I've come to believe that while there are very complex challenges in my life, complex solutions don't work. And if you've ever golfed, you know it's a complex game. The great ideas (and lives) I've studied apply simple, if difficult to execute, principles to complex issues.
Our wonderful administrator, Kelly Sposito, in her annual review last month said something that made me laugh.
She said, "Before working for Free Hand Foundation, I'd have never dreamed being of service could be this difficult".
She is right. It seems every bit as rough and often more difficult, than it was to bootstrap and sell a successful business, which took 19 years.
In the case of our social enterprise, The Business of Good, it also seems there is no "end". We just hope to make some impact on some chronic global problems through these works.
Last summer, Riverside Company, the parent of our former enterprise, invited me to a conference. There, I signed up for a seminar with Hank Haney, Tiger Wood's coach.
There was a lot to learn from Hank that applies to business, the business of good and to our lives in general.
The most meaningful lesson was the three things he thinks are Tiger Wood's "secrets" to success:
- Tiger is convinced he only has one competitor - Tiger Woods
- He believes he only has one goal - to improve
- He knows that nothing comes easy
Haney's analysis of Tiger's success seems simple but I've come to believe that while there are very complex challenges in my life, complex solutions don't work. And if you've ever golfed, you know it's a complex game.
The great ideas (and lives) I've studied apply simple, if difficult to execute, principles to complex issues.
What's more complex than the business of good?
Over time, we intend to study and find (and/or develop) ways to address the most complex problems we face as a society - poverty, disease and violence among them.
My long-term "goal" might be even more daunting than Tiger becoming history's greatest golfer.
But I like, and hope to apply, his three secrets to my work.
Haney reminded me that my competition is not other foundations or even the groaning breadth of the issues I hope to address. My competition is me.
My competitor, more specifically, is despair, which would cause me to give up when I get overwhelmed which, given the breadth and depth of the issues I study is often. And so I'll follow Tiger's secret #1 - Work on my work, no one else's.
My goal? Of course it's not really to "change the world" in any global sense. It's far more like Gandhi's great comment; I just want to "be the change I wish to see".
And so Tiger secret #2 arises: At the end of each day, each month and each year, I review if I've improved over the previous day, month and year. Am I more giving, more peaceful than I was? What actions show evidence to support that?
And finally, I strive to realize that none of these improvements will come easy. In fact, most days require repetitive, detail-oriented slogging through the barriers to social progress.
Haney described a day in Tiger's life. There are no TV cameras, no crowds. He works out three times for an hour each time. He hits about 1,000 balls, putts hundreds of times and has Haney create difficult shot circumstances. All the while, they discuss what mistakes he's making and how they might improve.
Doesn't sound very exciting....but it does sound like a "secret" to success.