Golf in so many ways teaches us lessons we can use in our life. For the next two days I want to share with you lessons you can learn from Tom Watson and Stewart Cink. Today, I will share my thoughts about Watson and tomorrow I will share my thoughts about Cink.
Even if you are not a golfer or golf fan, and even if you do not like sports, you have to admire 59-year-old Tom Watson and his incredible effort to win The Open last weekend in Scotland. They do not write fiction as good as this story. As Tom Watson said: “It would have been a heck of a story.
This morning I read William McKenzie’s piece in the Dallas Morning News: “Tom Watson Teaches Us About Life.”
McKenzie notes that Tom Watson taught us “Don’t give up. Ever. Watson showed: “If you keep after it, perfect your trade and follow your call, you can still have an impact.”
Mckenzie’s second point is “Life disappoints. Get used to it.” Watson was one putt away from history and then life intervened-he missed the putt. McKenzie says: “Try as we might, we can’t always get what we want, yet we figure out how to go on. It may take time, but we persevere, which is one of life’s grandest triumphs.” Wow, what a lesson for us.
Mckenzie’s third point is “Golf is about more than the ball and clubs.” He says: “More than most sports golf is about an individual battling himself and his surroundings.” He also states: “Nature teaches you humility in a personal way. There are no teammates to blame, no coaches to curse, no referees to hound. There’s just you against your mind and the elements. It takes a lot to beat both.”
So, what can you learn from Tom Watson? First, you are responsible for your career success and life fulfillment. You can’t blame your firm, your boss, the economy or colleagues. It’s really up to you. Second, along the way to success, you are going to stumble. I have stumbled many times in my career. You will stumble also. You will also be disappointed by events or by other lawyers or friends. The real measure of your success is not what you do when things are going well, but rather what you do when you are most disappointed. Will you persevere and look forward or be stuck in your disappointment? What you do in those moments will have the greatest impact on your career and life.