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Lessons In Golf and Leadership!

Having a connection with golf provides an unlimited number of opportunities for us to use the “game” in ways that serve our ability to be happy, creative, inspired and productive in all that we do. One of my favorite coaching programs our team runs here in Pebble Beach is a corporate leadership retreat. Our team of facilitators in performance, mindset, fitness, nutrition and leadership creatively utilizes a golf inspired environment to help companies strengthen their corporate culture.

Here are a few lessons from the program to consider when looking to upgrade your performance both on and off the course.

Take Ownership

William James, the father of modern psychology once said, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.” Buddha expressed this in similar fashion by stating “The mind is everything, What you think you become.”

Every bit of gain derived from our program is rooted in the belief that human beings can actively “choose” their thoughts. Thoughts create moods or emotional states and those states influence our every action and reaction.

As it relates to thinking, we discuss the distinction between various mental states. One category in this comparison lies within what we refer to as “ownership” vs “victim” language. When we take ownership we think and act as creators of the world we live in. We firmly believe our reality unfolds according to the way we think and that living in a state of continual self inquiry strengthens our ability to train more positive patterns and behaviors. The owner believes how they’re feeling is a direct result of how they’re thinking and reserves the right to alter their emotional state at will through the conscious selection of thought. The “victim” isn’t a creator. They choose to view the world problematically and behave as if life is something that happens to them. They’re fearful, doubtful and hopeless which are all emotional states created by undisciplined self sabotage.

The biggest example of victim mentality, especially on a golf course, is complaining.

The biggest example of victim mentality, especially on a golf course, is complaining. If you want to begin becoming more mentally tough in any situation, simply work towards creating an awareness of this common daily occurrence. The moment you catch yourself acting like a victim, take ownership. Remind yourself how the thoughts you’re consciously selecting aren’t helping and replace with thoughts that best serve your ability to be excellent. You’ll play a better game and be more productive in all that you do.

Lesson: Your life unfolds according to the way you think.

Mantra: Create the state, don’t wait.

Slow Down to Speed Up

Whether it’s fixing a slice, losing weight or battling mental fatigue, the first step in changing a behavior is simple awareness. When our worlds move too quickly the sea of turbulence we create stifles both internal and external awareness making change difficult.

To rediscover this important skill, practice the art of slowing down. Right now do something as simple as looking out the window and counting the number of different shades of green you can find in your yard. While taking a bite of food, close your eyes and chew slowly for 30 seconds. Notice the different flavors and textures. In your living room, make a golf swing that lasts a minute in length feeling every inch of movement. This is what it means to be present and aware.  Slowing down allows us to see things for the way they are, providing the best opportunity for efficient evaluation and adjustment.

Lesson: Slowing down is key to evaluating behavior.

Mantra: In order to become different from what you are, you must first have an awareness of what you are.

Consider The Alternatives

Awareness shifts to education. This is where you decide what course of action is best for moving from the way things are to the way you’d like them to be. When giving a golf lesson I always set the stage by establishing that no behavior is good nor bad, only perfect for the results they produce. This is critical as we never want an athlete, executive or sales team to view any outcome problematically, but rather only as results with opportunities for adjustment.

When evaluating alternatives in behavior, ask yourself what seems exciting, logical and within reason? With your golf game, imagine how a simple adjustment in grip or ball position will influence contact. At work consider how a difference in how you communicate with your team might inspire enthusiasm and loyalty. When caring for your  health, what if you did something as simple as switching soda for water in a week’s time? Would you lose a few pounds? It doesn’t require magic to make a big difference. Stay away from illogical solutions such as miracle training aids, fad diets and other. Commit to even the smallest adjustment in behavior and witness the big results.

Lesson: No such thing as failure, only results.

Mantra: Do the little things big and the big things take care of themselves.

The Intelligence of Fun

If you examine human peak performance research, you’ll quickly discover that people are at their best when they feel their best. So if you’re interested in creating excellence, in any discipline, you might consider beginning with fun.

If you need proof, simply recall some of your own lifetime bests. Sporting events, musical, presentations or speeches. Any kind of performance. Think about how you felt. Chances are very good what you’re recalling now was a very high grade state of mind associated with enjoyment.  When you’re having fun the brain releases the chemicals serotonin and dopamine which activate the centers for all intelligence, inspiring creativity, focus and all the things you need to be excellent. We’re often conditioned to believe “There’s a time for work and a time for play.” The reality is when you make your work your play you supercharge the ability to dramatically elevate your performance.

Lesson: Having fun is among the most responsible things you can do.

Mantra: People are at their best when they feel their best.

For more information on Make The Turn Corporate Leadership programming Click Here.