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    Learn From Rory McIlroy’s Meltdown

    Mar 5, 2013
    By Mark Hopkins

    When Rory McIlroy walked off the golf course at the Honda Classic last week he was 7 over par after 8 holes and had just hit another ball into the water on 18.  And that was after missing the cut in his first tournament of the year and being eliminated in the first round of the second tournament.  The number one player in the world was struggling publicly.  And if that wasn’t stressful enough, he had just switched every club in his bag as part of an agreement with Nike that would pay him tens of millions of dollars.  And did I mention that he is 23 years old and didn’t have the luxury of a collegiate career to help get him ready for golf’s largest stage?

    To be scared is to be human.  To be overwhelmed is to be human.  To be able to do what the number one golfer in the world must do without being either scared or overwhelmed is superhuman.  And that’s why we are fascinated by people like Rory who seem to be neither.  But McIlroy’s actions at the Honda Classic show us he is not quite there yet.  Rory is a champion and probably a great guy, but he is incredibly young to have mastered the essence of Shortcut 6: Earn an “I Can Do Anything Attitude”.

    Shortcut 6:  Earn an “I Can Do Anything Attitude”

    Earning an “I Can Do Anything Attitude” means dozens of trips around the prosperity cycle—deciding to Do Something, working hard to make it happen, and harvesting the confidence required for another, bigger, cycle.  It also means investing Malcolm Gladwell’s recommended 10,000 hours to get down the learning curve in your chosen field.  And while Rory is certainly way down his sport’s learning curve, he hasn’t yet had much time enduring the kind of scrutiny reserved for guys named Tiger or Phil.

    That’s Where the Fun Is

    Scale back this experience to a more normal life experience and you can see this same dynamic in our own lives.  No, we don’t have cameras trained on us as we do our jobs, but, if we are pushing the limits of our own capabilities, we will occasionally feel the way that Rory felt last Friday—out of control and overwhelmed.  But I urge you to go there anyway because, as Manfred Mann said, “that’s where the fun is”.  Life is a lot more interesting and prosperous if you can convince yourself to make use of 100% of your abilities.

    You’ll know you have mastered the Shortcut when some unexpected and truly horrible business event happens within your area of responsibility and instead of panicking; you smile and say “something good is going to come out of this”.  Because something good often does happen when people are courageous enough to see that opportunities are frequently borne of events that force you off your intended track.

    Are you willing to pursue a path that is likely to push you past your comfort zone?

2 responses to “Learn From Rory McIlroy’s Meltdown”

  1. Mark Hopkins says:

    I couldn’t have said it better, Susan. Yes, if you want to do something amazing, something that you are pretty sure you could never do—you have to learn to be OK with uneasiness. In fact, the higher you aim, the more likely it is that uneasiness may not even begin to describe it. Your mentee being “scared to death” sounds about right.

    But having challenged yourself a few times, you do get used to it. And you also get used to the incredibly great feeling of achievement. Sounds like you are a great coach!

  2. Susan Silver says:

    Hello Mark, new reader. I came over from the interview that was featured on Jon Mertz’s blog “Thin Difference”.

    The lesson here is one that I have begun to understand. It is through multiple iterations that we learn and develop skills. Once things get easy, you know that it is time to move on…even if that next step seems difficult or overwhelming.

    You have to learn to rest in uneasiness and push through it with the confidence that you will get there.

    I have been coaching someone on WordPress development, coding for websites. She was scared to death when she started. Now I call her and she talks like she has been doing it forever.

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