Why watching the Masters helped me reflect on my 8-year old self’s dream

Like many of you, I watched Tiger Woods win the 2019 Masters tournament and was excited to see him win. Being a big golfer myself growing up, I tuned in each week to watch him play and was in awe with how often he would win. He was the best in every facet of the game and was easy to look up to from a strictly on-the-course production standpoint. It was hard to believe that his last major, 11 years ago, was when I was just 16 years old. I remember that day like it was yesterday, him beating Rocco Mediate on an 18 hole playoff on Monday to win the U.S. Open and his 14th major. I, like many others watching yesterday, went down memory lane as I watched him navigate the tricky contours of Augusta National. As I watched, I reflected back on how much I’ve grown and changed in the last 11 years and came up with a few conclusions from the round that relate to business.

  1. Intrinsic motivation powers all – As much as it must have felt amazing to have his family and mother in person and to have the crowd chant his name after he walked off the 18th green, this win was for him. It was to once and for all prove to himself that he could do it, that he could be the dominant golfer standing on top at a major tournament on Sunday. He has all the money in the world and is more hermit than influencer off the course so it would’ve been easy to pack it up and try to live a normal life away from the course. No one made him wake up each morning to do the rehab for his four back surgeries just like no one makes you get out of bed early and put in the extra work to get where you want to be. Sure, your friends and family might be great encouragement but at the end of the day, it is you, and only you, who can use the intrinsic drive inside to push you forward. It took him 11 years to get back on top and each day this incomplete feeling he couldn’t get rid of pushed him to keep going. What intrinsic motivation can you draw on during tough times to get you through?
  2. Make your younger self proud – When we are kids, we are encouraged to use our imaginations to have the wildest dreams possible because, at that time, they are all achievable. The classic, “What do you want to be when you grow up” question or the “You can do whatever you want to do” encouragement from your parents. As life goes on, we tend to lose sight of these “childish” aspirations and I believe we should still chase them. It is why Tiger worked so hard to come back. It wasn’t because he needed to prove the naysayers wrong. Instead, it was because he needed to prove his three-year-old self right after he famously told the world he was going to beat Jack Nicklaus’ record on his first TV appearance as a toddler. It is the same reason I made it a priority to swim with Great White sharks in South Africa. My eight-year-old self saw a documentary on Great Whites and I told myself that I would swim with them one day no matter what it took. Like Tiger, I never gave up on making my younger self proud and as he can probably attest to, the joy I got from making my eight-year-old self proud was much greater than any “adult” goal I have achieved. What’s something you wanted to do or see as I kid that you could make a priority to achieve?

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