing what you love and practicing it to maintain your game and continuing to get better at it?
In the 2017 U.S. Open Tennis Tournament in Queens, NY, many competitors displayed their full-on passion and purpose in hard-fought and hard-won games. A number of them were players who were not even in the top 10 rankings. Some were not even seeded! There were many surprises and striking comebacks from players who had suffered serious injuries that had left them sidelined in previous years.
The champion of the men’s singles final, Rafael Nadal, perhaps highlighted that competitive fire to win best of all. His passion and purpose were present in almost every moment of his many matches. And in his final game where he dominated, he let everyone watching the match know that he would be pronounced the winner.
Rafael Nadal

Rafael enjoys the moment after winning a hard-fought point. Photo from

Sloane Stephens, the winner of the U.S. Open’s women’s singles final, exhibited that same passion and mastery as she trounced Venus Williams in the semi-finals. She went on to beat her final competitor, Madison Keys, who is also her good friend. Stephens has an inspirational story, as she battled back from a very serious foot injury.

Sloane Stephens began her comeback to win the women’s singles championship at the U.S. Open by hitting balls from a rolling chair. She had taken a year off and came back with a renewed passion to win. Photo from

She called her coach long before she was ready to begin practicing. Eager to start as soon as possible, Stephens sat in a rolling chair, hitting balls from this seated position, to begin her competitive comeback. In her absence from the game and her year off, she had rediscovered her inner fire, her passion for the game and her purpose to inspire others and to do what she loved.

Launching “Rockets of Desire”

When I watched the 2017 U.S. Open’s men’s championship semi-finals and the final match, I was thinking about how many amazing “rockets of desire” so many of the players there had energetically launched after suffering through some down times and challenging injuries.
Over the years, Nadal, 31, has suffered many injuries, especially with his knees, that kept him out of important competitions. He never, however, lost his passion for the game. Nadal had not won a major tournament since 2014. This year he won both the French Open and the U.S. Open.
It was the same with one of his amazing competitors, Roger Federer, 36, who also came back this year to win the Australian Open and Wimbledon after not winning a major championship since Wimbledon in 2012. One of my favorite athletes, Federer only made it to the semi-finals of the U.S. Open.
Roger Federer

Roger Federer made it to the semi-finals, but wasn’t playing up to the level of some other players at the 2017 U.S. Open tournament. This year he won two major tournaments, Wimbledon and the Australian Open, at the age of 36. Photo from

In a news conference, he shared he was just not up to the level of some other players in the competition. One of the greatest tennis champions of all times, he makes the game better by remaining so strong, savvy and consistent throughout matches. He was just not playing at his best level and this tournament was not his to win.

Nadal Sets His Energetic Intentions to Claim His Victory

From the way Nadal played with such fierce intensity, he evidently had claimed his U.S. Open victory long before he ever set foot on the court to play his first game there. He had a strong vision of his win and played with great power, strength and determination. Unlike other players who can be predictable in their strengths and how they like to play the game, Nadal can switch it up and has many tricks up his Nike sleeve for his competitors. He makes it so much fun to watch in what way he will choose to deliver his winning point again and again.
Quick on his feet and swift and powerful with his racket, Nadal also reads the strengths and weaknesses of his competitors. Then he begins fine-tuning his own game to create a path to victory. He lost the first set in his final match with Kevin Anderson. But by the end of it, he had figured out what to do and how to play to Anderson’s weaknesses. I admire that he was able to be so flexible and change up his game to accommodate the needs of the moment.

Long before Nadal ever set foot on the U.S. Open courts, he had already claimed his victory energetically. It was in his thoughts and beliefs. He played like a competitor who would not be denied despite the obstacles that came on his path. Photo of the U.S. Open Stadium by Sanya Obsivac from

This Match is Mine!

There were many amazing winning points by both players during the match between Nadal and Anderson. But there was one point that Nadal won that spoke volumes to me. Indeed it had me up on my feet, cheering and clapping along with the U.S. Open crowd. It was the point where Anderson served and Nadal hit it back. Anderson hit it back to Nadal, who then came in to the net. There Nadal hit three quick consecutive volleys with the final one being an overhead slam that landed to the back left of the court in a place that Anderson could not reach.
After winning that point, Nadal clenched his fist and pumped his arm, signaling his victory on that point. The intensity of his expression announced that he was on a winning rampage. Then before turning back to the baseline, Nadal took a long look at Anderson. The look said,
“This is the way it’s going to be. So get ready. This is my match and no one else will take that trophy from me. Not on my watch! I will not be denied!”
Rafael Nadal in US Open

