Say what you will about Tiger Woods. It seems to be a love-hate relationship for most people. He's been called a lot of different names over the years, from champion athlete and best player ever in the game of golf, to home-wrecker and cheater.
Whether you like the man or not, there are lessons we can all learn from his time on the course, and it's not always those times he has wowed us with his unbelievable play -- but rather, the times he hasn't performed at his best.
In this past Ryder Cup for example, Woods earned only half a point for the United States team, with a two-day record of 0-3-1. The Europeans made an incredible comeback on the final day of competition to win the Ryder Cup.
Word has leaked out to the golfing world that shortly after the match, Tiger Woods gathered team rookies Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Jason Dufner and Keegan Bradley, and apologized for his poor play and letting the team down.
5 lessons from Tiger Woods' actions:
1) Champions take responsibility. One of the critical factors separating amateurs from pros is responsibility. Success on any major scale requires you to accept responsibility. World-class performers realize they are completely responsible for their success or failure. Commit to taking total responsibility for everything that happens to you. This one change in thinking has the power to launch you to the world-class level faster than any other single idea. Tiger Woods took responsibility for his poor play, and you can to. Whether it's on the golf course, in your career, trying to lose weight or acquire more money, don't blame outside factors and take responsibility.
2) Champions thrive on world class self-talk. Self-talk is what we say to ourselves all day long, yet it's also how we say it. For years, philosophers, psychologists and performance experts have known about the impact of self-talk. Even great performers like Tiger Woods have days where their negative self-talk can overrun them. No doubt, the rookies on the U.S. Ryder Cup team were probably beating themselves up over the loss. Woods' speech to them, while no one knows for sure since it was behind closed doors, most probably helped lift their spirits. A world-class self-talk is perhaps the greatest mental toughness tool of all champions. The good news is, this is one tool that everyone can incorporate into their lives.
3) Champions see mistakes as intellectual capital. Mistakes are viewed as failures by amateur thinkers. The pros embrace mistakes; they are a sign of pushing forward. Tiger Woods made many mistakes during the Ryder Cup that led to the team losing to the Europeans. Woods' recognized those mistakes and brought them to light with his fellow players. As Phil Knight, founder of Nike said, "The trouble in America is not that we are making too many mistakes, but that we are making too few." Don't be afraid to learn from your mistakes, and see what you can learn from them to better yourself -- or your team.
4) The world class develops emotional intelligence. Most people believe formal education is the most important key to success, yet studies show a person's level of emotional intelligence is far more significant. The world class places a high value on their ability to influence other people through their charm, charisma and emotional maturity. Human beings are emotionally driven creatures, who respond far better to emotionally charged words, gestures and actions. Champions place relationships above all else in their interactions with others. Tiger proved just how important these professional relationships are when he called this private meeting with his fellow players. What actions can you take today to better your professional relationships?
5) The world-class has tremendous self-respect. Most people struggle with respect. Respecting others is directly related to respecting yourself. It's been said "You cannot give what you do not have," and respect falls directly into this category. Respecting other people for a pro is easier because he has great respect for himself. The struggles and battles he has waged have forged his confidence and character far beyond that of the average person. There's no arguing Tiger's lack of self-respect or respect for others in his personal dealings that were revealed in 2009, but this latest act by Woods shows just how much he's learned about self-respect and respecting his peers.
While it would have been nice for the headlines to read "Tiger Woods Helps U.S. Team Capture The Ryder Cup," take a good look at the actions of Woods in the face of defeat. Start today by playing to win the great game of your life. There's a champion performer inside you just waiting to get in the game and lead a life really worthy of living.