“What do you do nowadays?”
That’s a question I often get these days. Well, the fact is that I feel like I am busier now than ever. My days are all about balancing family life with business. I’m regularly speaking with aspiring youth, up-and-coming businesswomen or company executives about my journey, and how my success in golf can translate to being a champion in their chosen field.
Last week, I flew to Minneapolis for the yearly 3M executive conference where I shared my thoughts on achieving success through personal growth. I talked about my transformation from a young, shy aspiring golfer to a professional tour player, and then into a mom, entrepreneur and philanthropist.
I spoke for one hour including a Q&A session. Here is a snapshot of my message.
Our life is a journey and it’s ever changing, whether intentionally or by pure circumstance. Our days, weeks, months and years are full of moments and experiences where we learn about ourselves and what is important in life.
When I talk about “growth,” you may ask, “What is that?” I’m not talking about getting taller or bigger; I’m talking about personal growth. Do you want to improve yourself or do you want to be stuck in the same old routine?
As I see it, there are three kinds of people in this world. The first is someone I call the Drifter. This person doesn’t know what they want to do, or where they want to go. They just kind of go with the flow hoping good things happen or come to them.
The second group of people are individuals who kind of know what they like and sort of know what they want to do, but they have a fear of failure. They have a hard time committing to one thing and don’t like to take chances in case something happens that would make them feel uncomfortable.
The third and last group is made up of people who are very driven -- they know what they want and where to go. They have a plan, and every day they’re bursting with energy thanks to their passion, focus and determination.
Now, it doesn’t matter which category you’re currently in, as everybody can change and benefit from personal growth.
To grow as an individual and reach your full potential, you need to know yourself. You need to know your baseline or starting point. It means identifying your strengths, your values and your passions. You also need to know your weaknesses and other issues. Addressing your problems is critical, as if you simply run away from them, they’ll most likely find you again. It also helps to be aware of your surroundings and where you are today.
Individuals on this path keep learning. Making mistakes is part of the journey and the ongoing process. Viewed in this light, there is no such thing as failure. We learn from our mistakes, they educate us and they make us stronger and more determined. Be your best teacher and remember, the most valuable source of wisdom comes from experience.
Another important element to personal growth is goal-setting. Learn how to set them, both short term and long term. Don’t limit yourself! Think bigger and better. I am a true believer that I was able to shoot 59 in 2001 because I’ve believed since my amateur days that I can birdie every hole in a round.
A big mistake I often hear is people who play the “blame game.” They’ll say things like, “It wasn’t my fault,” or “I couldn’t because…” In life, there’s no room or time for excuses. You need to take responsibility and you need to be personally accountable for your actions. Nobody will give you the trophy or hand you a bigger title and higher salary. You are in charge of your own life!
Now, you might think that taking these steps constitutes a huge task that’s impossible to achieve. To a certain degree, you are right. This kind of change isn’t easy. But the other side of that coin is that you don’t need to take this journey on your own. As a matter of fact, it’s more fun and enjoyable to share. Make sure you surround yourself with good, positive people. A team that supports you and loves you for the right reasons. There’s no doubt in my mind I’d never have reached my goals if it weren’t for my parents, family and friends.
To this day, I’m constantly seeking to improve in both my personal and professional lives. It’s really an eternal battle. My Dad once said, “Annika, there are no short cuts to success.” However, it is possible to reach all your goals if you practice patience, focus and determination. Follow your life’s plan and create a new you by pursuing a purposeful and a fulfilling existence.
The tournaments and initiatives my Foundation created over the last 10 years have helped me to grow. More than 500 girls from 50 different countries participate in our events each year. That makes me smile. Focusing on others and making a difference in their lives is very rewarding. It’s given me a new purpose – to inspire kids to follow their dreams, so they can attain them just like I did.