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How It Started

THE STORY

What is it that fuels each one of us in this world? For me, it is my Grand Slam Journey projects - podcasting and blogging. Since I started with my fun creative projects in the summer of 2020, I have found more joy, enthusiasm, and fulfillment in my life. I enjoy slowing down, speaking with my podcast guests about interesting topics, learning from their stories, and writing about my passions, interests, observations, and sharing them with the world. With each passing day, Grand Slam Journey gains more followers, and for that, I am grateful. 

With love and grateful ❤️

Klara

 

Grand Slam Journey

ABOUT THE NAME

The name Grand Slam Journey signifies the journey of our life. In tennis, Grand Slam tournaments such as the Australian Open, Rolland Garros, Wimbledon, and the US Open are the 4 Grand Slam tournaments all tennis players strive to be part of and participate in. Competing at and achieving a Grand Slam level of tennis means a great deal to all tennis players worldwide. A very few achieve it, while the vast majority of them don't. 


I have not achieved the dream of becoming a Grand Slam player myself, but one of my favorite writers Paulo Coelho would say, "It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting." I lived a journey to become a Grand Slam tennis player, and that experience shaped my life. As I reflect on my tennis journey, there are many things I could have done differently, but I would argue that all of life is for learning. Now, I try to apply those lessons and learnings to my second career. 


Life is not about the destination but rather about the journey we choose for ourselves and decide to embark on. The journey shapes who we become and determines how joyful, fulfilled, and successful we feel about our lives. Choose your journey and focus on building good habits. I would argue that the achievement of the goal we set for ourselves is not in our control. In fact, if we lock our focus on it too much, it may make us more nervous, more distracted, and less present. We forget to enjoy the path we are on because we are too focused on the end goal. We end up living with a mindset projecting into the future yet never truly being present. 


Create your journey.

Practice high involvement, low attachment,

AND most importantly, don't forget to have fun while doing it.

 

About Me

Foundation: 

I come from a small town in the South-East part of Czechia called Lipov, on the borders of Slovakia and Austria. Most of the childhood I remember was after the communist era and the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, which was an interesting time growing up. It created a significant cultural and economic change when it comes to freedom of thought and opportunity creation. After the Velvet Revolution, my parents decided to auction a store. They became small business owners who knew nothing about running a business. They had to figure everything out, and they learned a lot. We all learned a lot with them as the business became the center of our family. This experience certainly fueled my passion for business. Before that, my mom was a kindergarten teacher, and my dad worked in a factory. My mom has always had a strong drive to achieve. She has a highly creative mind, chooses to see what's possible, and then puts her thoughts into action. When I was a kid, I remember her making clothes for the whole family because she liked fashion and wanted to be different from everyone else. She dared to be different. She is a strong, independent, and somewhat stubborn woman who has carried our family for many years. I find that a certain level of stubbornness is vital in life for one to achieve big goals. My dad has been an independent thinker with a high level of energy, passion, genuine heart, and imagination that runs way too wild for many to comprehend. He has been haunted by several poor decisions combined with bad luck multiplied by mental model challenges. By now, you can probably imagine that my childhood was very dynamic and multi-faceted. There are many lessons I learned, and some of the main ones are:

  1. Dare to dream and set high goals for yourself.

  2. If you work hard, you may be able to achieve your goals.

  3. Poor decisions have profound consequences.

  4. Fitting in is not important. Own your uniqueness, as that is what makes you special.

  5. Trust is important in all we do, and at some points in our lives and relationships, it may not be worth repairing. Pause often to evaluate the level of trust in your relationships. Am I better off by walking away and starting over? Is the energy I put into holding things together worth the effort of trying to rebuild trust?


Tennis:

I was a highly energetic kid who always ran around interested in various activities. I played the piano, did gymnastics, played volleyball, skied A LOT, did modern dance, and competed in track and field, poetry recitals, math, and foreign language contests in school. Still, tennis was the sport that grabbed me the most. I started learning tennis when I was nine years old with my mom's best friend, and it grew on me. I cannot remember much of anything else. I started, I kept playing more and more, and then I moved into a tennis academy to primarily focus on tennis when I was 13 years old. I lived on my own in an apartment close to the tennis courts, and I don't find it weird. It was what needed to be done for me to be a great tennis player. I had no second thoughts about it, and to date, this was one of the best things that happened to me, including the decision to come to the USA and play D1 college tennis. The sport and my coaches shaped me into who I am today. I learned to understand the world through tennis and believe that many tennis principles apply to business and life in general. Such as: 

  1. Focus, prioritization, time management, and the power of creating a routine and structure

  2. Consistently being persistent, working hard, and staying fully committed to your goals

  3. Building good habits and making small improvements every day leads to large changes over time. Having a solid foundation will propel your growth later on.

  4. No matter how much you love something, at some point in your life, it becomes a job. Knowing the meaning behind why you do what you do helps carry you forward through challenging times. When in doubt, default back to principles #1, #2, and #3.

  5. Believing in yourself and the goal you set for yourself is crucial for success. It doesn't matter what others think; the most important thing is what you believe and how you see yourself. Work on yourself and trust that the rest will come.

  6. Creativity and adaptability are important - you never know what may work. Iterate often and try different things, especially when things are not going your way.


You can find my posts with some of these principles in the Blog section of this website. 


Tennis was everything to me - It was my biggest dream, my refuge, my passion, my enemy, my biggest teacher, and my biggest failure so far. I never achieved the goals I set for myself, and I am undoubtedly better off for trying and experiencing my tennis journey because of what I learned and the person my sport helped me become. When I finished playing tennis - after college - I was broken-hearted and exhausted. My body felt worn out and old. At that point in my life, I felt like I wasted a lot of time and energy on something that didn't work out. I felt I needed to move on quickly and find something else to invest my time and energy into for the next 10-15 years to become great at something else. What should I do next? What else could I possibly like and enjoy? 

Next journey:

I fell into telecom by accident - through tennis, and I have to say that the industry fit me well. It is constantly evolving and expanding, and what attracts me to it the most is the constant progress, innovation, and opportunity to explore and learn new things. I started in retail, which was a great way to learn about the day-to-day business - what it takes to run stores, manage people, and sell cell phones and service plans to customers. I then took an opportunity to move from Texas to California with Ericsson, where I spent ten years learning about the network infrastructure - 2G, 3G, 4G, and now 5G. I sold network infrastructure products and rollout services to Tier 1 customers from radio to the core and became interested in the new trends such as private networks, edge computing, cloud and virtualization, digital transformation, AI, self-optimizing networks, and open RAN. I learned about the entire network rollout process, from site acquisition to network design, build, and optimization. During my years at Ericsson, I had various Account Management and Business Development roles - working directly with partners and customers is one of the things I have always kept at the center. 


In 2021 I decided to grow my experience by accepting a new position at Apple with the Worldwide Health team. I saw this as a great opportunity to learn, grow, and combine my passion for health and fitness while building on my strengths and experience. The journey at Apple has been full of new learnings and discoveries, and I look forward to staying curious and seeing how it evolves. Steve Jobs once said: "You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."

 
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"I believe that each of us has a unique story that can inspire others. The journey we choose or don't choose shapes our identity. The mindset and beliefs we hold about ourselves and the world drive our decisions or indecisions, shape the way we perceive the world around us, and create our future and success; however, we define success for ourselves. As we grow through life, one of our key responsibilities is to filter through our mindset and belief system - keep the beliefs that serve you, discard what is not useful, and cultivate the mindset that helps you become the person you want to be."

 

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