5 Life Lessons I Learned on the Golf Course!
In New York, it has only been about two months since the golf courses opened. For many that means that we have now moved from hibernating on our couches to playing some GOLF!
Before I moved to New York a little over 3 years ago to start Assistants 4 Hire, I was a PGA Golf Professional for 16 years... first, as an Assistant Golf Professional for several public golf courses and then as a University Women's Golf Coach for 13 years. I also was a member of the LPGA Futures Tour for 3 of those years and traveled during the summers to play professionally.
Essentially, my life was golf from the time I started competing at 7 years old until I was playing Nationally as a Junior. From there, I went to the NCAA Division I Golf; and well, you already read the rest.
All those years on the golf course taught me some amazing Life Lessons.
One of the most important steps to teaching someone golf proficiently is to teach them to visualize the shot they want to make before they actually hit the shot. You see the trajectory, where it will land, how will it bounce, and where it will end. And it is POWERFUL! The difference between a shot visualized and not visualized is immense.
So, now every morning I wake up and spend 10 minutes in what I call my “daily preparation meditation.” I review my schedule and then close my eyes and visualize my day. I see myself drinking my coffee, spending time with my daughter, and starting my day on my terms. I see myself laughing. I see Zoom meetings with clients or networking events with a smile on my face and an easy flow. I see my work getting completed and then celebrating with a glass of wine at the end of the day. Each day has its nuances, of course. Still, I try to imagine my energy as happy, engaging, and excited to be the author of my day!
In golf, it is called a pre-shot routine! You start with a physical trigger. Mine was always brushing my left hand across my left thigh. Then, I said a series of words with corresponding actions... a) Analyze (the lie, the kind of shot necessary)... b) Choose (the club to use)... c) Pick (choose my target)... d) Visualize (already explained above)... e) Feel (feel the swing I want to use for the shot)... f) Breathe (Deep Full Breath)... g) Trust (execute of the shot). When I would miss a shot, I would always analyze whether I was fully present for my entire routine; 9 out of 10 times, the answer would be "No."
In my life, I call it my daily routine... the things that I do every day without fail! ~ 1) Visualize my day!... 2)Give one hour of full attention to my daughter. This means, no TV and no Phone calls ~ only Belen and I doing whatever Belen wants to do! It is my favorite hour of every day!... 3) Meditate ~ I use Chopra Meditations. I have tried a few different meditations; Chopra Meditations are my favorite, and I do 20 minutes of each meditation... 4) Read my My Personal Mission Statement and Daily Affirmations... 5) Write 5 things I am grateful for at the end of each day. This routine is essential to my well-being. Just like in golf, when I come across a day where I am "out of whack," I think back to why; and 9 out of 10 times, it is because I forgot one of my 5 "essential" items to my routine that day!
3. It’s NOT THE MISTAKE; It’s THE RECOVERY THAT COUNTS:
The truth is that all of us are going to make a mistake. In golf, it is called the game of imperfection for a reason. The best golfers in the world… those on the PGA and LPGA... only hit 60% of their shots perfectly on their best rounds. So, imagine how many perfect shots they are hitting on their bad rounds and how many imperfect shots the rest of us hit on our best days.
In golf, the process is this ~ 1) Be accountable for your mis-shot… 2) Accept that you just made a less than desirable shot… 3) Forgive yourself… 4) Release all emotional attachment to the mistake (I used breathing methods and mantras)... 5) Find the next shot that is going to get you back in the game as quickly as possible... 6) Accept the score your mistake created and know you can recover on the next hole... 7) Learn from the mistake, and know that each mistake makes you better for your next shot, next hole, or next round.
In life, it is very similar. I make mistakes every day! Yes, every day. Still, the process I use to be better is very similar to those I taught to each one of my players ~ 1) Be accountable. If I made a mistake, I apologize; it can either be to another player or just to myself... 2) Accept that I still am in the process, even if it is the same mistake I have been making for the last 20 years... 3) Forgive myself (probably the most important and challenging step for me on and off the golf course)... 4) Release all the emotion attached to the mistake. Sometimes, this is anger, fear, sadness (I use meditation, talking to a friend, or just an old-fashioned crying session)... 5) I find my next move. What can I do to get back on track to where I want to be... 6) Accept the result of the mistake. Some are more challenging than others. Losing a client is probably the most challenging for me... 7) Learn from the mistake. The truth is that we can never go backward in our knowledge. We can only progress. For every mistake, we become more aware, more knowledgeable, and closer to figuring out what is most important to us!
4. ALWAYS HAVE A GAME PLAN:
Before each golf tournament, there is an essential practice round. During the practice round, many, many notes are taken ~ Where should you place your drive based off the angle of the green from the fairway? Where should you land your ball on the green if the flag is on the top right part of the green, if it’s in the middle, etc? The list goes on like this for 18 holes. Then, the night before, you go over your notes, you play the round hole by hole in your head, and see how you want your round to go the next day.
In life, my game plan consists of many components. I have my Business Plan that I wrote to map out how I would like the process of Assistants 4 Hire to go; and then I have my personal game plans which I do regularly… at least once a year. I write what I want my life to look like a year from now. I also have daily affirmations that talk about what I want my ideal life to look and feel like.
In both golf and in life, the more clear on what and how we want our next move to be, the easier it is to execute it!
5. AIM SMALL; MISS SMALL:
Arnold Palmer said... "Poor golfers stare at their ball and glance at their target; great golfers stare at their target and glance at the ball." In order to execute a shot to where you want it to go, you have to lock down on that target. To go further, the smaller that target is, the easier it is to execute the shot with more precision. An example is that if you are a golfer that misses your target by 5 yards on a missed shot and the green is your target and you miss, then you are five yards off the green. If you take that same shot and use the tip of the top of the tree limb that is indirectly behind the middle of the green and miss the target by 5 yards, now you are on the green (average green is 15 yards wide.)
The same rule applies in life. When I learned that Happiness was my number one priority in life through my Seven Habits of Highly Effective People Training by Steven R. Covey, it was eye-opening. Still, I had to figure out what happiness means to me. To me, it means living authentically to myself, having time for the people I love and myself every day, and having the freedom to pursue a career I love that gives me the financial freedom to travel. Once I figured out the exact things that create happiness, starting my own business became clear as a great way to achieve those things!
From my experience of 16 years teaching and coaching golf, the golfers that implemented these simple 5 steps were the ones that had the most dramatic transformations in their golf game. For many years, I have implemented the same principles in my life; and I have found the biggest transformation in my own life! I hope you can implement one or many of the same components in your own life!
CHEERS TO BETTER GOLF GAMES AND BETTER LIVES!