The Secret Ingredient

What do Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods and Edith Hunkeler have in common? They have an uncommon determination which has led all of them to enormous success in their chosen field. Lance Armstrong has overcome cancer and is a 7 time Tour De France winner. Tiger Woods is on pace to shatter Jack Nicklaus' all time record for Major Championships and all Edith Hunkeler did was use her arms to wheelchair her way to the finish line faster than any other woman in her category in the 2008 New York City Marathon. Determination is a word that defines one of the major characteristics of most athletes. It is important to note though that being determined does not guarantee success. Think of all the major sporting events that you have seen over the years. In the end, one team or person emerges victorious, but does that mean the losing team or individual was any less determined? I think not.

How many times have you run in a race and given it all you have only to look up at the finish line and see two other people have finished before you? Does that mean they were more determined than you? Of course not. It just means they were faster. What can you do to improve your time? If you are determined to be faster the next time, then you will be. Determination comes from within.

I spent the better part of 2000, covering the PGA tour. That was the year that Tiger Woods won the Grand Slam of golf. That means that at one time, Tiger had the championship trophy from the Masters tournament, The United States Open, The British Open and the PGA Championship, an incredible accomplishment. I was the first to interview him after his win at the British Open at St. Andrews Golf Course in Scotland. He was even overwhelmed with what he had achieved but deep down he knew that when he combined his natural abilities with a dogged determination to outwork and outpractice all of the competition, the likely outcome would be positive.

What I have observed at the highest levels of sport is that each and every person who has attained success be it on the athletic field or in the front offices of the teams we all enjoy watching, the common thread between them is their level of determination.

It is rare if not impossible for someone to accomplish their goals using just talent. Talent alone is not enough in what is becoming an increasingly competitive world but when you combine talent with a determination to do your very best the sky is the limit. Whether you are driving a golf ball like Tiger Woods, a bicycle like Lance Armstrong or a wheelchair like Edith Hunkeler, win or lose all three knew that when the match was over and the finish line was in sight, that other people may have had more talent but no one was more determined to succeed.

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