5 Lessons We Learned About Business from Mr. Palmer
Recently, I was saddened to hear of the passing of Arnold Palmer. While the golf world certainly lost an iconic figure, there are few among us, golfers or not, who didn’t feel somehow fond of Arnie. He won his last PGA tour event nearly half a century ago, but his name and image feel as familiar as ever and his impact on golf will be felt forever.
In his 87 years, Arnold Palmer accomplished plenty on the golf course, but many more important things off it. He was the quintessential “class act”—making everyone he met feel like they were the most important people in the room. He endorsed a number of products, and he helped make “Arnold Palmer” one of the most trusted brands in sports, and a nostalgic drink at golf outings.
Perhaps his most satisfying work was with the Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation, which provides financial support to institutions and organizations that assist children, families, communities and the environment. For many, the support he lent to launch of the golf channel, against the advice of many, will be his most important legacy.
Words to Thrive By from “The King”
We as business people can learn a lot from Arnold Palmer. He showed such a commitment to achieving greatness, yet he never let go of the common touch. Some of his best-known motivational quotes can help us all become better people and our businesses more successful.
Arnold Palmer’s 5 Motivational Quotes for Business:
“The most rewarding things you do in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done.”
Arnie wasn’t reckless on the course, but his determination and hard-charging style are virtual necessities in today’s corporate environment. He knew how good it feels to aim high. You may not always get there, but you’ll never experience that feeling if you play it safe all the time.
“It’s a funny thing, the more I practice the luckier I get.”
Lots of people mention this one. The business lesson is obvious – quit complaining about challenges and blaming fate for poor results. Instead, put in more effort. Put in more time, more effort, more heart, and good things will start to happen. And when they do, they’ll be all your “fault.”
“When people ask what’s driven me all these years, I always give the same answer. It’s you.”
Often, successful people become self-absorbed, and act as if their fame was some kind of right. Arnie never forgot that his success was totally attributable to other people; the media, his fans, his supporting team, and others. The challenge to live up to his reputation and not disappoint his fans and supporters was so strong, it made him better, and he appreciated it. Those of us in business would do well to remember that growth and success come not from introverted, self-centered concern, but from an outward focus on giving customers a uniquely better product or experience.
“The road to success is always under construction.”
Arnie was not immune to bad days; he didn’t win every week, and he never won the PGA Championship, one of golf’s four “majors.” Still, he accepted the wins and the losses, and worked to be better. He also displayed the same always-moving-forward attitude in his off-course pursuits. He expected challenges, so he was able to maintain his dedication and even his humor in dealing with them. In business, you encounter plenty of ‘rough’ spots. Use Arnie’s approach—take your best shot, and move on to the next one.
“Winning isn’t everything, but wanting it is.”
Arnie knew that the trophies came and went; no team or player wins very time. Still, he realized that in order to win his share; he had to show the dedication and commitment every day, every match, every hole. That’s a perfect parable for business. You can’t control what competitors, or even customers, are going to do. What you can do is renew your efforts every single day to be the best company, providing the best product or service you can. The rest will take care of itself.
Give It Your Best Shot
Arnold Palmer was memorable, from his courageous approach on the course to his generosity and approachability off of it. People wanted to be around him—and he went out of his way to show that he cared about them, too. Wouldn’t it be great if people felt that same kind of warmth and connection to your business? Why not honor Arnie and give it a shot!
Do you have a special memory or thought about Arnold Palmer? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear your take on what he meant to golf and beyond.