The Secret of Success

I’m working with a young professional golfer at the moment and it’s a lot fun.

I say he’s a professional, but that’s not technical true, he’s an amateur that possesses a professional mindset.

I was initially contacted by his father who was concerned that his son didn’t really know what to do with his life.

We talked about values and all that other good Life Coaching stuff I do to help people figure things out and the father said he’d like me to coach him.

I never take a client on without speaking to them first so we had a good chat and decided to take things further.

Halfway through our first proper session it was obvious this wasn’t going to chart the normal course.

I presumed from the first two conversations I was going to have a kid that was unsure what he wanted out of life or where he wanted to go.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. He was focused, determined, motivated and knew exactly what he wanted out of life.

To be the greatest golfer on the plant.

The problem with goals like that is they are easy to set and fiendishly difficult to accomplish. After all, there is only one #1 ranked golfer in the world at any one point in time.

In the 24 years since the ranking system was introduced have only been 12 in total and other than a period in 2005 when Vijay Singh took over, Tiger Woods has been number one for the last decade.

That’s a fairly exclusive club and one that I would imagine every single professional and wannabe professional aspires to join.

So what is required to become truly world-class?

Is it Belief?

You’re definitely going to need to be confident and have a strong belief system to be the best in the world.

But most people who excel in their field have an abundance of belief in themselves.

Is It Talent?

The sporting world and otherwise is littered with talented people that never fulfilled their potential.

Recent book like Outliers and Talent Is Overrated have even cast doubt on whether talent exists and it isn’t just continual and repetitive practice over a period of 10,000 hours or more.

Is It Commitment?

I think we’re getting close with commitment, especially when you couple it with tenacity and determination.

Having belief and talent is useless if you’re not committed to going out and practicing come what may. So it’s all of these things and a bit more because it’s this:

Having the commitment, and even desire, to do the things other people aren’t prepared to do.

In the early 1980’s Nick Faldo was one of the top golfers in Europe, but he had never won a major tournament, in fact he’d choked in two when close to winning.

He decided with the help of his coach, David Leadbeater, that his swing wasn’t good enough to get him to world number one.

Faldo had 2 options. He could stay with his current swing and earn a few million bucks as a top level player that never quite became the best.

Or he could rip it apart and rebuild it with no guarantee he’d even get back to where he was, never mind become any better.

He took the latter option and for two years he plummeted down the world rankings. He didn’t just fail to win tournaments, he was often missing the cut which meant he didn’t even get to play on the 3rd and 4th days.

Just in case you don’t know, Faldo went on to become the most successful British golfer of all time.

He won 29 European tour events, 6 majors, more Ryder Cup points than anybody in history (including the US players) and he was world number one for almost 2 years.

That is doing what others wouldn’t do.

The Good: Hit 1,000 balls in practice.

The Great:  Hit 1,000 golf balls in the freezing rain or when they don’t feel too great.

The Good: Stand on the tee and visualize where they want their shot to go.

The Great: Pass on going to the bar with their buddies so they can lie on their bed practicing visualizing techniques.

The Good: Enter tournaments in the middle of their ability level and enjoy the accolades when they win.

The Great: Enter competitions populated by players at the level above them knowing short-term wins are unlikely but the experience is crucial.

The Good: Say they are determined to succeed and show you their list of goals to prove it.

The Great: Invest in hiring a coach to help them get there.

If you want to truly excel (and by the way it’s cool if you don’t, not everybody does) and become world class at what you do, at some stage you’ll have to do things other people don’t want to do.

Are you prepared to do that?

I’d really like to hear any stories of you or people you know doing things that others wouldn’t normally do in the comments.