I don’t know how many of you watched The Masters golf tournament a few weeks ago. I watched it sporadically on each of the days — hoping, like many others, that Tiger Woods would win one for his dad on Sunday. He didn’t.
Tiger put on a hard charge at the end. He certainly didn’t embarrass himself. And I am certain he gave it everything he had. But on that day, he was not his best, or THE best.
THE best was Phil Mickelson. And I should begin by saying that I am not a Phil Mickelson fan. The early tag on Phil Mickelson was that “he was a choker.” It took him twelve years to win his first Masters title — actually, to win his first major title.
And every year, I would listen to announcers introduce Mickelson’s play by saying, “No one has ever come in second more than Phil Mickelson.” What I heard them say is that, “No one’s ever choked more than Phil Mickelson.” But finally, in 2004, he won the Masters. And then in 2005 he won the PGA Championship.
Sunday, and literally throughout the tournament, if you watched Phil Mickelson play, he looked like a champion. He had the look of “winner” — on his face, in his walk and in the self-confidence that he displayed — both making shots and scrambling.
The lesson here is that success doesn’t just breed success. Success breeds self-confidence. And success gives you that feeling, once you achieve it, that you could achieve it again, and again. Even if you falter along the way, once you’ve succeeded, you say to yourself, “I’ve been there. I know what it feels like. I can repeat it. I can do it again.”
What are the successes you’ve been trying for? How long have you been trying to reach them? How determined are you? How much are you studying and practicing to get there?
The success secret is: you have to visualize it, and feel it, and study it and do everything you can to experience it — before you can make it happen for yourself, and ultimately make it into a habit. It may take you 46 attempts to get your first big victory — but once you get it — you can get it again.
I wonder if any of you have the tenacity to lose 46 times, and still emerge victorious. That, after 10 or 12 years of wearing the banner of “loser,” you can emerge as a winner. A world champion.
What do you think Mickelson’s qualities were that finally got him that first big win after more than a decade of losing, or should I say a decade of trying?
Here are a few to ponder and measure yourself against:
1. He kept his eye on the prize.
2. His determination was unyielding.
3. He practiced every day.
4. He had a coach.
5. His self-belief kept him going.
5.5 And in the end, he proved he could win under pressure.
He didn’t just win a championship. He won what is considered by many, THE championship. I think if you ask any golfer which of the big four championships he would rather win, the Masters would come out of every mouth. Winning it once was proof to the world. Winning it twice, was proof to himself.
GitBit: If you’d like information on how to be more persistent, go to www.gitomer.com, register if you’re a first time user, and enter the word PERSISTENCE in the GitBit box.
Jeffrey Gitomer, author of “The Sales Bible,” and “Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless,” is president of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer. He gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or e-mail