Appreciating Tiger Woods's Amazing Comeback and How To Model His Competitive Intensity (Breather Episode With Brad)

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Today’s episode is all about the legendary Tiger Woods and his incredible comeback. Most of the world is well aware of the scandals and very public downfall that affected Tiger’s life and career. What I am focusing on today is how he handled himself after his public scandal. He has had the greatest comeback in the history of sports – but how? How did Tiger manage to achieve such a feat? I cite Jeff Benedict’s Tiger Woods book – the first comprehensive, in-depth book on the athlete’s life. The book traces and highlights the influences and experiences that shaped him, notably his father, Earl Woods. He was instrumental in crafting Tiger’s public persona, as well as the driving force behind his son’s initial ambition.

How many “Helicopter Parents” have you encountered over the years? We all know parents like this – they are singularly focused on how to make their child a success. Unfortunately, the person who suffers most from this pressure is the child. Years ago, a friend of mine, an Olympic athlete who knows Tiger, shared an insight with me that I’ve never forgotten. He remarked, “Tiger rose to the highest competitive plane than any human has ever risen to. No one compares to what he has done.” Putting the circumstances of his daily life into context is crucial to understand both his public and private persona - the global level of his celebrity, the attention and scrutiny that accompanies worldwide fame, not to mention the money.... How else could he deal with it? He was driven, by necessity, to foster this extreme, obsessive personality and become absolutely insatiable for achievement and conquest.

I draw parallels between Tiger and Michael Milken – remember him, the “junk bond” King of the 80s? He too was going and going and going, until he finally went off the rails. Like Tiger, he spiraled, and he couldn’t turn it off.

I wrote a book, How Tiger Does It, many years ago, in which I detail the three factors that have made him such a successful athlete. 1) Focus. 2) Work-Play Ethic. And 3) A Balanced Approach (or so I thought at the time). The book is all about how to banish self-limiting beliefs through hard work, believing in yourself, and focusing on your peak performance goals. Under the first topic, “Focus,” I talk about the importance of feeling absolute freedom from fear of failure or insecurity. I highlight how intense Tiger’s focus was, how he was working on his swing – even when he was already at the top – his only competition was himself, his only goal – to get better for himself.

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