How Do You Measure Success When You Don’t Win?

If you’re a golf fan like me, you likely watched the (British) Open tournament on the weekend. I watched most of the final round which was basically match play between Phil Mickelson and Hendrik Stenson, which turned out to be one of the best rounds of golf ever played.

It was incredible golf. Both players played exceptionally well, probably their best golf of their careers during one of the most challenging rounds of golf…the final round of a major tournament. Shot after shot, these guys were in a class all alone on this day.


Until this weekend, the final round of the 1997 British Open, featuring Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson was thought to be the best round ever played in the history of the game. It was named, “The duel in the sun.”

But even Jack himself argued that the round played by Mickelson and Stenson was even better…

Nicklaus wrote on Sunday: “Some in the media have already tried to compare today’s final round to 1977 at Turnberry, with Tom Watson and me in what they called the ‘Duel in the Sun.’ I thought we played great and had a wonderful match.

“On that day, Tom got me, 65-66. Our final round was really good, but theirs was even better. What a great match today.”


Mickelson, who is 46 and considered old by PGA standards, was trying to become the fourth-oldest major winner and win his sixth major. His score of 267 was 11 strokes better than third-place and would have won 140 of the 145 Opens played.

Incredible golf. Which won him second place. 

Second place isn’t new for Phil though. In fact he’s been the runner-up in a major 11 times. 11 times! He’s like the Buffalo Bills of the PGA. (Actually Jack Nicklaus finished second a record 19 times in majors to go along with his 18 major victories). But you know what I mean. Well, if you don’t, The NFL Buffalo Bills played and lost 4 consecutive Super Bowls from 1990-1993.

And I heard words like “losers” and “failure” to describe the only team in history to play 4 championship games in a row.

Yes they lost 4 in a row but, failure?

I guess it depends on how you measure success.

When my children brought home report cards I was not only interested in the grades they received, but how they got them. Did they coast? Did they give it their best effort?

A “C” that they worked for was better than the “A” they didn’t work for. At least in my mind it was.

How we do something is as important as what we are doing, don’t you think?

That’s also why I enjoyed the golf on Sunday. Not only did I get to see two golfers playing at the top of their games, in the most pressure situation possible, I watched them play with class, respect and sportsmanship.

They encouraged each other, supported each other and even cheered for each other. And when it was all over, they walked off the 18th green with arms around each other. They had just battled each other for 5 hours and in the mix of joy an disappointment they did it with class.

I like that. I think that matters.

“How we do something is as important as what we are doing”

 I think it matters how you and I do things too.

I’m all about setting goals, reaching for new things, striving for something better. I’m all for getting the job done too. But not at all costs.

Another way of saying it is, the process for reaching our goals is as important as the result we’re after.

Marten Seligman who pioneered Positive Psychology, argues that we are only as happy as when we live by our values and strengths.

Sacrificing them to reach a goal will leave us empty and rob us of meaning. (More on this in my next blog post)

If Phil Mickelson or Hendrik Stenson avoided each other all day; if they never spoke; if they were critical of the other in the press; if they broke their clubs after a bad shot and found joy in the others’ misfortune, then the best round ever played would be less so. At least in my mind.

Why? Because how we play, how we work, how we treat others, how we respond to challenges along the way to our goals is equally important to the goals themselves. And to me that’s success.

Was Mickelson successful on Sunday? In winning his 6th major? No. In how he competed for his 6th major? Absolutely.

It was a round of golf I will never forget. And both players won.

What do you think? Agree or disagree? How do you measure success in your own life? I’d love to hear from you.


Feel like there is more to your life than what you are experiencing today? Not sure where to start? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange an initial free 30 minute Discovery Call. Let’s talk.

How To Get More Done in Less Time

I came across a statistic recently that suggested that the average office worker actually works about 90 minutes a day. A day!!! I had to read that again. 90 minutes a day.


At first you might be asking, “Where do I sign up for that job? Get paid for 8 hours but actually only work 90 minutes? Sweet”

The obvious question is what are people doing the other 6.5 hours? Apparently the rest of the workday is spent on distractions like reading the news, surfing the web, socializing with coworkers, taking coffee breaks, checking emails, playing games, and daydreaming.

In a recent post I shared what happens in the typical workplace during the “dog days of summer” and it isn’t pretty. You can read about it here.

Can we just acknowledge that the era of the open concept workplace environment was a colossal failure? Yeah it may be seen as a means to foster collaboration and team unity  (or maybe just a way to save money by not building interior walls)  but I’m convinced that the shift to open concept work spaces have actually contributed to a less productive work environment.

Susan Cain, the voice for introverts and the author of “Quiet; The Power of Introverts In a World That Can’t Stop Talking” shares some insights here regarding the limitations of the new style of office management.

