Saturday, July 11, 2009

Lance Armstrong - Inspiring Us Again - Lessons from the GREATEST

When you're great, you're great. Some people excel at certain things. In sports, I like to study the greats in matches that require individual greatness, such as tennis, golf, bicycling, skiing, etc. And, often, the greats perform at their best in the most difficult of circumstances, such as major tournaments.

For example, of his 14 major championship tennis court victories, Pete Sampras won Wimbledon 7 times.

I recall watching Pete Sampras defeat his nemesis, Andre Agassi in the last of his major victories, in 2002. Andre is another great I loved watching. Today, Roger Federer is the man to beat, who is also racking up the victories.

Can you think of people in your field of interest who are great? What made them great?

Continuing with my sports greats, how about Tiger Woods?

Tiger, currently age 33, achieved more victories in less time than any other golfer in history. The previous great was Jack Nicklaus, some thirty years ago. Then, along came a Tiger who changed the history of golf. Being a multi-racial golfer is something I recall that stirred up the pot when Fuzzy Zoeller made some comment about telling Tiger not to order "fried chicken" or "collards and greens or whatever" at the Master's ceremonial dinner - the racism was ridiculous (although it was argued that Fuzzy was a jokester just trying to be funny). Tiger rose above it and won the tournament by something like 18 strokes. He is noted as the first African-American descendant to win the Masters. Yet, here's this amazingly talented golfer just cleaning up the field, time and time again. Clearly, race had nothing to do with it.

It's about vision, training, goals, coaching, and performance. In all of these things, Tiger prevails again and again. He sets his vision upon being the greatest ever. He trained in unique ways, and developed an incredibly powerful swing, chipping, and putting style that could dig out of holes that would bury most good golfers. I've seen him make shots that simply defy the eyes. Then, he double-pumps his arm in a victorious celebration indicative of his winning intensity.

Since his record-breaking win in the 1997 Masters Tournament, Tiger went on to become the youngest player in history to win the Grand Slam (considered the golfing world's most difficult tournaments). Currently, Tiger is ranked third for career victories, behind the other great golfers, Sam Snead and Jack Nicklaus.

1Career Wins on the PGA Tour

Sam Snead - 82
Jack Nicklaus - 73
*Tiger Woods - 68
Ben Hogan - 64
Arnold Palmer - 62

From the players playing, Tiger Woods is at such a fast pace it is easy to see how at his age he is likely to become the greatest PGA Tour golfer of all-time. Jack Nicklaus, the player who Tiger most sought to emulate and surpass, is now only 5 wins ahead of him for career victories. According to Wikipedia as of the date of this publishing, Tiger Woods is currently ranked #1 in the World and achieved more earnings at $110 Million this past year. But from among his tour championships, he is ranked #2 in MAJOR tournaments, which receive the bulk of attention on the PGA Tour. He is only four victories behind Jack Nicklaus for most Major victories, career.

Some people are just great.

Saying that, I turn my attention to Lance Armstrong, who once again is making headlines by pushing the field at the Tour De France and creating a likely scenario where he will capture the yellow jersey in this famous bicycling race, yet once again. Coming out of retirement, he now is on pace to not only amaze us having won his seventh Tour (having survived cancer), now four years later he is back doing it again!

Kudos to Lance Armstrong!!! I am pleased to say I saw this one coming:

If you want to be great at something, study those who are great. Find out what they did to become great. Did they practice a certain way? How did they study or train? What did they do to create a unique "winner" mindset? Did they hire a coach? What type of coaches did they use? Can you break down the elements of their greatness and incorporate those elements into your own "game"? These are all questions that start you on the path to your own greatness.

I can guarantee you that a great general studies other great generals. In addition, great leaders study other great leaders.

What makes Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and other leaders able to achieve the success they do?

For example, Warren Buffett is known for making very good investment choices on Wall Street.

This makes Warren's advice highly valuable, because anyone who can pick winners is likely to help you make more money, right? According to the CBS News, investment firms paid $2.1 Million and $1.68 Million in an eBay auction each of the past two years for the rights to have lunch with Warren Buffett.

Last year, Pureheart China Investment fund won the bidding, this year Salida Capital came in with $1.68 Million to win the lunch.

Can you imagine, someone paying $2 Million dollars to have LUNCH with YOU? WOW. Amazing, wouldn't you say? That's how valuable an experience like that can be, if you're at that level.

What can you imagine to accomplish, as an aspiration, for your own life? Winning a trophy? Accomplishing a rare achievement? What can you do to rise above the pack with your unique gifts, dreams, and capabilities?

Set a goal. Study the greats. Hire a coach. Then do the hard work to become great. And, don't be shocked when you surprise everyone else around you when you become the one who future greats study to learn how to be great in the next generation. Be the very best you can, with what you've got, and you just might do something truly stellar. We all have the capability within us to accomplish great things. I encourage you to develop, research, and take action to be your own great self!

Photos courtesy of Wikipedia and used through the Creative Commons license for this article. Copyright © 2009 AspireNow. All rights reserved. Want more? Subscribe to the A-Blog.

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