January 4, 2018 Chris Fuller

’18… Lessons from the Links

It’s the start of another year and if we are going to play ’18 at our best we need a few mental pictures to help us start. For me, while I’m not an avid golfer, playing 18 immediately brought the sport to my mind.

So what are the lessons we can pull from Golf to have ’18 be our best year ever? (Let’s go Par 5!)

1. The game is mental, first. If your mind is not in the right space, you will never be fully present, be able to fully concentrate, and be in the right state of mind to achieve success. The disruptions and distractions of a cluttered mind, chaotically focusing on everything else but the next shot, is a recipe for failure.

Action points:

Where are your thoughts? Where is your ‘Head Space’? How’s your EQ (Emotional Intelligence)?

  • Clear your mind of all the clutter by writing it all down on paper.
  • Clearly define your desired end state. (What do you want to happen and by when?)
    • Par won’t cut it – we can’t make ’18 the best while settling for status quo.
  • Work on your EQ: Self-awareness and Self-Management.
    • What are the reinforcing thoughts of a champion? (Think on these things rather than the negative, defeating self-talk.)

2. Play YOUR game. All golfers have strengths and struggles within their game. Some are better in their long game – as they ‘tee-up’ the first shot, they can rip it. But their intermediate or short game suffers (They have trouble finishing). Others struggle with using their woods but are killer with their irons and on the green.

Action points:

Where are your strengths? Where are your struggles? How can you play to your strengths?

  • Take time to learn your strengths, your approach. What parts of the game are you great?
  • Identify areas of your game that you want to improve and work on those AND while you are working on them, whom can you link up with that is strong where you struggle?
    • Business allows us to play “Best-Ball” which play into one of my Fullerisms: “Lead where you are strong, Team where you are weak!”

3. The next shot. Speaking of the next shot, that has to be a significant focus. We study the course, layout our plan, know the landscape we will be facing. We prepare for the entire course BUT the only shot we can make is THE. NEXT. SHOT. You can’t play 18 all at once. You play 18, one hole at time, and even more than that – one stroke at a time. Worrying about the next hole or the difficult part coming up can ruin THIS shot and you can only play this shot from where it lays. Where are you now? (What is your lie?)


Action points:

Where does your ball lie? What is the best next shot?

  • You can’t play someone else’s lie. You can only play your own.
    • You are going to get in the rough. You will have to play from ‘less than ideal’ circumstances. Get over that and get ready to take the next shot.
  • You have options, consider all.
    • Where is the pin? (Situational Analysis)
      • Can I aim for that? Or do I need to get to a better place where I can make a better shot?
    • Which is the best club to use? For me, for now, in this situation?
      • Again, from where I am right now, what is the best – ‘Next Shot’?
    • What does my Caddy or coach think? Can I get an outside opinion?
  • TAKE. THE. SHOT. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take AND there is a time limit in professional play.
    • Remember to focus on EQ (Self right first).
    • Trust in your training and do what you know how to do.
      • You will play like you practice.
        • Practice makes permanent. You won’t get better by repeating poor performance. You will reinforce bad habits. Practice the right things, the right ways, so that when it comes time, you’ll have the right muscle memory.
        • Spend time working your way out of difficult circumstances and ‘normalize’ to tough situations. The goal is to not get there in the first place but if you find yourself in a tough spot – it helps tremendously to have been there before and have practiced multiple ways to get yourself out of a jam.

4. Character Matters. You can find yourself in a rough spot and want to cheat. DON’T. Golf is the only sport where it is normal to call a penalty on yourself. When keeping score, the most important aspect is keeping your self-respect while keeping score. To win at a game and fail at life is a shame. We have all fallen short – we all need life ‘mulligans’ AND, having said that, they should be the exception not the rule.

Action points:

What are my Values? My non-negotiables?

  • Determine your values before you get into potentially compromising situations.
  • Stay out of areas of vulnerability.
  • Make your values known – loud and proud – as a defense mechanism, a first wall of accountability.
  • Am I playing life in such a way that honors those that have played before me and sets the standard for those that will follow?

5. Who you play with matters. There are two sides to this point. First, we are more likely to become more like those with whom we spend time. If you want to elevate your game, elevate those around you. Second, the game is best played with great friends. Life is lived best when lived with others that bring the best out of us.

Action points:

Who is in your group? With whom am I paired?

  • Surround yourself with ‘A+’ players and work like crazy to be worthy of being in their group.
    • Can you find a Mentor? Mastermind group? Colleagues? Coach?
    • Surround yourself with people of Growth – personally and professionally.

Attitude isn’t everything but it’s pretty darn close!

  • Love what you do and who you do it with

OK – Let’s drain this putt and head for the clubhouse!

For 2018, let’s have a blast – let’s enjoy the game that we are in and enjoy the people around us. Line out what you want out of the 2018 course. Know yourself, your mental state, your EQ, and your skillset. Practice your craft. Even from the rough spots! Don’t worry about all 18 holes and the 80-100 strokes it’s going to take to get there – focus on self, par won’t cut it, focus on the NEXT shot, and give it all you’ve got!

May the winds be fair and the greens be favorable!

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