Even those at the top of their game have moments of doubt, disappointment and even total disintegration. What truly defines a Master is how they rebound from life’s challenges.
The first major professional golf tournament every year is the Masters. It is fitting that the 12th hole, aptly named Amen Corner, dismantled the reigning champion, Jordan Speith. Stay with me, this has direct applicability to becoming an exceptional leader in business and in life.
Speith is a 22 year-old golf prodigy. He is the 2015 Master’s champion and multi-millionaire professional athlete. He is incredibly focused, extremely talented and works exceptionally hard to perfect his craft.
Astonishingly he led every round during the 2015 and 2016 Masters golf tournaments. In fact, on the final round heading into the infamous Amen Corner, he was leading the tournament by a remarkable five strokes until disaster struck. First, the tee shot fell short and rolled into the water. Next, another mis-hit ended up in the pond again! Finally, a hastily hit ball flew the green into the back bunker. After two painful putts, the unflappable maverick of the Masters took a seven on a “simple” par three. A five-stroke lead melted away and the master became a misfit and lost the tournament by a single stroke.
What can business leaders learn from such an unfortunate turn of events
As leaders, it is important to realize we are not perfect. We will make mistakes. Things will go wrong and we might “lose it” on occasion. That is okay and human. What is important is to not let a single event define us. Rather, we must reflect on the unfortunate occurrence and learn from it. Understanding our frailties and remaining grounded, even with our imperfections, can be a great tool to future self-mastery.
Stay the Course
Jordan Speith commented following his epic meltdown that he changed his strategy going into the back nine because he had such a large lead. Like all great leaders, Speith had created a detailed strategy plan. He painstakingly studied the course, visualized his every shot and meticulously executed every swing…until reaching Amen Corner.
By envisioning our desired outcomes, intentionally implementing our plans we are prone to produce desired results. Radically shifting directions on a whim is often a poor decision. Master’s stay the course. They acknowledge mistakes, take full responsibility and move on to their next task at hand. Ironically, strong self-confidence is built through a sense of self-compassion.
Fearlessly Focus on the Future
Even the world’s finest have “off days.” Heck, the perpetual world-class golfer Phil Michelson did not even make the cut following the first two rounds of this year’s tournament.
What is critical at times of challenge is to embrace the emotions felt. Know we will experience some level of uncertainty and even fear. That is okay and very human. What is most important is to accept our humanness with humility and demonstrate our conviction to move forward.
After all, golf is just a game.
Live life accordingly and play well my friends, play well.
Helping business owners, CEOs and their executive teams build amazing companies.
Core focus areas include:
Leadership Alignment and Accountability