It’s been said that Golf is at least 80% mental, yet many golfers choose to focus their effort on technique, believing that if they can just improve their swing they will deliver the killer shot. But the Pro’s know that if they are going to make a difference and beat the competition they need to develop their mental game.
The same can be said of the boardroom. If you are going to lead your organisation to success, or transform your business from good to great, you need to develop your mental game as well as your ability to lead. But, just as in golf, the answer to improving your game is not in looking closer at the problems that might be causing you to have sleepless nights, but in looking in the direction of the principles behind the mental game.
The principles behind our mental game are often referred to as Mind, Thought and Consciousness, so lets take each of those in turn and see what’s going on, using our metaphor of golf.
Mind – The principle of Mind is where our insight comes from. The decision to use a particular driver at the Tee, or to use a Sand Wedge to get out of the bunker, could be considered to be your insight, but it’s mostly reliant on ‘old’ data. But, for some golfers they have a moment of inspiration and choose an extraordinary solution to the presenting circumstance. Some might say that this is because they have accessed their mind, or the intelligence behind life, to find fresh thinking that creates a spectacular result. This inspiration enables them to transform their game and deliver exponential results. Take this to the boardroom and you find business leaders like Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos or Kat Cole, who are able to make exponential progress by learning to access ‘mind’ and trust the wisdom they receive to make the transformation necessary.
Thought – The Principle of Thought is where our perception originates. We are receiving data all day every day and the way in which we interpret this data is largely dependent upon the filter through which we are perceiving it. When you are playing off the Tee and your ball misses the fairway and goes into the rough or a bunker, some golfers reaction is to become down-hearted and beat on themselves, especially when peers are nearby. I once heard of a golfer who broke her driver by bashing it on the floor because she had played a bad shot. But, your personal security and wellbeing can never come from a golf ball, a driver or the fairway, they are neutral and to believe otherwise is a matter of your perception and understanding of how the Principle of Thought works. In the boardroom, we can sometimes believe that our stress or anxiety is coming from the half-year results, or a particularly challenging NED, or the relationship with the Chair, but this is never the case. Our stress or anxiety is a result of the Principle of Thought taking form in the moment. When we see this, we are able to pay less attention to the stress and anxiety and tap into ‘Mind’ for insight and access the innate resources we already have.
Consciousness – The Principle of Consciousness is our level of awareness of who we are and the nature of Mind and Thought. On the green, if we have a high level of consciousness we realise that our safety and security is not vested in ‘sinking’ the ball, so we are free to play with ease and remain calm, which inevitably improves our game and we have a greater success rate. If we are ‘up-in-our-head’ about putting the ball, we may become anxious and nervous and our game suffers. In the clubhouse, we might be celebrating the joy or the game, or drowning our sorrows with alcohol. If we are drowning our sorrows, it simply means that at our present level consciousness we are using alcohol as a means of removing the pain of losing. Whilst another ‘loser’ might be celebrating with the others, because they have a higher level of consciousness and know that they don’t have to pay attention to the sorrowful feelings, because they are just thought taking form in the moment and will soon pass. In the boardroom, the process is exactly the same depending on our level of consciousness, which can lead to better decisions and exponential performance or bad feels that we believe can be dampened down with substances or reckless behaviour.
So, improving your game of golf might very well improve your business if you focus on the mental side of the game. And, whilst golf may not be your particular sport of choice, the analogy remains the same in whatever context you find yourself. If you’d like to find out more, please contact me and lets talk.