What an amazing week of golf. I was fortunate to spend a few days at Chambers Bay this past week watching the best golfers in the world compete. In a game that is as much mental as it is physical, I was particularly impressed with several performances during the final round yesterday.
Here are six lessons that I believe apply equally in sports as they do in sales.
1. You will have to come from behind
Jordan lead after every round of the Masters, but that wasn’t the case this weekend. He was in the lead, then not, then back…and then not. Coming from behind is a constant in sports, in competition, in sales.
2. You will miss shots and double-bogey holes along the way
Often lost in the glow of victory are the failures, but they were there. Many of them. Missed fairways, double bogeys, putts that should have broken right but broke left instead. Champions fail, but they get back up and keep going.
3. The “masters” aren’t always right
Gary Player is one of golf’s all-time greats, and had little (if anything) to say about the Chambers Bay course. He called it unplayable. I think Spieth would disagree, as would several players who had their best rounds of the tournament on Sunday. Difficult does not equal unplayable. Just because things are hard doesn’t mean they can’t be conquered. And just because past champions say so, doesn’t mean you can’t compete and win at “their” game today.
4. Complaining won’t help you win
Sergio Garcia spent most of the week complaining about the greens. I can’t help but think that got into his head as he competed through the weekend. Yes, the greens aren’t perfect. But they are the greens you’re playing. Get it out of your head, and make the putt anyway.
5. Practice and preparation breeds confidence
You’ve made this shot before. You’ve practiced it, envisioned it, developed confidence that you can, and will, make it.
6. Never give up
Louis Oosthuizen was among a threesome on Thursday (with Ricky Fowler and Tiger Woods) that were, all three of them, basically laughed at by the broadcasters. They were laughing at themselves even! All three played poorly. But on Friday, Oosthuizen played well enough to make the cut. Yesterday, he finished one stroke behind Spieth. You never know. You never quit. Keep fighting, keep pushing. You can still do it.