//Putting In The Work

Putting In The Work

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By Curt Fowler

Being a professional is doing the things you love to do on the days you don’t feel like doing them.” – Julius Irving (Dr. J)

At the 2019 Masters golf tournament, Tiger Woods staged one of the greatest career comebacks in sports history, let’s dive deeper into the work ethic that made him great – again.

First, a little history. Tiger won his first Masters in 1997. That win kicked off a string of major championship wins that abruptly stopped after Tiger won the U.S. Open in 2008. Until the 2019 Masters Tiger had not won a major golf tournament since 2008.

Tiger went through a lot from 2008 to 2019. Swing overhauls, back surgery, personal and professional crises. But he kept pushing and is back on top again. How did he do it?

Tiger’s comeback was built on the same success “secret” that got him to the top in 1997. A ridiculous work ethic.

Here are some highlights of what makes Tiger, Tiger.

  • Reliance On Work, Not Talent –Tiger is amazingly talented, but he doesn’t rely on his talent to win. “People don’t understand that when I grew up, I was never the most talented. I was never the biggest. I was never the fastest. I certainly was never the strongest. The only thing I had was my work ethic, and that’s been what has gotten me this far.”
  • Always Learning, Always Seeking To Improve – Even when Tiger looked unbeatable, he always saw other players as better than him – at least at some aspects of the game. That kept him hungry, on the practice green and always seeking to improve.
  • Fitness –Golfers who want to compete at the top of the game are no longer exempt from being in fantastic shape. Tiger raised the bar on fitness in golf and continues to keep the bar high. When not on tour Tiger works out at least two hours per day.
  • Health –If you couldn’t tell from looking at him, Tiger keeps a very strict diet. Usually high protein and low carb.
  • Routine – Tiger is leaving clues for those who want to follow in his path. He published his typical “12-hour” daily routine on his website. It looks exhausting. Tiger’s day starts with an hour of cardio, followed by weight training. He spends hours on the course daily – not simply playing, but deliberate, painstaking practice. He caps his day with more weight training, then dinner and rest.
  • Vision Woods was fourteen years old when he said he could be the Michael Jordan of golf.
  • Risk Tolerance –Woods changed his swing in 2002 because his swing wasn’t “good enough” – despite having won eight majors from 1997 to 2002.

A lot of people compared Tiger Woods to Michael Jordan when Tiger was on the mountain top. Both were known for their amazing talent. They were both one of the best to ever play their respective sports.

When others spoke of Tiger and Jordan they generally spoke about their talent. When Tiger and Jordan talked, they talked about the work. They talked about what they did to form their talent. The work was what made their talent look so flawless – and deceptively easy to those of us watching their highlight reels.

Tiger and Jordan had the best kind of confidence. Confidence built on the abilities created by the work they put in. They became good first and the confidence came second. Even before they were the best in their sports, their confidence was built on the work. They trusted the process (the work) and knew the outcomes would come.

We can all learn a lot from the work ethic of the greatest in our fields. We all recognize there can be downsides to this level of work ethic. Those perceived problems can keep many of us from following the “work first” paths of people like Jordan and Tiger.

But the issues that have surfaced in the lives of many great performers generally happened in their downtime – not when they were putting in the work. Maybe how we spend our free time is the greatest determinant of our success in life – both at home and at work.

If you’d like some great resources to help you on your journey you can find them on our resources page at www.valuesdrivenresults.com or call me at 229.244.1559.

Curt Fowler is President of Fowler & Company and Director at Fowler, Holley, Rambo & Stalvey. He is dedicated to helping leaders create and achieve a compelling vision for their organizations.

Curt is a syndicated business writer, keynote speaker and business advisor. He has an MBA in Strategy and Entrepreneurship from the Kellogg School, is a CPA, and a pretty good guy as defined by his wife and four children.