A bad game of golf, a busted business deal, or a disappointing day — they all share a common villain: Pressure.
Dive into my roller-coaster rounds on the green and discover how this invisible burden creeps into the corners of our lives.
More importantly, learn how to chip it out of your mental bunker, both on the course and in the boardroom. Swing by, and let's get you out of the rough and back onto the fairway of life!
#Unleashed #GolfLife #MindsetMatters 🏌️♂️🌟
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Over the last few months, I played in two golf competitions for which I was eagerly looking forward to. My game was in great shape and I was primed to show it off.
The first event was my annual buddies golf weekend comprising of three rounds to defend my title.
I was terrible. Awful. Not good. You get the picture.
Oh well, that’s golf, right? Preparations began for my trip to Niagara Falls to play in the annual US-Canada Rotary Fellowship Golf tournament. Certainly, I’d found my groove subsequent to my August disaster. Excitement was high!
Another three rounds. More terrible. More awful. More not good.
With that, my next course of action was to do what any lunatic golfer does after atrocious showings. I dug into the data.
My findings were surprising. In the 20 previous rounds compiled on my Golf Handicap Index (GHIN), my scoring in competitive rounds was significantly higher. While this doesn’t sound abnormal, the delta was.
The data showed that in competitive rounds my score increased by over 7 strokes per round! While the expectation is that competitive play will produce higher scores, let’s face it, these “tournaments” were for fun. I wasn’t trying to earn a professional tour card!
The question was why. I didn’t feel nervous, in fact, I was enthusiastic. Then I heard a podcast that impacted my thinking of golf, business, and life.
As mentioned, my mindset was excitement, not nervous. My hopes were high for strong showings. The problem was that my expectations created a hidden pressure on myself. And when things go a little sideways, as they always do golf, that pressure intensifies and leads to poor performance.
For me, the increased pressure was manifest in tightness and hurriedness. I became impatient, frustrated, and at times angry. Now I have something to work on in the future when the situation is the same.
What about business and life, you ask?
Impractical expectations often lead to pressure. We don’t feel that pressure until it becomes manifest in our behaviors and mindset. You might find similar examples like me - impatience, frustration, anger, and stress.
Have you ever felt “stressed out?” The stress just might be the consequence of internal pressure to make more money, be more places, get that promotion, be a better spouse, parent, caregiver, or a multitude of other professional and personal things.
The other deleterious manifestation of pressure is that it takes us out of the present. In both my golf game and life, not staying in the present leads to rushing, edginess, and ultimately anxiety. In almost all cases, I get quiet, and that’s usually the first sign of trouble. I’ve improved at dialing that back before it becomes unhealthy, but the opportunity of the present is lost.
Athletes don’t perform well under pressure, as they try too hard. Rather they perform best when their minds and attitudes are present and relaxed.
What about you?
In what situations do you put too much pressure on yourself? How do you know? What are the consequences in your business and life? And, this is important, are you able to catch it before it becomes dangerous to your mind, body, and relationships?
Pressure starts out silent. We rarely feel it until things start going sideways. It’s at that moment that we can start dialing back the pressure by showing kindness and compassion to ourselves. This allows us to relax and accept whatever happens next.
And the good news is that regardless of what happens next, we will be “present” for it.
Keep chasing unleashed.