The Open Championship every year throws up a great story but for me the 2017 Open Championship gave us a great insight to competing & winning when not at your best.
Everyday I work with clients wanting to improve performance, which is great but the majority are focused on making themselves better at what they do. In other words they look after the front end. This is all well and good but unfortunately we have to remember that not just in sports but business & life as well we are human and we simply can not bring our "A" game everyday. Somedays we may only be able to manage our "B" game.
Its this "B" game that I work with my clients on. Some would see this as negative but it is simply realistic & more often than not people suffer when they don't have their "A" game because they have no "B" game to back it up, its "A" or nothing. I want my clients to have a great "A" game but also a superb "B" game so they continue to compete on their "B" days rather than just fade away.
I liken it to 2 cars. You can be a lovely limousine with a shiny front end but your back end is miles away or you can be a smart car which has a nice front end but your back end is close behind.
I was at the Open Monday to Friday and was close to some of the worlds best. On Monday I was fortunate to walk the fairways with Rory Mcllroy. He was all over the place on Monday, now to me the practice round isn't a practice round but rather a learning round so you test shots from tees & learn the no go areas & go areas etc but it was clear to see that he was off track with his game. Ill cut to the result - he finished T4.
Back in the armchair on Sunday I watched the tournament unfold. For those who watched it will have watched an incredible battle between Kucher & Spieth. Many have opinions about Spieth dropping on the range but we don't have to contend with tour vans etc so I have no quarms with time taken or the drop etc. We all would have made sure it was right for us in that position. You wouldn't rush a contract in business worth £1,000,000+.
Spieth unbelievably after some shocking golf shots crossed the line to claim the trophy. What struck me is how a guy can play so badly and still win the biggest trophy in golf. Did he play badly though? Of course he didn't because playing golf is about getting the ball in the hole in the least amount of shots as possible, its not about striking it well.
That week was a true testament that to achieve at the highest level & to reach your goals (if they are big) it will require you to dig deep when everything in your mind probably says this isn't my day. Its those moments that champions come to fruition.
Spieth showed us and in fact Rory did too that if you have a "B" that backs up a missing "A" game you can still compete at the highest level. That "B" game however has one vital ingredient, mental toughness. Its not tough to play well on your "A" days, its tough to still compete on your "B" days because those days require grit & determination deep down within where no one can see.
Take time to look back at one of the greatest golfers of all time, Tiger Woods. Most of his wins weren't actually on the back of amazing "A" games. Yes we remember the amazing shots etc but look deeper at how many times he won with his "B" game. Many times Id sit there on a Sunday night and say "he's just won without doing anything amazing." or "He's hit some shockers out there and still beaten everyone."
How many days have we had where we wake up and don't feel great or we play sports not on top form or be in the office not firing on all cylinders? Id guess the majority if not everyone will have had this at some stage. What most do is beat themselves up for not being on it. Don't waste your energies on that, instead accept today is a "B" day then go execute the best day you can. My bet is you'll be amazed at what you all can still achieve on your "B" day.
So to conclude my thoughts, whether you play a sport, work in business or just life itself perhaps don't always try to improve your "A" game but instead look to improve your "B" game so on the not so great days you are still making progress towards your goals & dreams.
Be great with your "B" game!
Yours in performance