You may have seen that Rory McIlroy won The Open Championship this weekend. I certainly did because I love golf, but what intrigued me through the final round was “what’s on this guys’ mind?” as he’s striding the fairways of the final round.

To give a little context for those not in the know, The Open is arguably the most prestigious professional golf tournament in the world. It’s typically played on the type of course the professionals don’t normally play and the weather is usually horrendous (30mph winds, horizontal rain), meaning it’s a very very tough challenge. The pay cheque is just shy of £1million and the best players in the world make up the majority of the field.

Translated – to win you’ve got to beat the best in pretty unfamiliar surroundings and the prize for winning is a sizeable chunk of money.

Typically this would play on anyone’s mind, especially the leader going into the final round.

However throughout the entire tournament Rory looked like a man in complete control of everything, not phased by a gust of wind, not daunted by the challenge above, not rustled by an awkward question from the Press.

He was asked in his press conferences throughout the weekend “what’s your secret out on the course this week?” and his response centred around 2 words which he would share if he won.

The clip above (courtesy of the Press Association) is Rory’s press conference after winning in which he reveals what those two words were. Head to 39 seconds for his answer.

What I love is that the two things were simple and input-focused. Meaning that by concentrating on what he input into each shot, he kept things simple and didn’t get carried away with the end goal and all the riches it would bring.

With the people I coach, including golf professionals, I spend time working on two key areas that enable them to achieve their goals.

The first area is understanding and gaining absolute confidence in the key skills required to be able to deliver that big presentation to the senior Execs, to land that perfect role or to repeatedly deliver the required shot consistently at the right time.

I work with individuals to understand the principals of the task in hand, apply those principals and review the outputs to see what worked and what can be further refined. This process is continual because the environment in which you are operating is always unique.

But by being aware of your skills and when best to apply them, you become attuned at surveying the environment around and applying your skills instinctively each and every time to achieve the results you want.

For Rory at The Open, this work was done years, months and days beforehand, working on his swing for all the shots he would require so he knows he can trust in himself and his abilities in the heat of competition.

The second element is to concentrate on two or three simple inputs and have those clear in your mind when you’re going into the boardroom, sitting opposite your potential new boss, stepping onto the first tee.

By focussing on these simple inputs, you’re concentrating on positives which you have the confidence in to deliver the results you desire, no matter what the situation.

You’re not thinking about what-ifs, only what will be.

You’re not disturbed by something unpredictable, only aware it’s happened and reacting appropriately.

You’re not getting phased by the size of the goal because you’re concentrating on putting the right inputs in throughout.

Rory talks about how by concentrating on his two inputs he didn’t think about the end result. It’s because he knows that if he delivers what instinctively feels right time and time again, the results will come, no matter the size of the goal at stake.

So when Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler were making a run for the lead in the final holes, Rory didn’t get phased, he just concentrated on his inputs and let the outputs follow.

When Rory could taste victory, he didn’t get carried away. He concentrated on his inputs to make sure he secured victory.

I’ve blogged before about the difference between achieving and just missing your goal. Often focusing on your inputs and instinctively reacting to the environment around you can be the key to success.

If you’re finding you’re consistently missing the goals you set yourself, get in touch and I’ll help enable you to achieve them.



If you found this blog post useful or know someone it could be of use to, share it with a friend or colleague.

Send the web address above, or head to FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn. While you’re there, Like or Follow the page for regular updates on future posts.