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Master the mental side of life (or golf or your career) and watch your performance soar

Faith WoodIt was a long weekend, and I had a tee time booked for Monday morning. This would be my first time out this season, and I want to warm up with friends before I find myself playing with my fellow Rotary members. While the forecast hinted at rain, this bothered me less than imagining myself out on the course for the first time with my fellow Rotarians.

Much like my self-doubts over playing with my fellow Rotarians, the negative narratives we weave in the depths of our minds are wild and can feel overwhelming. Or is it just me?

I fully acknowledge that many business deals are sealed outside the confines of a boardroom, often on a picturesque golf course bathed in sunshine. The thought unnerves me slightly as I contemplate whether a potential ally might deem me unsuitable if I don’t exhibit the finesse, skill, and low score of a more dedicated player.

golf career life focus

Photo by Peter Drew

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Of course, a round of golf is a fabulous way to test whether you want to get into business with someone as well – a test of character, as it were. Do they take things just a little too seriously? Do they have a propensity for cheating or exaggerating?

These are all valid questions that can be explored while strolling across the lush green fairways – or perhaps while rummaging through the trees, depending on your playing skills. Maybe the late, great American broadcaster Paul Harvey summed it up best when he said, “Golf is a game in which you yell ‘fore,’ shoot six, and write down five.”

Golf is a puzzling game. The objective is to strike a ball that is just sitting there. No one is attempting to steal the ball from you or knock you down the way they do in soccer, football and rugby. So how is it that a stationary ball can prove to be so daunting to strike – at least in a straight line?

Golf is a predominantly mental game. To improve performance, one must devote a proportionate amount of time to the mental aspects. Anyone can make a great shot; the difference between the amateur and the professional is in the percentage and consistency of good shots made. When you discover the secret to mastering the ‘mental’ side of the game, you will suddenly find yourself able to:

  • Eliminate the thoughts that are sabotaging your performance
  • Become immune to distractions (including the thoughts of spectators on the first tee-off)
  • Duplicate a consistent and reliable swing that holds up even under pressure
  • Stay cool and collected no matter what obstacles face you (including the trees and water hazards)

If you don’t master the mental side of the game, nothing else will really matter much, regardless of new technological breakthroughs in ball development or equipment. Strength is not required when playing golf; FOCUS is. So relax if you want to lower your score.

Change the conversation in your head if you want to play a better game (also true with other challenges we face in life). A little practice, a steady gaze and a belief in possibility will go a long way to having more fun. Once we master that conversation, imagine what might get accomplished with the same discipline applied to other goals.

Success is all in your efforts; what are you focusing on?

Faith Wood is a professional speaker, author, and certified professional behaviour analyst. Before her speaking and writing career, she served in law enforcement, which gives her a unique perspective on human behaviour and motivations. Faith is also known for her work as a novelist, with a focus on thrillers and suspense. Her background in law enforcement and understanding of human behaviour often play a significant role in her writing.

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The opinions expressed by our columnists and contributors are theirs alone and do not inherently or expressly reflect the views of our publication.

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