What Rory McIlroy Knows About Career Success

Rory McIlroy won the US Open, golf’s second major tournament of the year, on Sunday.  At 22 years and 1 month, he is the youngest person since WWII to do so.  He shot a record 16 under par for the tournament.  His closest competitor was eight shots behind.  It’s official.  I’m now a huge Rory McIlroy fan.  His story provides some great career advice.

I was really happy for Rory.  He was leading the Masters, golf’s first major of the year, by four shots going into the final round – and he blew up, shooting an 80 and finishing 10 shots behind the winner.

Rory was leading the US Open by eight shots going into Sunday’s last round.  I, and a lot of people, were hoping he wouldn’t choke and have a repeat of his Masters nightmare.  He didn’t.

There is some great career advice to be found in Rory McIlroy’s US Open victory.

Tweet 37 in my career advice book Success Tweets says, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it.  Don’t dwell on the negative, use it as a springboard to action and creativity.”  Losing the Masters in the way he did, could have had a very negative affect on Rory McIlroy.  He choked on one of golf’s biggest stages.  The tournament was his to win or lose – and he lost it that Sunday in April.

But Rory exemplified the career advice in Tweet 37 in Success Tweets.  He didn’t let his loss get him down.  He used it to propel him to future success.  After losing the Masters he said…

“It shows you what can happen on the last day of a major championship.  I’ve never been in this position exactly.  You learn. I have to take the positives and the positives are I led this golf tournament for 63 holes. I’ll have plenty more chances, I know that. It’s very disappointing what happened today and hopefully it will build a little bit of character in me as well.”

Read that quote again and think about it.  Rory McIIroy lost the Masters in a spectacular blow up on international TV but looked at the bright side.  That’s exactly what Tweet 37 in Success Tweets says to do.

Stuff happens as you go through life; positive stuff, negative stuff, happy stuff, sad stuff, frustrating stuff.  The important thing is not what happens, but how you react to it.  In other words, smash your negative thoughts; replace them with positive ones.  Don’t dwell on the negative, use it as a springboard to action and creativity.  Maximize the positive in your life by creating positive habits and routines.  When something goes well, take the time to celebrate.  You deserve it.  And, small celebrations when you succeed are a positive habit that will put you in a positive frame of mind, which in turn, will help you create more life and career successes.

Even after his humiliating defeat in the Masters Rory McIlroy celebrated what he had accomplished.  “I have to take the positives and the positives are I led this golf tournament for 63 holes.”  It was small consolation, but he found the positive in a very difficult situation.

But there’s even more career success advice that comes from to The Rory McIlroy story.  Tweet 16 in Success Tweets says, “Use affirmations to realize your vision of your career success.  Affirmations are statements about the future stated in the present tense.”  Going into the US Open Rory tweeted this…“It’s repetition of affirmations that leads to belief, and once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen – Muhammad Ali”  I don’t know what affirmation Rory used during the US Open, but I bet it was something like “I will win this tournament” — and he did.

Affirmations work.  Just decide what you want, visualize yourself as having it.  Tell yourself you have it.  Repeat that affirmation several times a day.  Then do whatever it takes to make your affirmation come true – just like Rory McIlroy.

Affirmations alone, however, are not enough to guarantee your career success.  You have to do the work.  Spend the time necessary to accomplish your goals.  Volunteer for projects that will get you noticed.  Become an expert on your company, its competitors, and your industry.  In other words, bust your butt, and you will succeed.  I know that Rory McIlroy worked on his game – and his mental attitude – in order to make his affirmation come true.
The Washington Post blog had this to say about Rory McIlroy’s win.  I think it sums up the points I’m trying to make about turning setbacks and defeats into positives that will lead to your career success.

“I’d wager that his win at the U.S. Open might not have been as big had his loss at the Masters not been so big, too. The power of past failure to motivate—and teach—is hard to overestimate, especially if the loss is played out in epic fashion on a worldwide stage. While some might be too overwhelmed by the enormity of such a fall, those who are able to wrestle with its lessons and harness it as drive for future wins have a decided advantage over those who’ve never experienced such colossal defeat.

“Had he not fallen apart in April, the young phenom might never have had that inspirational lunch with golfing great Jack Nicklaus, who told him that he had to learn to embrace the pressure. Had he not found himself triple-bogeying at the Masters, he might never have taken a moment to high five a two-year-old fan at the U.S. Open in an effort to slow down and break the tension before taking his next shot. And had he not responded so gracefully after his epic falling apart in Augusta, he might not have won over so many adoring fans who cheered him on to victory in Bethesda.

“It’s hard to know whether or not McIlroy would have won this tournament had he not lost the last one. If he didn’t, he surely would have won another one soon: his talent is simply too prodigious. But it’s hard to imagine that the spectacular loss in April did not have an outsized impact on his character, his drive and his approach to his game that led to such a spectacular win in June. Epic failures may be tremendously painful. But when they help lead to such epic wins, the success is usually all the more sweet.”

The career success coach point here is simple common sense.  Successful people follow the career advice in Tweet 37 in Success Tweets. “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it.  Don’t dwell on the negative, use it as a springboard to action and creativity.”  Get competent.  Create positive personal impact.  Become an outstanding performer and a dynamic communicator.  Build strong relationships with the important people in your life.  Positive habits will help you do all of these.  Smash the negatives in your life and create positive thoughts, habits and routines.  Use the negatives that come your way as learning experiences, and positive thoughts, habits and routines to create small victories.  And, follow the career advice in Tweet 16 in Success Tweets.  “Use affirmations to realize your vision of your career success.  Affirmations are statements about the future stated in the present tense.”  Take it from a career success coach, affirmations  and keeping a positive outlook when life throws painful experiences your way, will help you create the career success you deserve.

That’s the career advice I found in Rory McIlroy’s US Open victory.  What do you think?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  As always thanks for reading my daily thoughts on life and career success.  I appreciate it.


PS: If you haven’t already done so, you can download a free copy of my latest career success book Success Tweets Explained.  It’s a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail.  Go to http://budurl.com/STExp to claim your free copy.  You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.

PPS: When Rory McIlroy arrived for his press conference after the US Open, he took a picture of the U.S. Open trophy on the table and posted it on Twitter with two words that said it all: “Winning. Bounceback.”  Way to go Rory.


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