Forget big victories, small wins drive success!
(Part 2 of 2) The relationship of control, confidence, and winning.
To read Part 1 of this story, “The secret is in the dirt” Click Here
Roberto “Bobby Diaz” woke up this morning with the same feeling and mentality as I did, and as did many others: “Don’t buckle to the voice that is telling you that you can’t accomplish your goal.” When we wake up every morning having to tell ourselves that, it can get tiring. That voice never goes away. It is embedded in our DNA as part of the “flight” mechanism that exists in all living beings on this planet.
There are times that voice gets very loud and equally there are times where it has been tamed and reduced to an afterthought through the achievement of a milestone or victory. Naturally, that would mean the fewer the victories that we personally have regarding ourselves, the louder that voice can get. And if that is the case, then would it not also be true that the harder we make our goals for victory, the more we allow that voice to have a presence in our psyche? So why do we give ourselves such lofty goals and expectations if they open the door to destructive doubt and negative personal perception?
When Bobby and I talked last week, I was not expecting his personal response to what seemed to be such a blow to ego, personal expectations, and the payoff of hard work and commitment. It was a refreshing message of hope through some realignment of thought. Much was discussed, but I took away two dynamic messages that can help any of us that are trying to live a purpose driven life:
The relationship between control and confidence.
Understanding what a win is and where they exist.
Bobby’s path to professional golf has never been an easy one. First, he had to make the ultimate decision to leave his family, friends, and his native country Mexico. He came to the US for continued development and that got him onto the golf team at the University of South Carolina at Aiken.
This period of time in his life also dealt him his biggest obstacle to overcome. In the transition year to college, his mother passed away back home in Mexico. She was his cheerleader, supporter, and reinforcer. The loss was particularly difficult because he wasn’t there with her, but rather thousands of miles away. He described his life and mental state the 6 months after her passing as “numb.” He fought off the sadness by spending every waking moment on the golf course. As a result, his game elevated to an incredibly competitive level.
Reality eventually set in and Diaz’s focus swung the other direction and his game worsened. He found comfort in the “social assets” that the college experience can provide a college kid, especially someone that may need to escape from a pain in their life. All in all, he was able to keep his game together together and stay competitive through his college career.
After graduating, he did not immediately attempt Q-School because he did not have the funds to navigate that process. He began with the mini-tours and a stint with the Latin America Tour. In 2013, he finally began the Q-School process and obtained conditional status in 2014. He broke out on the Web.com (Korn Ferry) Tour in 2017-2018. He was a frequent top 10 finisher and by the next season, Diaz finally achieved his dream of joining the PGA TOUR. This was his path to the doorstep of the 2020-2021 season.
It’s a remarkable trek of courage and being driven to achieve your purpose. It may also be why the last two seasons would seem to be so painful. All of that hard work, sacrifice, and coping with the loss of his mom would have to payoff in a fair world, right?
Thankfully that is not how Bobby sees it. And I pressed him early in our discussion about how his confidence has held up with these past two season’s results.
According to Diaz, he does not see confidence the way others do. Confidence to him is more about another word: control. Explained Bobby, “Confidence is not something you go and obtain, you build it. It is not easy to obtain confidence. The main thing you have to first focus on is control. If you have control, you will obtain confidence.”
Roberto went on to say, “Tiger did not become the best player in the world just because of him having a lot of confidence. He had confidence because he had a lot of control.”
A month ago, Bobby started to feel control in his game again after the nine month period of reengineering his golf swing. And with that he was able to see an increase in his confidence.
Listen to Bobby Diaz talk about control and confidence
I decided to talk to Dr. Andy Garrett, founder of AG Thrive, and explained to him Bobby’s perception. Dr. Garrett, not only verified this correct translation of control to confidence, he went on to explain that confidence is an emotion. He prefers to talk about “certainty.” Confidence is derived from one’s ability to produce certainty. Certainty is produced through control.
When I consider these two individual’s perceptions, it becomes easy to see with this journey I started at the beginning of the year that the confident times were when I was in a state of control, and the times of doubt were when I was in a place of exploration, ideation and uncertainty. It is that black and white when I look back on the past eight months. As a result, as soon as I had these two conversations, I reflected on where I am with the book and my charity and asked myself, “At present, are you in control?” I realized that I have certainly been through a stretch this year where I did not have control. I can directly relate that to my confidence of the process and truly transitioning my life to one driven by purpose.
But, I also realized a month ago, things changed. It parallels what Bobby Diaz is experiencing. I reengineered my career and life perspective at the beginning of the year. But like completely restructuring a golf swing, the changes and ability to operate with efficiency and control was going to be a process.
In the past month, I began taking deliberate steps to gain control of the process and the projects associated. Like Bobby and many others, I absolutely have lofty expectations and goals. And if I look at those as the make-or-break of determining success, my confidence and certainty is challenged by the thought of the daunting path ahead to achieve.
This is where it gets interesting. We all know that we can’t control the past and we can’t control the future. Control is very much managed in the present. So, how can we achieve a lofty goal if the BIG WIN is down the road? Unintentionally, and unrelated to the conversation of control, Diaz provided this answer as well.
Understanding what a “win” is and where they exist
Bobby did not win a tournament this year. He actually battled just to make cuts. He missed the playoffs by just two spots and just a few points. Yet, as he pointed out, the final two tournaments of the year were not let downs or coming up short, they were massive wins for him. Why?
To start making this point, the first thing that he pointed out is the unfortunate truth of the sport itself. The most competitive golfers in the world, aside from the great ones, win just 3% of the tournaments they play at the professional level. And that’s the really good players.
Bobby explained that every golfer understands that a win is only defined by that individual. Top 10’s are wins. Making the cut is a win. Rebounding after a poor round the day prior is a win. Saving par from a difficult situation on the course is a win.
Bobby explained with such certainty, “You have to recognize what a win each day can be. Going to the range when you aren’t motivated is a win. Sticking to a life plan of rest and work is a win. Life balance for the day that involves both work and family is a win. We need to recognize and celebrate all of those wins. And to me, a successful golf career is simply a collection of all of those small wins.”
And with that, Bobby Diaz validated an early position that I took in writing a book that will be called “PurposeFULL Success.” It is as simple as this: “Define your purpose, redefine success.”
Anyone that is fighting against their own expectations with their life today, take a pause. Think about where you can take control. Let the control find certainty for you. Don’t ever lose sight of what you are out to accomplish, but for your own sake and for the sake of continuing forward, define those small wins. They are there, we just sometimes forget to acknowledge them when they happen.
What were your wins this week? Are you able to take pride in those wins and have them enable you to realize that you may actually be more in control than you think? I can. That is for certain. Thank you, Bobby.