July is a great month for us sports fans, especially this year. Baseball is in full swing, the Open Championship and the Senior Open Championship in golf are played and of course the Summer Olympics are in London. I am a true fan of Championship Sport; watching a competition that in a moment brings together preparation and performance in a powerful way.
At the beginning of the month I tuned in to watch the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. This is one of my favorite events on the Champions Tour schedule. 81 junior golfers from various First Tee programs are paired with a Champions Tour player. In addition to seeing great golf from both the juniors and Pros, I enjoyed the on course interviews. Junior golfers shared which of the First Tee Core Value stood out as really impacting their game. This year a number of the golfers spoke about the value of Perseverance. I found this interesting and as I watched other sporting events this past month I found myself giving perseverance more thought.
Perseverance - noun - steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. Synonyms - doggedness, steadfastness, persistence, tenacity. Perseverance is regularly used in a favorable sense. "Endurance and perseverance combined to win in the end".
How does perseverance play a factor in creating champions and leaders?
The Pro that won the 2012 Nature Valley First Tee Open was Kirk Triplett. This was his first win on the Champions Tour. Triplett had a good PGA Tour career but his last win on the PGA Tour was in 2006. He spent 2011 on the Nationwide, now Web.com tour, winning once and becoming the oldest winner on that tour before joining the Champions Tour this year. Is this a story of Endurance and Perseverance?!
Look at the career of the 2012 Open Championship; golfer Ernie Els. Ernie Els began playing golf at age 9, seriously at age 14 and began his professional career in 1989. He has had tremendous success and then in 2011 had no wins and 5 missed cuts. In 2012 he had 2 missed cuts before his Open win. In his post Championship interview he spoke about playing a consistent steady game and believing in himself enough to trust the changes he was making. He also referenced and thanked Nelson Mandela as his inspiration. I think Ernie Els understands the value of perseverance.
I could probably come up with 100 more examples in golf or other sporting events to make a point. But this is not a sports blog and so let me bring this back in. At the time the junior golfers were interviewed, Triplett and Els had not yet had their 2012 wins. Curious, I looked to see what was having these emerging champions focus on the value of perseverance. I may have found the answer on the PGA Tour website. Check out this video of Jake Olsen, a blind golfer, speaking on the value of perseverance.
"Overcoming Challenges while sinking putts"
We can find inspiration all around us. I find it in the stories of sport, others in music or literature. Sometimes inspiration comes watching and supporting a colleague or friend as they stay the course, persevering during a challenging time in their life.
How might perseverance support the pursuit your goals in life?
My take away thoughts on perseverance are these;
- As you work towards your goals take both a short and long term view of your accomplishments. It may be "one shot at a time" and yet it is many rounds that let you know if you are on par.
- When given an obstacle use it as an opportunity to be creative, use a new skill and enhance your current capabilities.
- Be persistent and at the same time willing to make adjustment along the way.
- When discouraged find inspiration in the stories and support of others.
- Keep Playing!!! Bring your passion and your talent forward and play your own best game.