Staying at the Top of your Field

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27Dec2013

Staying at the Top of your Field

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Atkinson-Baker Staying at the TopThe U.S. Open Golf Tournament is always Tiger Woods’ time to be the overwhelming favorite to win. At just 29 years old, he has already established himself as the best player ever, and what he can achieve over the next twenty years is mind boggling.

After winning the Masters Tournaments, and becoming the first person ever to win all four Majors in a twelve-month period, Tiger decided to take a month off to unwind. That is understandable. A lot of people would have taken the time off to celebrate after hitting such a milestone. Throw some parties. Lie on the beach in Tahiti. Cause a scandal.

How he actually spent that month, however, tells a lot about who he is and how he stays at the peak. First of all, the weekend after his Masters victory, he wasn’t recovering from a hangover, but was in Los Angeles teaching at one of his free golf clinics for kids.

The rest of the month he didn’t slack off either, but was in the gym every day working on his conditioning. Although no mere mortal can beat him over 72 holes, he is competing against his own standards of perfection, and so continually strives to improve his game.

Okay, now before you get the wrong idea, I am not a golf fan. I don’t play golf and I won’t be watching the tournament on TV this weekend. I have a business to run, I have four children and I am active in several social betterment groups. Maybe in forty years I’ll buy a set of clubs — it’s just not a priority in my life right now.

But anyone, sports fan or not, can learn from someone who refuses to accept anything less than the highest professional standards for themselves. Sure, it takes a lot of work. But even more than that, it requires dedication and an utter unwillingness to compromise with what one knows is the right thing to do.

While we will never have TV cameras broadcasting our strokes around the world, or attorneys hounding us for our autographs, we each know what makes someone a stellar reporter. Learning the profession doesn’t stop when we get our license. We still need to practice with speed tapes, build our dictionaries, develop new shortcuts and learn the latest technology. Then there are the customer service aspects of the job: always being early for an appointment, producing a flawless transcript and never breaking a commitment to get the transcript done by a certain date. These actions combined separate the reporting stars from the rest of the field.

All right, I’ve said my part for this issue, so I’ll turn the forum back over to Tiger. “Golf has been good to me,” he says on his foundation’s website, “but the lessons I’ve learned transcended the game. I’m now trying to pass these invaluable lessons on and show kids how they can be applied to every aspect of life. Do your best. Play fairly. Embrace every activity with integrity, honesty and discipline. Be responsible for your actions. And above all, have fun.”

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