Does it sound like there’s a whole bunch of social media gabbing and not a lot of actual doing? Yeah. I think so, too.
There’s a phenomenal book from a few years ago – WARNING – NOT A SOCIAL MEDIA BOOK! – and it’s worth another look.
The book? Paper Tiger by Tom Coyne. [NOTE: I’m in Illinois and can’t make a red cent off of Amazon Affiliate Links; thus, there’s nothing in it for Area 224 if you buy that book or go to your library and check out a copy.] The subtitle of this book probably tells you a ton: “An Obsessed Golfer’s Quest to Play with the Pros.”
I won’t spoil the plot of the book – it’s a true story about the author and his handicap index and whether or not he can get a tour card. It’s a great read.
A Story with Social Media Parallels
There’s a ton of gabbing in social circles about who is great and who is awesome and who is killing it or crushing it. And if you were to believe everyone you follow, tweet with, are friends with or subscribe to – the economy should have no problem rebounding.
Which brings us to the story from Coyne’s book. About a young golfer who showed up for his first day on tour bragging about how he wasn’t nervous because he had already been a winner at every other level of his career.
Amateur Champion. College Champion. And so on, and so forth – this was nothing by comparison.
The story may be a little apocryphal – but, as Coyne explains in the book…
“As the story was told to me, it was Craig Stadler who wandered over to where the rookie was hitting balls and gave the young man a few quiet words of advice.
“‘You see the guy next to you, and the guy next to him? Every one of them, All-Americans…hell, some of these caddies were All-American…nobody here gives a damn if you’re All-American, or even if you went to college at all. All anybody here wants to know is…can you play stick?'”
Can YOU Play Stick?
There’s humble-bragging a plenty on the interwebs. It’s getting annoying – sorta like showing up at the tournament as a seasoned pro and having to listen to the guy brag about how he just won the college championship.
And the scary thing is – a good many of the braggers haven’t done anything of substance. They talk a good ballgame but, when it’s time to execute, they’re big on excuses – and small on actual work product.
Consider the precarious position of some social media types with no actual inside-the-ropes experience. (“Inside the ropes” being a golf term, as in…those inside the ropes are playing in the tournament. Those outside the ropes are spectators.)
They may have watched and reported on the business world from the get-go – and they may even have a blog with hundreds of subscribers, or a flirtatious Twitter presence that draws you into their lifestream.
But have they actually been inside the ropes?
AND, those who throw the darts at those who are “doing it wrong” may have never actually built something.
Organizational Dynamics On Tour
If you think pro golf involves showing up, hitting a bunch of balls, being awesome and winning tournaments – consider a good chunk of the behind-the-scenes stuff that has to happen. I’m not talking about practice, mind you. I’m talking about playing in the qualifier to make the US Open field. I’m talking about writing the letter asking for a sponsorship exemption so you can play in the smaller event.
I’m talking about being the type of tour pro who has a great time at the Pro Am – not because it’s required of him, but because he’s playing golf with some people that he truly wants to have fun playing golf with.
And the list can go on, and on.
Because word spreads.
Play Stick at the Office
We’re not asking for you to suck up to everyone you meet, hoping that there’s an eventual payoff. We’re not asking that you put in extra hours creating white papers that show that you know what it is you’re doing.
What we ARE saying is this:
There’s “table stakes” in business and life. Eventually, you will be found out as the person who is all hat, no cattle.
You might be bloody awesome at whatever it is that you do. Great. You know what we want to see?
Evidence. Of you being bloody awesome.
That’s All We Want To Know: Can You Play Stick?