November 21, 2017

How do I stop myself from losing my edge when every day I feel like I’m trudging through quicksand?

I have never met a true leader who is not concerned about losing that leadership edge that is so necessary in today’s world. Technology, education and the global economy are changing with lightning speed and moving forward so quickly. It’s often hard for a leader to know whether or not to go left, right or forward…or to just stand still.

Over this past week-end, I watched my son win a major golf tournament, the North Carolina Amateur. For those of you who follow golf, you probably know that to win a state championship is quite an accomplishment, and this one was most interesting for Jack. He was seven shots behind going into the final round, and he came from behind, shot a 63 (course record and hard for the other players and spectators to believe,) and he grinded it out. His inspiration? Tiger Woods.

On Saturday night, our family sat and watched Tiger Woods, who recently had knee surgery, grind it out. He played the shot, allowed the pain to rush through his knee and often fell to the ground on many tee shots, and as a result, he went into the final round in the lead. Following the round, Tiger said “It’s just pain. I just deal with it. I hit the ball and think about the pain after the shot.” This round was amazing, and Jack watched this closely, and you could see the wheels turning. Later that evening, he seemed to be more quiet…more focused than I have seen him in a long time, and his contemplation paid off on Sunday.

Tiger Woods’ behaviors on the golf course are a true lesson in leadership. If you are trudging through quicksand, you can’t let the sand swallow you up. Just as Tiger did this past week (in pain) you have to pull up everything you have to trudge forward to get yourself on solid ground. Here is what I believe it’s going to take to keep your edge in the future based on what I see in Tiger:

1) Focus. If you watch Tiger, you will notice that he goes deep into the zone, even with millions of eyes on him. The more competition, the more deeply he goes into the zone.

2) Risk. Tiger Woods takes a risk every time he stands up to make a shot, especially when he’s in deep rough or surrounded by trees and trouble. He takes the bold move and makes it happen.

3) Trust. When Tiger Woods steps up to make a putt, he does not hesitate. He trusts his line, and he does not waver. All leaders have to trust that the decisions they make are good ones.

4) Practice. Tiger Woods works out and practices most days (unless he is taking off.) Leadership takes practice and requires a commitment to ongoing learning and development.

5) Health.
Tiger is in impeccable shape. Leaders of tomorrow are going to not only need to be mentally tough but energetic and physically strong. If you don’t buy into this, pick up a copy of The Power of Full Engagement.

6) Innovation. Tiger Woods has reinvented the game of golf. He has brought new moves to the course, and everyone watches Tiger to take away any new tidbits which will shave numbers off their score.

7) Quick Decision Making. Tiger does not have time to sit and wait to make a decision. He makes the decision and then goes for it. If you are sitting around and waiting to make a decision, you will be sucked up by the quicksand around you.

If this post resonated with any of the pains you may be feeling in your leadership, we encourage you to pick up a copy of EDGE: A Leadership Story. We offer over 100 coaching questions at the end of each chapter to help leaders of tomorrow navigate this quickly changing world we live in.

Join us on July 14 at 7:00 p.m. for The Future of Business From the Minds of Ten Top Professionals.

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