A Head for Winning

I just watched Kenny Perry lose the Masters in a two hole play-off. I was crushed. Once Tiger was out of it, I really wanted the guy to win. It sucks to say, but he just didn’t have the head to win.

To win a major golf tournament, especially The Masters, you have to have a mental toughness, you have to have the head to win. A good stick will get you to The Masters, a great 4 days will put you in contention. But to win, you have to have the head. The pressure is too great, the stage too big. sp6

Winners have the head, a mental toughness, a toughness that separates them from the pack. Yesterday, in Kenny’s case, the fear of loosing was far greater than the thrill of winning. Kenny had not hit a bogey in 27 holes until he bogeyed 17 and 18, the last two holes, to blow a two stroke lead. The situation, the reality of what he could accomplish got in his head and the idea that he could screw it up won the day.

What was going on in Kenny’s mind? Was he thinking about the fact he was about to win his first major? Was he thinking he was about to win a green jacket and win The Masters? Was it the fact that he could become the oldest person ever to win a major and make history? Was it the idea that he is almost 49 and may NEVER have this chance again? Was he fighting childhood demons telling him he could never win a major? We’ll never know exactly what he was thinking but we will know it made a difference.

After the 17th hole, Kenny’s game went to crap! He bogeyed 3 out of the last 4 holes. (including the playoffs) Again, this is after not having a bogey for 27 holes.

The biggest, and least talked about differences between the most successful people and the rest is a head for winning. The best sales people, the best entrepreneurs, the best CEO’s, the best engineers, the best what ever have a head for winning. A head for winning allows for thinking about the win and it’s gain and not the fear of loss and the pain of the loss. This subtle focus drives very different outcomes. The sales person with a head for winning isn’t afraid to tell the customer no, or hold firm in a negotiation. They aren’t focused on the fear of losing, but rather the gain of winning. The entrepreneur with a head for winning isn’t afraid to lose their lifesavings. They aren’t afraid to fail. They are more attached to the idea of turning their lifesaving’s into millions. Winners do not allow the thought of failure to effect their game.

People with a head for winning step up in the critical moments, the times when one direction is failure and the other victory. Why? Because they aren’t afraid of their decision. They aren’t thinking about losing and the impacts of failure. There is no fear in winning thoughts. Thoughts about screwing up, making the wrong decision, not getting to your goal JUST AS YOU ARE ABOUT TO MAKE IT, are devastating.

Fear of loss creates, just that, loss. It is self-fulfilling.

Kenny Perry had everything he needed to win on Sunday except the head and at the end of the day, it’s your head that decides the winners from the losers.

Where is your head?