Posts Tagged ‘managing problem’

Focus: A Golf Lesson

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Sun beating down on my skin, a gentle breeze drying the sweat as quickly as it forms. Perfect weather for a day of golf. Standing on the 12th tee, a green cushion underfoot, and nothing but blue above. Through the first eleven holes I’ve shot the best round of my life. As I swing my driver to flex, stretch and prepare, my shoulders are loose. I’m calm. Confident. Ahhh, what a perfect day.

Setting the dimpled, white Titleist 3 on the tee, I step back and look up the fairway, taking in the beauty of the course. Pine and birch trees flanking fresh-cut grass, the tang of which as strong as bacon cooked over a campfire. Sunlight flickering off the birch leaves. Ahhh, what a day. Three ducks leave a wake in the subtlest of waves from the breeze on the water trap 75 yards ahead, between me and the green.

WHAT?! Holy crap! What is that, Lake Erie? Look at the size of that thing! Directly in front of me. Oh, come on – I don’t need that today. I’m playing the best round of my life. I don’t need this right now! Come on!

Okay, okay, just relax. Relax and focus. A couple of practice swings to make sure I don’t hit the ball into the water trap. Oops, did I tighten up my follow-through there? Better make sure I don’t do that when I hit the ball for real. Follow through. What’s that with my grip? Yeah, turn my grip just a little. I gotta hit this ball straight. And hard. Gotta get it over the water trap.

Yeah, that’s it. Drive the ball over the water. The water right there – get it over that. That’s all I need to do, and then I can go on with my best round ever. Damn, I hope I don’t hit my Titleist 3 in there. This is my favorite ball, the ball that’s helped me shoot the best round of my life so far.

I know, just in case I’ll use another ball. Swap my Titleist 3 on the tee with an old one – one of the Water Balls I keep in my bag just for these situations. Okay, there we go – that’s better. If I drive that old ball into the water, it doesn’t matter – I’ve still got my Titleist 3.

Okay, here we go. Time to drive this sucker over the water. Eye on the ball. Here we go… over that water trap. Hit it hard…

Damn! Oh man, that sucks – right in the water. Right in the middle, even. There goes my best round ever! Good thing I had my back up plan to use the old ball. But… Why did I have to mess up my great round?

Focus. It’s a funny thing, isn’t it? If we focus on something, we typically get it. Focus on a water trap and we drive the ball into it. Use a Water Ball and our brain knows what it’s supposed to do with it – hit it into the water. Or, focus on someone walking towards us on a sidewalk and (especially if the other person is focusing on us) we walk into each other. Focus on a problem and we get the problem. Focus on the back up plan and we need it.

Focus on where we want the ball to go and we hit over the water trap. Focus on the solution and we find it. Focus on making the plan work and we don’t need a back up plan.

Performance is all about focus. We can’t perform well if we’re focused in the wrong place. Whether on the golf course, in business, or wherever, focus on what you want.

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