Rafael was on fire at the U.S. Open 2017 and would not be denied! Photo from

I found it so exciting to see someone so pumped up to play. He came with so many capabilities and so positively sure of his abilities and of the outcome of the match. It was exhilarating. He was on fire. So much had come before. Years of experience and so many other tournaments were with him in force throughout this competition.
Standing up and cheering, I was applauding so many things: his expertise, his strength, his savvy, his tenacity to come back from so many injuries, his intensity, and his unwillingness to let anything get in the way of his much deserved victory. As my heart went into resonance with him and all he was bringing to that game, I felt uplifted and energized. I am sure most of the crowd watching him play felt the same way.
To check out this moment when Nadal was so clearly determined, on fire and put his opponent on notice about the finale, click here and begin watching the point at one minute and 14 seconds into the video. If you get a chance to  watch it, see if it can fire you up too with determination to succeed in whatever endeavors you are currently engaged in. Just feel Nadal’s fire and go into resonance. Click here to watch some of his best points during the 2017 U.S. Open.

Watch Nadal on fire play against Kevin Anderson in the 2017 U.S. Open.

Watch some of Nadal’s best points during the 2017 U.S. Open.

You might want to clench your fist and pump your arm and think whatever thought is going through your mind. Perhaps you can set the intention for your own victory and put whatever obstacles that are in your way on notice. You might be thinking, “This is my game to win! So watch out because I am coming to claim my victory!”
On fire to win

What gets you all fired up to win? What victories are you ready to claim? Go into resonance with determined athletes who are on fire to compete and win. Photo by Rob Kimball from

Injuries, Comebacks, Colleagues and Passion for Tennis

Missing six grand slam tournaments because of injuries in the 13 years since he first began winning such titles, Nadal shared his thoughts about missing top tournaments in an article at (Agence France-Presse, updated August 17, 2017):
“I have been in that position more than all these players that are out now,” Nadal said. “I know how tough it is. I’m very sorry for all of them and I wish all of them a fast and good recovery.
“But at the same time I tell you Roger didn’t have a lot of these things during his career. Novak the same. Andy the same. Stan, I don’t think he had a lot of issues.
“I’m the only one of these top players that missed a lot of important tournaments in my career. More than nobody else, I know how tough it is.
“But the only thing that you can do when these kinds of things happen is accept and keep going.”
Speaking about how special it has been to have Roger Federer back as a top seed winning major tournaments, Nadal enjoys that they are both proving some of the naysayers wrong.
“I do my way and Roger did his way,” Nadal said. “Everybody is different. I always say the same. I am going to keep playing while what I’m doing makes me happy. I’m a very lucky man that I can choose when I want to stop.
“If I’m happy and especially if I’m healthy, I keep going because I love this sport. I love the competition. I still [am] feeling the passion for what I’m doing. When I arrive at the days I lose one of these things, I’m going to do nothing.”
I hope both Nadal and Federer keep inspiring us all to ignite fires of determination, launch powerful rockets of desire, and help us aspire to make successful comebacks and achieve whatever goals we are envisioning.
Rockets of Desire

I hope Nadal and Federer keep inspiring us all to ignite fires of determination and to launch powerful rockets of desire. Photo by Gavin Spencer from

