When I was growing up, I caddied at the local country club for about nine years. I was a good caddy. I got paid well. I even had the opportunity to caddy on the Nike Tour (now the Web.com Tour). It was a great job, not least of all because I was able to spend four hours each day with some of the most successful businessmen in my home town. Those many rounds on the golf course taught me a lot about golf, a lot about business, and a lot about life.
Today I attended a program that reminded me of those many things I learned, and showed even more clearly how golf can teach you a lot about life and business. And how golf can be a lens through which or a vehicle to developing yourself more fully as a human person. Jeff Ritter of MTT Performance discussed how to use principles that athletes apply to their golf game and other sports to life. There was far more discussed than I can put in one post, but here are three steps he discussed for developing as a person and an entrepreneur:
We need to be clear about various aspects of our life: personal, professional, family, and other. To get clear, think boldly. Imagine things that seem impossible. Only if you stretch your imagination will you be able to see what it is you really want in life so that you can prepare and pursue it.
“The HOW is inherent with the WHAT.” If you figure out what it is you want, then the how will take care of itself. The key is to have the courage to move forward when you identify the what. So many people do not bring their plans and businesses to life because they lack the courage to move forward.
Muscles only grow through continued pressure. If we do not exercise discipline in life, we cannot call it into being at a moment’s notice. Discipline is a habit, which needs to be practiced regularly. Muscles grow through continued pressure, and muscle memory helps us do things consistently again and again. In golf, you have the same swing time and again. In life, you can be disciplined in every aspect of your life.
To move through these three steps, there are four helpful things to think about for which Ritter had four phrases:
“What I think is what I do.” IMAGERY–in sports terms, you see the shot, you visualize your success. In business, you do the same thing and it changes your mindset and moves you to actually pursue it.
“Create the state, don’t wait.” EMOTIONAL MASTERY–we are often taught that things outside of us must dictate our feelings. We ask people about good or bad things that have happened to them and we all think that those things should dictate whether we feel good or bad as a result. The truth is that we can control our emotions more than we think. We can, essentially, make ourselves happy and confident by looking internally and calling to mind events that have created those emotions in the past. When going into a meeting to pitch your new concept, this can be a very powerful tool.
“Live above the ‘O’ line.” PERSPECTIVE–the “O” stands for “observation.” We need to see what is actually going on objectively and have the proper perspective of our situation.
“The intelligence of fun.” FLOW–Jeff explained that more than 85% of workers report that they are unsatisfied with their work, that they are spending most of the hours of most of their days doing things that they mostly dislike. It’s no way to live. So, find what makes you happy that you want to pursue and pursue it wholeheartedly. How big can you think? How fast can you act?
Ritter’s talk came at an ideal time for me as I am thinking through a new potential business opportunity–one of those side businesses that could turn into a full-time business. It’s exciting. And I’ve got to get going with it. As Seth Godin would say, Go make art.