Jordan Spieth recently won The Masters Golf Tournament, a remarkable accomplishment in and of itself except Jordan is just 21 years young. Jordan didn't do so bad last year as well, making 24 out of 27 cuts, played in his first Ryder Cup and finished 11th on the money list. Did I forget to mention that Spieth started the PGA tour in 2013?
Learn from Your Mistakes and Move Forward
On some levels the game of golf is similar to life. You are constantly faced with new challenges and either you find your way around or over the obstacle or suffer the consequence. The best golfers, with the help of their caddie and instructor, review each round, analyze any mistakes, and make a plan to improve. Many will go out on the practice course and recreate the same types of shots that they struggled with during a tournament and work on that shot until they are comfortable they have mastered it.
It’s important to learn from past mistakes but dwelling on failure is counterproductive and can interfere with building a confident, forward-looking outlook. When asked about his rookie year Spieth said “I’m just looking ahead. I never really did look back.”
Visualization is a technique employed by most of the top athletes to see themselves accomplishing their goals and can be a powerful method to eliminate doubt from creeping in and negatively affecting the outcome.
“It’s about throwing those things out of my mind, not worrying about it, not caring, setting a goal and being patient with the opportunities that are going to come my way.”
Things Change Fast, Be Ready for Them
Spieth remembers getting chills after receiving the call from Fred Couples naming him a captain’s pick for the Presidents Cup. Spieth started out his rookie year without a PGA Tour card and finished with 9 top 10 finishes, won the John Deere Classic, came in 2nd twice , nearly won the Fedex Cup carding a 64 in the final round of the Tour Championship, earning a cool $3.9 Million, and going 2-2 at the President’s Cup. Spieth is the first to admit he never could have predicted what a successful rookie year it would turn out to be. He had to revisit his goals several times that year and re-adjust his sites higher each time.
Spieth's caddie Michael Greller states “being able to adapt to situations, that’s something you have to do out here that I’m comfortable with from teaching school for so long.” [NY Times]
As a Teacher I am constantly making adjustments in how I present a concept to my students, how I interact with a certain student, even finding out what the latest fads and music are so I can tie that into what’s happening in the classroom to make learning more relevant.
Ask yourself this question: Do I want to drive change or do I want to be driven to change? Successful individuals embrace change and consider it an opportunity not something to fear. Here are a few things you can do to best prepare yourself for change:
- Subscribe to and read a leading professional journal in your field of expertise
- Find a mentor in your place of employment, build a lasting relationship, and tap this resource often
- Know your limitations and rely on other experts as required
- Seek training in key weak areas and use these new skills in different settings as often as possible
- Develop a positive mindset towards change and look at each challenge as an opportunity to grow both personally and professionally
Find a Roll Model and Learn from Them
Ben Crenshaw, widely known as one of the best putters the game of gold has ever seen, lives in Austin Texas home to Spieth's alma matter The University of Texas. Gentle Ben, as Crenshaw is fondly referred to by his peers, is fiercely comitted to the importance of finding a mentor that can help you improve your carft. Crenshaw’s mentor was the legendary Harvey Pennick who shared his sage advice on life and the game of golf in The Little Red Book. Crenshaw immediately saw something in Spieth, a “competitive fire” he called it. “I don’t know what it is, but he just has this maturity,” Crenshaw said. “He’s got an awareness of where’s he going. He’s got a plan.”
Spieth sought out Crenshaw and his longtime caddie Carl Jackson last year to go over hole by hole, where to hit each shot, what shots were the toughest, and what putts were the most difficult. Crenshaw (44 masters appearances with 2 Green Jackets) and Jackson (53 Masters Appearances) are considered to have the best understanding of how to play Augusta National a course known for it’s difficult greens and value on shot placement. Spieth also reached out to Tiger Woods, four-time Masters Champion. The two walked the course as Spieth picked Tiger’s brain as he had with Crenshaw.
Many corporations recognize the value of mentorship in the development of it’s employees and many have formal mentor programs for management candidates. Whether your place of employment has a formal mentor program or not, finding someone in a leadership position that is willing to provide insight into how to develop the skill set necessary to be successful is something many top performing individuals find invaluable.
Don't Forget What is Really Important
Spieth has a team around him that he draws on for both professional advice and support, most important is his family. He is particularly close to his younger sister Ellie who has autism. He says “it's humbling to see her and her friends and the struggles they go through each day.” [newsday] “I love having her around. She's an incredible sister, my biggest supporter. She is somebody who you can watch and then reflect on the big picture of life and understand that all these frustrations in a day, or in a round of golf, are really secondary. (CNN)
Readers: How do you define success? Have you ever struggled reaching your goals?