The Art of Canine Championships

After that amazing final game, I thought about other competitors who would not be denied. I know there are so many athletes and others in different areas like business and politics who come to mind. Perhaps you can recall some athletes, businessmen or thought leaders, among others, who have fought with fierce tenacity and intensity to achieve their wins.
In thinking about determined competitors, my mind wandered to the world of canine conformation championships. I recalled a dog who won best-in-show at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club dog show. It is a win I still remember so well though it happened many years ago. Kirby, an eight-year-old Papillon, and his handler John Oulton won the top competition back in 1999.
I recall that this very small dog from the Toy Group just took strong command of the arena with his huge energy. As he stood stationary and perfectly stacked, while the judge was assessing him, his head was held so high and his eyes were keen with determination. In my mind I heard him say to the judge, “I just dare you to give this win to any other dog here. I dare you and I ‘double-dog’ dare you. Don’t even think about another dog here. I am the one!”
This paragraph in ( explains a lot about the big heart of this little dog:
“In 1999, Kirby became the first Papillon to win best in show at Westminster. He also became the oldest dog to ever win at Westminster at eight years old, a record which would stand until 2009. … The victory at Westminster in 1999 added to a remarkable 31 best in show trophies, including winning the World Dog Show in Helsinki, Finland and the Royal Canadian Show in 1998 in the same show year. Kirby is the first dog to have ever won both at Westminster and at the World Dog Show.
I found an article written on February 21, 1999 after the win by Pet Columnist Ranny Green in the Seattle Times that confirmed all I had felt watching Kirby perform ( The title of the article is “Kinetic Kirby Steals the Show from Big Dogs in Westminster’s Select Seven.”
 Green writes:
“I admit it. I’m not a toy type.
“But a free-spirited, 8-year-old Papillon named Kirby stole my heart and certainly went a long way toward changing that prejudice in Madison Square Garden earlier this month.
“Unless, you’ve arrived from another planet, you know that Kirby, aka Champion Loteki Supernatural Being, beat six bigger foes for the coveted Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show best-in-show title.
“Little or no advertising, highly selective competition beforehand, unranked in the American Kennel Club Top 10 standings and not even listed in the Top Five of his breed, Kirby and owner John Oulton of Norwalk, Connecticut, put on a robot-like performance that captured the big Garden crowd.
“Kirby wasn’t among the favorites, since he’d had few outings immediately beforehand. In fact, many were uncertain Oulton and Kirby would compete.
‘This was one we really wanted to win,’ said Oulton. ‘It would be hard to tell he’s 8 years old by the way he performed here. He still has that puppy sparkle and charisma. He’s not ready to retire yet.’ …
“The performance of that little dog (he was pointing to Kirby several feet away) and that man (Oulton) was electrifying. I’ve been around dog shows for many years and their presentation was as good as it gets.
“That little dog responded in every way he asked. While he was the smallest of the seven, he raised the bar for the others and gave them something to shoot for. But none of them quite reached it.
“John and the Papillon left me with chills and memories for a lifetime.
“And did you see all the poise and patience that dog exhibited afterward? He sat in that silver bowl (which goes to the best-in-show titlist) for 20 minutes and enjoyed every minute of it as the photographers popped one picture after another.
“That’s the mark of not only a great show dog but a well-trained companion animal. And isn’t that what this is all about? This dog typified the behavior we’d like to see in our own.”
You can learn more about John and Kirby in an interview that Martha Stewart did with them at
Kirby Winning the Best in Show

Kirby at Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Photo from Martha Stewart Living article at

It’s All About the Passion

Competitors in any sport, of course, have to be physically prepared. But for those who continue to win year in and year out or who win not one or two, but 31 best in show trophies, it is about so much more. It is about the mental game, the setting of intentions, the fire in their bellies, their confidence. And perhaps most of all, it is about their passion that also includes their purpose. Usually, they love what they do and can’t wait to be back on the court, back on the field or back in the arena.
Tom Brady, the New England Patriots’ winning quarterback, won last year’s Super Bowl at the age of 39. Now 40, he is excited to play in his 18th season. In an interview on the CBS television program “Sunday Morning,” he told reporter Norah O’Donnell (
“I do want to go out on my terms,” he said. “I do want to go out playing my best.” With a special way of training that he says has made him faster than when he first began playing, he is using resistance bands rather than weights to lengthen muscles and make them more flexible.
Tom Brady

At 40 Quarterback Tom Brady, of the New England Patriots, is excited to play another season, noting he is faster than when he first started out. Photo from

He has a new book about all his protocols that have kept him in such fighting shape. It is titled, “The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance”  (published by Simon & Schuster, a CBS company).

Brendon Burchard and “High Performance Habits”

Author, personal development trainer, motivational speaker and internet entrepreneur Brendon Burchard has always been fascinated by those who have sustained high performance. He is an example of someone who has that fire and passion to be the best he can be. There is nothing he enjoys more than to keep expanding and finding new ways to promote his business and improve the lives of others.
Brendon Burchard

Brendon Burchard gets so excited at his live events. He is like a top athlete, making sure he delivers an outstanding performance. At his High Performance Academy, he teaches others how to perform like those who are highly successful and motivated, living a “charged life.” He has a new book called “High Performance Habits.” Photo by Donna El Haber, 2017, from an online seminar at 

His latest book is titled “High Performance Habits.” To listen to audio excerpts from the book, click here. To download the first chapter, go to
He even has a bi-annual workshop to talk about ways to become a high performance achiever in his High Performance Academy (HPA). My husband Sharbel and I had the opportunity to attend one of them this year with over 1,000 other attendees. Just watching Brendon always be so fired up about whatever he is promoting or teaching is inspiring.
At the academy, he shares a number of practices that help him be in the best physical shape to show up and speak with enthusiasm for three days. Because his events are so physically demanding, Brendon has to train as though he is a top athlete and keep himself both physically and mentally fit before going out to perform. With the help of Dr. Daniel Amen, he even came back stronger than ever from a brain trauma injury.
Donna & Sharbel at HPA 2017

My husband Sharbel and I had a great time at Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Academy in San Diego where the energy was high and where we learned, danced and networked.

