We’re a week removed from Rory McIlroy’s domination of the United States Open Championship and the golf world is still catching its breathe. In case you’ve been living under a rock, here is a brief recap of Rory’s record-breaking performance:
- 72-hole record (268 strokes)
- 54-hole record (199 strokes)
- 36-hole record (131 strokes)
- most under par in the US Open history (-17)
- quickest to reach 10 under par in a US Open (26 holes)
McIlroy is the 2nd youngest person to win a major championship in the past 100 years. Tiger Woods was younger at the time of his 1997 Master’s win.
In summary, the kid put on a performance for the ages. Jack and Tiger even released statements praising the young man. Some pros went as far as to predicting that Rory will someday break Jack’s record of 18 major championship titles. (a bit premature, in my opinion, but feel free to comment)
In reading articles over the past week and hearing some interviews from Rory, I think there are several things your Alpha can learn from his approach. Read on!
1) Focus on the process.
McIlroy repeatedly mentioned throughout the week that he was focusing on the process, not the result. He knew that if he focused on the process that the results would take care of themselves.
Translation: Alphas set big goals for themselves. A common example would be “we want to get a 20 man pledge class this year.” Oh, really? Fantastic! How are you going to do that? Meet a bunch of guys and show ’em a good time.
The process here is much more complex. There is a critical timeline that you must comprehend and follow. To get that 20 man pledge class we need to have 40 men come to formal recruitment. If we’re going to get 40 men to come to formal recruitment then we need to have 100 personal interactions in the weeks leading up. If we’re going to have 100 personal interactions then we need to call, email, facebook, etc 250 men. You see? There is a process that leads up to your ultimate goal. FOCUS ON THE PROCESS and the results will take care of themselves.
2) Learn from past shortcomings.
Rory held the lead on Sunday at the Masters before struggling down the second nine. He learned from his past failure. ‘I have no problem with it at all. I hit a few bad shots. And if you play golf, then you’ll understand that.’ He grew from his August experience and became better for it.
Translation: Many intelligent men have come before you. They worked hard for 3+ years to build up the Alpha’s events, cultivate relationships, fix up the Lodge, and improve the Alpha’s reputation.
Then, they graduated. Poof! Their organizational knowledge disappeared and a new generation of men reinvented the wheel. How do we prevent this from happening? How do we learn from our past so that we don’t bang our collective heads against the wall in futile attempts to fix up the Lodge, cultivate relationships, and improve the Alpha’s reputation? The only way we can improve over the long run is to continually raise the floor– creating systems to ensure that we don’t backtrack any further than necessary, given the lessons learned by our forefathers.
3) Stay aggressive
“I was trying to go out and trying to make no mistakes, and really not give anyone a chance to catch me.” The kid had a huge lead going into Sunday, but he wanted to crush his competition. He had his opponents down, and he wanted to go for the throat, to finish the job, to leave no room for doubt. And he did exactly that.
Translation: So many times I hear about Alphas getting close to their goals but falling just short. We thought everything was in place, but at the last minute the sorority backed out… Our grades were great in the fall semester, but we all thought we were on a good path and didn’t work as hard in the spring… We thought we had 10 guys locked in for recruitment, but four of them flaked out at the last minute.
To accomplish goals it is critical that you stay focused, create deadlines, and hold each other accountable. A ‘finisher’ mentality is something that some Alphas have and other Alphas must work to develop. Success breeds success. If you haven’t had much lately, start taking baby steps and celebrate your victories.
4) Enjoy the moment
The commentators and columnists praised Rory McIlroy endlessly for his rythmic swing, his smooth putting stroke, and for his savvy decision making. The only thing they praised more for was his attitude on the course. Under the spotlight of the US Open Rory had fun, engaged with the crowd, and had bounce in his step. He knew that this was a special time, and he soaked it in.
Translation: A college campus is an amazing place. Your best friends in the world are within a 10 minute walk. Girls are plentiful, young, and beautiful. Live athletics unify the campus several times per week. The university constantly provides a world-class offering of influential speakers, live theater, and study-abroad opportunities. College is an incredible four, or five, years.
As much as you want to change the world in that time (and I encourage you to do so) please remember to enjoy yourself, smile, have some fun, and soak it all in. You’ll miss it all soon enough.