I think this phenomenon (working 90 minutes/day) takes a real toll on us too. Here are a few reasons why.

  • Work is a good thing and being less productive can lead to discouragement and frustration
  • If we aren’t putting in our best efforts, then we aren’t truly earning our paycheque
  • When we don’t get our work done in the office, we may have to take time away from family and other activities to catch up

Most bosses don’t expect that their employees are going to work for 8 hours straight, without a break. Besides being illegal in most situations its not realistic either.

But making the most of our time at work to me is less about fulfilling our bosses expectations and finding fulfillment in what we do.

I think job satisfaction is hard to find if we head for home each night with a gnawing feeling in our gut that we just didn’t give it our best. Or that we didn’t accomplish anything of significance.

So how can we make the most of our time at work (which can also free us up to make the most of our time out of work).

  • See work as a stewardship issue. Like everything else in our lives, like our homes, our money, our belongings, our time and our relationships, we have a responsibility to manage our time at work as well.
  • See work as a reflection of our relationship with God. The meaning of all we do, including our work changes when we see it as a spiritual thing, not just a task we have to complete to pay bills.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Colossians 3:23

  • Break down work into smaller chunks of time. I’ve been trying to do this regularly and seeing good results. In fact I think you can accomplish more in a 90 minute window of time than you can all day if you do it well.
  • Limit your distractions during your 90 minute window. Avoid email, social media and people unless they are crucial to what you’re working on in that time.
  • Break down your work into smaller steps or tasks. Procrastination is often a result of being overwhelmed with the big project or final goal. Set clear steps to getting to the finish line.
  • Take a break. When your 90 minutes are up, stop. Take a break. Go for a walk. Get a drink. Stretch. Talk to someone. Take a nap. Then after 15-30 minutes, prepare for the next 90 minutes.

If you simply block off two 90 minute time slots for focused, purposeful work, you will be more productive than most of your co-workers. Don’t rub it in their face though. You don’t want your car keyed in the parking lot. But…

  • You will get more done.
  • You will feel better about yourself and the work you do.
  • You will have greater capacity to be present at home…rather than being preoccupied with what you didn’t get done at the office, you can arrive home ready to embrace your family.

What would it do to your work life (and home life) if you were able to block off 2-90 minute windows of time? For starters, you’d be twice as productive as the average worker. Suppose you had a super productive day and blocked off 5-90 minutes windows of time. You’d accomplish a week’s worth of work in one day. Maybe taking Fridays off in the summer becomes a possibility. Who knows.

Imagine what you could get done, 90 minutes at at time.

The key to having a more productive day starts with 90 minutes. Make the most of them and see where it takes you.


Feel like there is more to your life than what you are experiencing today? Not sure where to start? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange an initial free 30 minute Discovery Call. Let’s talk.

Whose Life Are You Living?

I’ve come across this story a few times in the past and I want to share it with you today. I don’t know it’s origin but the point of the story is an important one for us to consider.


 “An American businessman took a vacation to a small coastal Mexican village on doctor’s orders. Unable to sleep after an urgent phone call from the office the first morning, he walked out to the pier to clear his head. A small boat with just one fisherman had docked, and inside the boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish.

“How long did it take you to catch them?” the American asked.

“Only a little while,” the Mexican replied in surprisingly good English.

“Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” the American then asked.

“I have enough to support my family and give a few to friends,” the Mexican said as he unloaded them into a basket.

“But … What do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican looked up and smiled. “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Julia, and stroll into the village each evening, where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, señor.”

The American laughed and stood tall. “Sir, I’m a Harvard M.B.A. and can help you. You should spend more time fishing, and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. In no time, you could buy several boats with the increased haul. Eventually, you would have a fleet of fishing boats.”

He continued, “Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you would sell directly to the consumers, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village, of course, and move to Mexico City, then to Los Angeles, and eventually New York City, where you could run your expanding enterprise with proper management.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, señor, how long will all this take?”

To which the American replied, “15–20 years. 25 tops.”

“But what then, señor?”

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right, you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.”

“Millions, señor? Then what?”

“Then you would retire and move to a small coastal fishing village, where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos …” Author Unknown

There are plenty of people willing to tell us how we should live our lives. Friends, family, culture. But what do you say?

Are you living the life God has designed you for? Do you have a clear plan and purpose?

“Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3

I imagine getting to the end of my life only to realize I lived someone else’s story, to be a devastating conclusion to it.

“The only thing worse than drifting without a plan is having your plans hijacked by someone else.” Michael Hyatt

Feel like there is more to your life than what you are experiencing today? Not sure where to start? Life coaching can help. Contact me to arrange an initial free 30 minute Discovery Call. Let’s talk.