Have you been feeling a little beaten down by your game lately?
To add some Christmas cheer to your game, I’ve got a great 3-part strategy you can use to finish the year feeling and playing much better.
Even the best players in the world can’t avoid the natural ups and downs that this game presents. But how they manage to surf those ups and downs without crashing and burning is what this post is all about.
Last night, holding to a tradition set long ago with the first Star Wars movie, I spent the evening at the theater with my dad enjoying the most recent installment, The Last Jedi.
(Spoiler alert if you haven’t seen it yet.)
It was a treat to the diehard fans to see Master Yoda once again, espousing his great wisdom. In an effort to provide Luke Skywalker perspective on his life, Yoda wisely instructed, “The greatest teacher, failure is.”
Do you perceive failure as a great teacher in your golf game? I expect not. Yet, that’s the secret to success for so many strong players. They don’t allow failure to drag them down. They use failure to build themselves up. They know that failure is the predecessor to their next big win.
My goal in this post is to help you improve your appreciation of failure in life and golf. Here are three strategies to help you begin to use failure as a roadmap to success in your game —
Keep Your Mind on the Right Prize
When I work with a new client, I always start by evaluating their pre-shot routine. A golfer who desires to play consistently must possess the right thinking habits that lead the way on every shot. But so often, golfers are juggling what they do and don’t want to do at the same time, which makes it impossible to achieve success.
Your first thought leads the way toward a good shot or a poor one. If you are focused on how to avoid a hazard, or running a checklist of what you don’t want to repeat in your swing, you’re not keeping your mind on the prize. The more you focus on how to avoid failing, the less you can focus your mind on how to succeed.
Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success. – Robert T. Kiyosaki
Begin each pre-shot routine with a disciplined approach. Choose one thought that will lead you into the shot that you actually want to hit, and nothing else. You have a choice to be the master or the slave of your thoughts. This is how you can stay in the power seat.
Find the Lesson You Can Use as a Launchpad
Mistakes will happen in golf. It’s what you do with them that will define you as a player, and dictate whether or not you ever reach the heights you can in the game. My second step with every new client is to teach them how to play with a post-shot routine, so they can learn how to think like a scholar instead of always being a critic of their game.
The best thing about failure is the experience you gain by going through it. And there are some shot doozies that you couldn’t intentionally create no matter how hard you tried. But the bigger the mistake, the bigger the potential lesson — only if you are willing to pause long enough to figure it out.
Mistakes are the portals to discovery. – James Joyce
When I’m on the course with a client, we always take the time to talk through the benefit of a missed shot. My goal is that the client finishes the session better, stronger, smarter than how he or she started. Failure provides the best eye-openers to making improvements along the way, but only for those who are looking to find value through loss. Are you?
Be Grateful for Your Gains
When I receive an update from a client, I don’t mind hearing about the struggles they had during a round, but want to have the complete picture in order to provide the most assistance. What they sometimes leave out, are the gains they made.
Every round of golf is another opportunity to test and evaluate just how far you’ve grown as a player — mentally, emotionally, physically, technically and strategically. No matter how well you play, there’s always going to be room to improve.
But inside every round, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to really celebrate your wins if you want them to become sustainable strengths you can rely on in future rounds. It’s all about choosing to play with a perspective in balance.
Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. – Winston Churchill
A win, even if it was just one well-played shot on a hole you doubled, counts. It represents a shot that is worth repeating. Only be taking a moment to appreciate your gains will you increase the likelihood of producing more shots like that as you play on.
I hope it’s clear that these steps are not a “fake it” approach. What I teach is a practical, repeatable and profitable way of thinking. If you would like to experience more cheer in your game, I highly recommend you stay on top of your thought habits going into the New Year.
If you have any questions about these strategies, please feel free to leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!