Are you a master of what you do?

BY luck of the draw, my seatmate on a flight back to Charlotte was Zach Johnson. You may have only recently heard of him. He just won the Masters golf tournament. A nice, friendly, family man, and (oh yeah) he just won the most prestigious golf tournament in the world. He beat the master (Tiger Woods) to become the master. We began to talk golf. And I began to take notes. When a champion begins to espouse feelings and philosophies, I become the master – the master student. Here’s what I learned about the master golfer and his approach to the game. • He doesn’t get upset at a bad shot or a bad round. • He plays consistently as a golfer and a golf strategist. • He stays in the hunt and is always there to make a run at winning. • He doesn’t get nervous at the end of a round. (One of the first questions I asked Zach was whether he was nervous on the 18th at Augusta. “No,” he said. “I just played to win. And played my best.” • He plays for fun. (He loves the game, the competition, the thrill of winning, and the youthful exuberance of just “being there”.) • He plays to win. (Every time Zach Johnson goes out on the course, he believes he’ll win the round, and win the tournament.) “It’s a job – a fun job. But it’s a job.” Zach smiled broadly. “It’s my number four priority. Family. Faith. Family. And then fairways.” Cool. Zach graduated in 1998 from Drake University in Des Moines. Yikes…1998! I have underwear older than he is. How does such a young man get so high on the success ladder in so short a time? According to the statements I collected in our hour-long conversation…he was blessed with skills, started playing young (age 10), practiced every day, played competitively starting at age 11, and has a coach – actually several coaches and teachers – one for each vital area of his game. Yes, one of the top golf professionals in the world has coaches and teachers. Do you? “You have to have a system, a family of coaches, and an inner circle of people who are masters of their game,” he told me. Zach refers to his coaches and his family as “the invisible team”. “When you see me on the golf course, I appear to be alone. But you have to understand I got there with the help of 100 other people. From corporate sponsors and family members to coaches and investors to agents and mentors. All of them are there with me, but no one sees them as I play,” he said. “My primary coach is a great golf teacher named Mike Bender.” “What makes him great?” I wanted to know. “He doesn’t drive me nuts with angles and percentages. He tells me what to do, and I do it,” Zach said in a matter-of-fact manner. “He’s now one of my best friends.” Keep this in mind as you struggle to be a master. Zach Johnson was not number one on his high school golf team, and he was not number one on his college golf team. But he knew he had talent, he knew he had skill, and he loved the game. “After college, I wanted to see how far I could get as a golf professional, and I didn’t want any regrets, so I went for it,” he said. He realised he had the talent and the drive, the itch to play, and the desire to win. And Zach took advantage of the opportunity. Big time. “I’m driven to compete. I compete at anything from backyard basketball to pinball. I’m a natural competitor. And I compete to win at anything I do – it’s not just golf. If I’m playing cards against my grandma, I wanna win.” Besides his system, Zach Johnson has a philosophy. He believes that it’s a combination of hard work and the bounce of the ball, the right people and the right approach to the game. “You must have a combination of the itch (the desire) to play, the deep want to excel and win, the drive (pun intended), and the love of the game. That’s the personal piece,” he said. “If you can get others to believe in you as much as you believe in yourself, you can become a master. And not just in golf or business or sales – a master in life.” The Zach Johnson qualities I saw were a great attitude, a constant smile, a ‘real person’ with humility, and a man who loves his family. He’s is not just a golf champion, he’s not just a master. Zach Johnson is a winner. Are you a golfer? Play business golf? I have developed rules of success on the golf course. Make the birdie, and make the sale. Go to, register if you’re a first time user, and enter the word GOLF in the GitBit box. By Jeffrey Gitomer.

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