Mastery From the Beginning

From the beginning he led. Four rounds of the most competitive golf and Jordan Spieth remained in the lead at the end of each, the first wire-to-wire Masters win since Raymond Floyd’s in 1976. He won not by a little but by a lot, tying Tiger Woods’ 1997 score record at 18-under, setting a record for the most birdies during the Masters by making 28, and became the second-youngest person to win the Masters. What a talented young man!

Talent – it is not overrated but can be underutilized, although certainly not in Jordan’s case at the 2015 Masters Golf Tournament. What do we mean when we refer to talent?

  1. A special natural ability or aptitude
  2. A capacity for achievement or success

What we saw at The Masters, and for any outstanding performance, is the combination of the two ignited by a passion. We all have inborn abilities that allow us to do certain things more easily than others. Yet that ability is not enough to take us to the Masters. It must be combined with the capacity for achievement or success and further fueled by purpose – the “why” behind what we do.

The players at the Masters were not born “golfers” just as we were not born “accountants”, “department managers”, “business developers” or “doctors”. Instead we discovered an interest, perhaps triggered by an ability to naturally swing through or an aptitude with numbers. This interest led us to learn more, to enjoy it enough to be willing to dedicate the time, energy and resources to improve. We combined the ability with capacity and became good at what we do.

Mastery however is the ongoing journey, fueled by purpose. To practice endlessly and tirelessly, looking for nuances, experimenting and failing, discovering a better process, plateauing, continuing to study, sliding backwards, tweaking here and there until a new level is reached and doing this again, and again and again. Tiger Woods gives us a good example of the range of mastery.

You are talented, you are good, yet are you on the road to Mastery?

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