Character Is Key To Sustaining Momentum

 

Dr. John C Maxwell

Character – The Key to Sustaining Momentum

By John C. Maxwell

 

Tiger Woods exploded onto the national stage in 1997, when, as a 21-year old, he won golf’s most prestigious event, the Masters. Not only did Tiger win the tournament, he shattered records along the way, making the world’s best golfers look like amateurs. Within a year of becoming a professional golfer, Tiger had attained the sport’s number one ranking.

Consistent Winning Produces Momentum

Early in 2001, Tiger captured his second Masters title to complete an unprecedented feat: winning all four of golf’s major championships consecutively. Golf’s popularity soared as its youthful star dominated event after event. People who had never before been interested in golf tuned in to see Tiger. Inspired by him, kids dragged their parents to the local golf course so that they could learn the game. Recreational golfers around the world patterned their swing after Tiger’s while practicing on the driving range.

Advertisers flocked to Tiger’s side to take advantage of his gathering momentum. He inked multi-million dollar deals to wear the Nike logo, hit Titlelist golf balls, and endorse everything from General Motors to American Express. Forbes described Tiger as “a marketer’s dream.” Virtually every product he pitched seemed to turn into gold. Thanks to his sizeable sponsorship deals, in September 2009, Fortune estimated that Tiger had become sports’ first billionaire athlete.

Character Defects Halt Momentum

Tiger-mania came crashing to a halt in December 2009 after Woods had a bizarre traffic accident in his driveway. The incident initiated a cascade of rumors about Tiger’s marital infidelity, which he later admitted. As news coverage intensified, more incriminating tidbits surfaced, and the scandal gained steam.

As this article is being written, a shamed Tiger remains in seclusion. By all accounts his marriage is in shambles. Accenture and AT&T have already cut ties with him, while other advertisers such as Gillette and Tag Heuer have distanced themselves from Tiger by pulling his ads. As for golf, Woods has taken an indefinite leave of absence, and it remains to be seen if he will recover his on-the-course greatness.

Lessons Learned from Tiger’s Tumble

1) Momentum can be a leader’s best friend or a leader’s worst enemy.

In his early days as a professional, Tiger Woods’ hard work and talent earned him a flood of victories. As the wins mounted, Tiger’s momentum took off. His confidence intimidated opponents, his personality attracted business deals, and every move he made seemed to draw the praise of an enraptured media.

Revelations of Tiger’s sordid behavior have generated a mountain of negative momentum, which will be difficult for him to overcome. The tide of public opinion is now squarely against him. Whereas people used to cheer Tiger on to success, many will now root for him to fail. The influence he once had has been dealt a serious blow, and it will be an uphill struggle for him to regain it.

2) Momentum can reverse direction in an instant.

Momentum can be a fickle friend, changing sides at any moment. One day Tiger was being coronated as the athlete of the decade by the Associated Press. Then, seemingly overnight, his name was being dragged through the mud on every conceivable news outlet.

3) Winning generates momentum, but character sustains it.

Tiger’s story is a cautionary tale about character. All of the momentum you build through decades of hard work and dedication can be erased if you do not craft the character to support it. Character is forged daily through the decisions we make. It comes from within and cannot be purchased. Be diligent about working on your character so that you become a person worth following and someone worthy of harnessing the momentum of success.

About

John C. Maxwell is an internationally respected leadership expert, speaker, and author who has sold more than 18 million books. Dr. Maxwell is the founder of EQUIP, a non-profit organization that has trained more than 5 million leaders in 126 countries worldwide. Each year he speaks to the leaders of diverse organizations, such as Fortune 500 companies, foreign governments, the National Football League, the United States Military Academy at West Point, and the United Nations. A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Business Week best-selling author, Maxwell has written three books that have sold more than a million copies: The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Developing the Leader Within You, and The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader. His blog can be read at www.JohnMaxwellOnLeadership.com.  

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This article is from Dr. John C Maxwell’s “Leadership Wired” newsletter. “This article is used by permission from Leadership Wired, GiANT Impact’s premiere leadership newsletter, available for free subscription at www.giantimpact.com.”

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4 Things In Common With Winning Teams

(L) Mariano Rivera & His teammates, 2009 World Series Champs (Photo by UPI.com)

Our John Maxwell gem today comes from his book, “Teamwork Makes The Dream Work”. In the book, Maxwell shares a story on teamwork in the most difficult of environments — during competition with each other: 

“A few years ago in Seattle, Washington, nine finalists were poised at the starting line of a 400 meter race, each planning to do his best and hoping to win the medal for first place. As the gun went off, the racers sprinted toward the finish line. But one of the runners fell down. He quickly got up and gave his all to catch up with the others. But once again, he fell. His frustration totally overcame him, and he burst into tears and began to sob loudly. Then a strange thing happened. The rest of the field heard his cries, and they turned to see that he was lying on the track. The runners began to slow down, and then one by one, they stopped, turned around, and went back to him. They picked him up, consoled him, and then together, all nine of them finished the race. In a race made for individual glory, the racers had made themselves into a team. Where in the world could something like this happen? At the Special Olympics. Perhaps that is why they are called “special”!

Maxwell, who spends all of his time working with teams, groups, companies and organizations on all levels, offered the following insights:

Look at hundreds of winning teams, and you will find that their players have four things in common:

  1.  They play to win: The difference between playing to win and playing not to lose is often the difference between success and mediocrity.
  2. They have a winning attitude: Team members believe in themselves, their teammates, and their dream. And they don’t allow negative thinking to derail them.
  3. They keep improving: The highest reward for their efforts isn’t what they get from it, but who they become because of it. Team members know intuitively that if they’re through improving, they’re through.
  4. They make their teammates more successful: Winners are empowers. As Charlie Brower says, ‘Few people are successful unless a lot of other people want them to be.”

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For more from John C. Maxell visit: http://johnmaxwell.com

Special thanks to Coach Bob Starkey who originally posted this: http://hoopthoughts.blogspot.com