If you know me at all, you know I am a huge sports fan. My favorite teams are the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Dodgers, USC Trojans, and Tiger Woods (okay, not a “team”, per se, but still my favorite golfer.)
My loyalty to the Lakers started when Magic Johnson came on the scene in 1979, and I have been a Dodger fan ever since I first heard Vin Scully call a game, probably in about 1969, or so.
USC seemingly played in every Rose Bowl as I was growing up, and I attended SC back in the 1980’s, and worked there from 2007 – 2011.
The way Tiger Woods has dominated the game of golf, and how he has raised the overall level of competition on the PGA tour, and his passion for raising money for kids (all his personal problems of late aside), he is a great example of how one person can make a difference. “The rising tide raises all boats” is the perfect quote to describe what Tiger has done for the game of golf. Not just the money earned on the Tour, but also every company involved with the game, has benefitted from Tiger’s success.
I am a fan of the teamwork, camaraderie, lessons learned, adversity, and perseverance that sports teaches us, and I see much more than the score, the box score, or the highlights when I see a sporting event. I see the work, dedication, early morning workouts, fathers playing catch with their kids, golfers pounding thousands of shots on the driving range, the hours of time in the gym, etc, when I see a great success on the playing field, court, or golf course.
These are lessons that we can all can emulate in our own lives. To be truly successful in life, we must practice, work hard, and be smart. As my former golf instructor used to always say to me, when I was a young teen hitting shot after shot into a net in his golf studio, “Perfect practice makes perfect!”
As we work on improving anything in our daily lives, whether it is breaking a bad habit, creating a new good habit, improving the way we do something, becoming a better parent, spouse, employee, etc., “perfect practice makes perfect.”
One way to “practice” is to emulate the performance and patterns of others. Finding mentors (as I have written about before) who can teach us through their actions, words, and results, is a great way to improve the way we “practice”.
The next time you watch a great game, event, or athletic accomplishment, think of the countless hours of practice that that individual or team put into accomplishing that great feat! “The man at the top of the mountain did not fall there…he had to climb to get there.”
If you want success in any aspect of your life, it is going to take hard work, perseverance, patience, diligence, and “perfect practice.”
As we approach Christmas, and a new year, may we all look at the greatest examples in our own lives, as we strive to improve in whatever areas are the most important to each of us.
I encourage each of us to find one person who is a great example of something we are striving to improve, and simply observe and learn about that person. Ask him or her questions; read about him; invite her to lunch; etc. The best way to develop a talent is to find someone who has that talent, and then strive to emulate their actions.
This life is a time to prepare, to improve, to grow, to develop ourselves, and to be better tomorrow than we were yesterday.
Merry Christmas, and a Happy, Prosperous 2012!!