What’s Golf Got To Do With It?
Have you ever connected with the golf ball just-right causing it to land exactly where you intended it to?
by Nicolette Brant and Maria Yurasek, MD
Remember your delight when your work-team accomplished a key objective after serious hurdles and set-backs? Have you ever found yourself with a smile on across your face as your child demonstrates mature behavior, making the right choice despite external pressures in a difficult situation? Can you remember the last time you went to bed and woke up in the morning feeling great about the day ahead?
What do these scenarios have in common? What feelings do these scenarios evoke? Satisfaction, accomplishment, an “ah-h I’ve done my job right”, passion, flow, an “all is right with my life” sense of fulfillment? Some people call it “the sweet spot” (Deepak Chopra), “finding flow” (M. Csikszentmihalyi), “the happy place” (Happy Gilmore). Why do these situations produce these great feelings?
People who choose to realize a fulfilling life, find the life-model of purpose, vision, plan, act, assess, and re-visit a useful tool. These words in this model, depending upon the context we are exploring, may also be expressed as mission, goals, objectives, implementation, key measurables, analysis, par, handicap and many other terms.
I encourage you to use the words that fit for your life and address these topics and questions daily. Using a journal will help you with your progress. A good coach, by creating an unconditional, non-judgmental, safe and supportive space with you may also prove helpful to you as you look inward to express outward your authentic self.
Clarify your purpose: “Authentic Swing”
“Inside each and every one of us is one true authentic swing. ....something that is ours and ours alone. Something that can't be taught to you or learned, something that has to be remembered. Over time, the world can rob us of that swing and it gets buried inside of us with all the woulda, coulda, shoulda'. Some folks even forget what their swing was like. You can't make it happen; you have to just let it find you." From a novel by Steven Pressfield
What is it you are trying to do? What were you put on this earth, at this time, to do? Core values and beliefs are also expressed here. Write it down. Refer to it often. It is only after one has cleared out the chaos, the cell phones, the endless e-mails, barking dogs, arguing teenagers – sound familiar to anyone???- One can allow for unhurried thought, digestion and then clear enunciation of the central purpose of why one is alive.
Create your vision
“You can’t see the flag as some dragon you got to slay. You got to look with soft eyes to see the place where the tide and the seasons and the turning of the earth all come together and everything that IS becomes one--- you have to seek that place with your soul” From a novel by Steven Pressfield
This is what your purpose, in action, realizes. What does this look like? Feel like? Taste like? Sound like? Craft this so you can BE it every day.
Plan your action: mapping the WHO you are with the WHAT you do
Now you are clear why you want to do what you want to do, your being clearly knows what this looks like when you do it, now, you must plan the action you WILL take to get you there. You must engineer your daily activities so that you get the most rewarding experiences from them. Put dates, measurables, and desired results from each action step that will take you to the next step. Craft this plan to be mindful of your purpose statement and vision. This is key!
Make the steps happen
Be the Nike commercial and “Do It”, with full intention and attention and authentically. Be fully engaged and present.
“He has a lot of shots he could choose from but there’s only one shot that’s in harmony with the field, one shot that’s his authentic shot and that shot is going to choose him.” … From a novel by Steven Pressfield
Be aware, be VERY aware
Remember in action planning, we said that it was important to be mindful of purpose and vision? Well, this is where it really comes into play! When the steps we take, the actions we perform, align with who we are and what we are about, we are more synchronous and harmonious. When our actions are not in alignment, they are mere action, doings, “busy work” and we become disenchanted (Kind of like “I keep hitting the ball over and over again and nothing great happens”). Understand and respect the current level of harmony or disharmony we are experiencing in our life.
In a world of constant surprises, lives and careers must be redesigned over and over again, as we live them. Clarifying that indeed the linear paths, the so-called “cultural rules” we learned about as children and adolescents no longer work. We are in constant turmoil and as healthy golfers, individuals, business teammates, moms, wives, friends, sisters, daughters, however many roles in which we are engaged, we must create the dreams and not only limit ourselves to those provided to us by external forces. We also need to learn how to seek the support and summon the courage to let go of those areas of life that don’t support the dreams any more. A coach can be a valuable asset towards this effort.
The territory we are navigating as an adult has peaks and valleys, occasional sand traps, water hazards, dog-legs and yes even trees and shrubs. Clear out the “garbage” of the last bad hole, shift out the constant chatter of our inner self in order to renew the perspective for that next hole, we need to do that as we rise to the challenge of a transition.
In today’s world, it is not enough to work hard, to work smart, or to just be efficient. As the lines blur between work and personal lives, the most fulfilled individuals are those who are committed to evolve with and engage in life-long learning. Those individuals that create and engage in these learning opportunities that support the development and alignment of purpose, vision and actions are those who live successful, authentic, meaningful and fulfilling lives.
Dr. Deepak Chopra calls the feat we must successfully achieve in golf – finding “the sweet spot in yourself”, the “place that knows what to do”. By incorporating these steps in your approach to your life-game and golf game, our “sweet spot”, our “happy place”, “flow”, our “authentic swing” can be realized.
Aquila Partners, founded by Nicolette Brandt and Maria Yurasek, MD in 2002, is a coaching and consulting company that assists individuals, work teams and leaders in becoming masters of change with proactive lives and careers by enhancing personal and professional leadership, clarifying and understanding of values and passion, navigating change and gaining resilience