What We Can Learn About Process from Rory McIlroy

18th holeRory McIlroy won the British Open in a most surprising way yesterday – he stuck to a process.

That’s not something that you hear golfers talk about much. They talk about balance. They talk about swing planes. They talk about luck. I can’t say that I’ve ever heard a golfer say that he used a process to win a tournament (let alone a Major Championship), but it totally makes sense. For Rory, sticking to his process kept him from letting distractions creep into his game.

One of the reasons that golf is such a difficult game is that 90% of the time a golfer isn’t actually hitting a shot. That’s a lot of time for distractions, so by going back to his process before each shot, Rory was able to refocus and stay in the moment.

I’m a true believer in the power of process, whether I’m writing, creating a marketing plan, or just baking cookies. Think about process as a roadmap. If you wanted to get from Chicago to Los Angeles you wouldn’t just get in your car, set a compass on the dash, and start driving west, would you? There might be some detours along your trip, but if you have that roadmap in place you can always get back on track. And like taking trips to different locations, your process will have to change from time to time, and that’s okay – as long as you have one.

There is one other benefit to having a process that can only be experienced. It’s a sense of comfort and security that comes from knowing that when the rest of the world is throwing distractions your way, you have this process that you can rely on like an old friend to keep you focused and get you where you need to go.

So congratulations to Rory on the victory. I’m certain that if he sticks to his process there are many more to come.


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