Creating the Best Support Teams for Top Performers

Top athletes like Nadal, Federer, Brady and so many others need outstanding coaches who know how to get the best performances from them. They also need a great team of people supporting them. When they win championships, tennis players often thank all the people on their team who helped them prepare to achieve their victory.  Kevin Anderson even climbed up in the seats during his semi-final win in a show of great appreciation to hug many members of the team that helped get him there.
Brendon Burchard has training on how to hire the best people for your team. Those who want to work with him have to send in videos telling him something about themselves, why they want to work with him, and what positive attributes they will bring to the job. In interviews he will also ask what might have gone wrong for a candidate on a previous job to see if someone will fail to take responsibility and blame others. That will tell him a lot about a candidate’s integrity and ability to take responsibility for losses as well as wins. It also offers a chance for candidates to tell him what they might have done differently to achieve a more positive outcome.
It is so important to get the right team members to surround and uplift you and who really have your back so you can focus on doing what you do best.
Winning Team

Choosing the right coach and mentors who can inspire you to be the best you can be is so important in gaining momentum to achieve your goals and to build a winning team. Photo by Julie Elliott-Abshire from

All the training and methods for achieving success for top athletes like Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Tom Brady, and for entrepreneurs like Brendon Burchard, are a by-product of their passion.
If you love something so much and it brings you great satisfaction and joy, then you are going to do everything you can – and get very creative at it – to make it possible for you to continue to compete and perform at your highest level.
It is their passion and intensity, love of the sport or business, and enjoyment of winning that are always propelling them forward. They are passionate about being successful, transforming the lives of others, and providing extraordinary inspiration. That fire and passion creates winning streaks and exceptional monetary success more than all their physical preparation and practice. It is far more important than switching coaches or creating new techniques to win.
It is something unseen and something that cannot be taught or bought. It is about alignment. And that alignment is about connecting to Source and tapping into the energy that creates worlds. It is also about fulfilling your purpose that aligns with your passion.

It is about alignment. And that alignment is about connecting to Source and tapping into the energy that creates worlds. Photo by Flavio Takemoto from

The collective consciousness called Abraham, as channeled by Esther Hicks, sometimes talks about what happens when you want to make some toast. You get the bread out of its package and put it in the toaster. Then you decide how long to toast it. Then you press the button for it to toast.
But if you don’t have the toaster plugged into the electrical socket, you will not get your toast. Abraham says it is the same for us. We also need to be plugged in to the Source of all that is. When we are, we get fired up with passion, purpose and extraordinary energy. We also get to eat our delicious toast.
So as you reflect on what’s happening in your life right now, are you plugged in? Are you “tuned in, tapped in and turned on?” Are you fired up with a sense of your passion and purpose?

John O’Leary’s Wisdom and Inspiration

I have recently been watching and listening to some vlogs and podcasts of burn victim John O’Leary ( He encourages others to live their lives like they are “on fire” and to live an inspired life, asking, as his friend and mentor Jack Buck, long-time radio announcer for the St. Louis Cardinals,  always asked, “What more can I do?”
So I pose these questions to you as I pose them to myself, asking, “What more can you do to live your life with passion and purpose? What more can you do to inspire and help others? What more can you do to connect with your inner being and the Source that can provide more passion and inspiration that you ever dreamed possible?”
I invite you to go into meditation and think about these questions and see what answers you get. If I can help in any way, just let me know. You can click here to set up a time to chat to see how I might help you light a fire of passion and purpose and get more “tuned in, tapped in and turned on.” To check out my packages for igniting more passion and purpose into your life, go to
John O’Leary on Fire

John O’Leary, who was burned in a catastrophic accident in his garage when he was only 9 years old, has a mission to inspire others to live their lives like they were on fire with passion and purpose. Like his mentor Jack Buck, O’Leary always asks, “What more can I do?” Photo from

Thank you Rafael, Roger, Juan Martín Del Potro, who played some incredibly inspirational games at the U.S. Open, Brendon, Tom, Kirby, John and so many others for your talents, energy, vitality and brilliance on your playing fields. You have inspired all of us to fight back and move forward, never doubting that our best is yet to be.
Wishing you love, healing, miracles, passion, purpose and success beyond your wildest dreams,
Rev. Donna El Haber
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