This week, a 27-year-old golf professional shocked critics and commentators on Sunday when he won his first major tournament, the 2020 U.S. Open. Alongside his win, Bryson DeChambeau made headlines because he bulked up by 40 pounds in the off-season, drinks at least five protein shakes a day, and hits the ball a mile.
He'll have a huge impact on the game and how young golfers prepare their bodies, but DeChambeau has one trait that isn't as easy to replicate as his diet and workouts--one that entrepreneurs everywhere can learn from to better succeed in growing their businesses. Hard work.
Champions Put In the Work When Nobody's Looking
When a person hoists a trophy in the air, or gives the presentation of a lifetime, or marks a record number of sales for a quarter, something other than natural skill is happening behind the scenes. They're working harder than everyone else.
For example, few people know that on the night before the final round of the U.S. Open, after the sun set at 6:45 p.m. at Winged Foot, DeChambeau brought a portable light to the driving range and stayed until 8 that night to work on a part of his game. He figured out the problem and went on to win Sunday by six strokes (a canyon-size victory in a major golf tournament).
It's what you don't see behind the scenes that turns a good performer into a great one.
In nearly every coaching session I hold with senior executives who want to improve their public-speaking skills, I reference Steve Jobs.
"I'll never be that good," executives often say to me.
They're surprised when I tell them that Steve Jobs wasn't that good, either, until he worked really hard at sharpening his skill. Steve Jobs made it look easy because he put in the work when nobody was looking.
In the weeks ahead of a product launch, Jobs went through a series of rehearsals that went far beyond the practice most people put in before a presentation.
For hours on end, he would deliver the presentation out loud, tweaking lines and paragraphs. Jobs would schedule dress rehearsals with a small audience and keep them in their seats for hours as he meticulously practiced every slide and every demo. He'd ask for feedback, and then do it again.
Almost any skill that looks easy takes an extraordinary amount of work.
And that's why it helps to have a passion for your job or your topic. I can teach anyone how to deliver a better presentation, but if they don't have the passion for it, they won't put in the rehearsal time necessary to achieve greatness.
DeChambeau has passion. In a press conference after he won the tournament, DeChambeau was focused on his next mission--hitting the ball even farther. He said that each and every day, he tries to make this day better than the previous one.
Don't make the mistake of thinking people are born with great skills or that high performance comes easy to them. Put in the work and you'll stand out.