In our over-opinionated world, TV pundits said for years Tiger Woods would never win again, let alone don another Green Jacket. He’s too old, they’d say. He’s too broken down. His personal life is a mess.
It wasn’t just the pundits. Most of the world seemed to say the same thing; even Tiger himself at some points believed it. Yet, somehow at the 2019 Masters, he overcame it all. He overcame all the doubt, all the hate, all the comments to become The Master’s Champion once again.
He was down, but never out. What makes this comeback story even better is the fact Tiger could have walked away whenever he wanted and still finished his career as one of the best golfers of all time, if not the best.
But, that wasn’t enough. He had more fight in him.
Woods kept working and working and working, hitting shot after shot, putt after putt, grinding his way back to the top to win his first Major Championship in 11 years, his first Masters since 2005. As Tony Robbins likes to say, ‘you get rewarded in public for what you do in private.’
To prove the point at how hard Tiger worked, let’s look back. In 2012, he finished 40th in Augusta. He didn’t play at the Masters in either 2016 or 2017. In 2018, Woods finished 32nd.
But, he kept at it until he put four rounds of golf together good enough to win on a leaderboard filled with the world’s best.
There’s a parallel here in this phenomenal comeback story, a lesson for all of us.
We aren’t too old or too broken down to chase our dreams. We all have a chance at greatness. We can overcome whatever is in our way to wear our own Green Jacket, whatever form it comes in.
Don’t be fooled. It’s not going to come easy. We have to work at it and work at it a lot. Take the extra putt when no one else will, when you don’t want to. Along the way there will be plenty of No’s from bosses, family members and naysayers on social media. If you believe in your dream, if you want it bad enough, do not listen to those No’s. Keep going.
History is littered with plenty of examples of people who didn’t take No for an answer.
J.K. Rowling was rejected 12 times before the Harry Potter series was published. 7 books and 8 movies later (not including the Fantastic Beasts series) she’s worth somewhere around 1 billion dollars, and reinvigorated children to read around the world.
Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper where he worked. His boss said he lacked imagination and didn’t have any good ideas. He had at least one.
Stephen King’s first novel, Carrie, was turned down 30 times. He’s now sold over 350 million books.
Katy Perry was booted from three record labels before becoming a pop star.
None of them gave up on their dreams. They didn’t take no for an answer. They all realized a No is just another person’s opinion. It’s not a definitive wall of success. King, Disney, Rowling and Perry all found a way around the no wall.
You can too.
Jim Carrey was booed off stage early in his career. About 15 years after that, he became the first actor to make ten million dollars for a movie role. He found his way.
If you want to sing, sing. If you want to produce TV, do it. If your dream is to be the best husband, wife, mother or father, do that. If you hear no, try another way. Try your own way.
Abraham Lincoln did. He lost 8 elections and failed at business twice before becoming President of the United States. History now regards him as one of the greatest presidents. Truth be told, his failures and his lost elections taught him valuable lessons. Lessons that allowed him to succeed.
In the end, you don’t have to aspire to be famous to live your dreams. There are thousands and thousands of stories from people who aren’t famous who didn’t take no for an answer and achieved their goals.
They are around us all the time. They are the people who opened a brewery on their own or started a scrap metal business or a contracting company.
These are people who didn’t hear no. They found another way. They learn lessons from failure, apply them and grow. Walt Disney heard nos from banks and his own brother when he wanted to build Disneyland. He found a way just as Tiger defied all the odds to find his back to the top.
And that’s ultimately how you’ll find your own Green Jacket.