A recent article on The Washington Post website questions if “Tiger Woods’s days of dominance might be history.” Tiger Woods is one of the highest-paid professional athletes in the world and his achievements (97 professional wins) prove he has the talent to back it up. Yet, in 2009, his bad decisions surfaced and he lost his respected reputation and game. Now, as he battles injuries and a past the media won’t let anyone forget, he is reportedly striving to be a better father and the celebrated golfer he once proved he was – hopefully learning from his mistakes and improving his personal and professional life.
Although athletes, musicians, actors and other talented celebrities in the public eye are scrutinized more than us normal folk and they sometimes deserve to be (yes, that’s a Charlie Sheen reference), we can still take note and learn from their mistakes. We can even learn from the mistakes of people around us. I’m sure you can think of some examples. Bad decisions in your personal life can definitely affect your professional life. It affects how you act and react, your priorities, your routine, and your reputation, just to name a few. It’s hard to separate business and personal, and most times, you can’t.
But don’t think you are ruined forever if you make a mistake. In 2006, when James Frey, author of “A Million Little Pieces” was exposed after his appearance on Oprah for lying about his book being a memoir, he faced what he called a “public stoning” by Oprah and the rest of the country. Instead of hiding, he went back on Oprah to face her and the rest of the nation and participated in a recent two-part interview with her where he owned his mistakes. Here’s an excerpt from his interview: “I thought I got ambushed. Absolutely,” James says. “[But] I think, even had I known what I was walking into, I probably still would have walked into it. … At the end of it, it didn’t matter what happened on that show because in some ways, I deserved it. I made a mistake, and at a certain point, it came time to pay for it. And I paid for it.”
Make a comeback. You can recover if you change your ways and work hard to prove you deserve it. Everyone makes mistakes, but it’s what you learn from them and how you bounce back and prevent repeat mistakes that matters. Give people something else, your new accomplishments, to talk about. For Tiger Woods, it’s proving to be a rough road back, but I believe he can recover if he learns from his mistakes.