Tiger Woods used to be awesome at golf.
Then his personal life blew up, and he wasn’t awesome at golf.
And the crazy thing is we’re surprised.
He made a whole boatload of bad decisions. Wrecked his family, broke his marriage, fractured an image that had been carefully cultivated for decades, put his kids and wife through the tabloid ringer, and lost anything that matters.
Now he’s playing golf again, and we’re confused at why it’s taken him years to win again.
He took so long to get good again because Tiger Woods is just like you and me.
He’s one person.
There’s not a “golf Tiger Woods” and a “family Tiger Woods” and a “father Tiger Woods” and a “business Tiger Woods.”
There’s only one Tiger Woods. And when one portion of his life gets wrecked, he’s incapable of sealing it off completely from the other parts of his life. We don’t work that way. That’d be like smelling smoke in the vents of your house and saying, “Don’t worry, the problem is in the basement. We’re on the second floor. We’ll be fine.”
But, when we express doubt about Tiger’s struggles, that’s exactly what we’re pretending is possible. And the same goes for politicians. Whenever some scandal comes out, people are so quick to say, “Yeah, but he was a great politician!”
He might have been a good politician, but he wasn’t what he could have been. It’s exhausting and distracting and crippling to fight a fire no one knows about all alone. Nobody makes their best decisions from a place of hiding.
If you’re a leader and your home life is on fire, there will be smoke at work.
If you’re a dad and your job is on fire, there will be smoke at home.
If you’re a wife and your friendships are on fire, there will be smoke at home.
Nobody is perfect. Not Tiger Woods. Not you. Not me. This isn’t about perfection. This is about putting out every fire you find. Don’t think you can contain one in a closet of your life somewhere, and just make due in a house that’s increasingly hard to breathe in.