Golf and Decisions: Take a Deep Breath

I am sitting in a condo at Hilton Head Island this morning. The sun is shining, the air is crisp - in short, it's a beautiful day. In a couple of hours, I will be standing on the first tee of Robbers Row - a nice golf course within walking distance of our condo. All the typical thoughts will run through my head - keep your head down, watch the pace of your backswing, see the club hit the ball. And, in all likelihood, I will shank my first shot. In fairness, I haven't played golf in several months, so a shank on the first tee is somewhat understandable, but I think there's more to it than that simple fact. I think the thoughts running through my head will be the major culprit behind the shank. I know, from experience, that when I take a deep breath and don't think, I hit the ball much better. In our business life, we hit shanks too. I think most of them come from having too many thoughts in our head. We can't focus with a symphony of voices shouting different messages. And we "pull the club back" on a decision only to have the club "lurch forward" in an uncontrolled manner that results in "hitting the ball" off target. In business as in golf, once we've made a decision (like addressing the ball on the first tee), we need to take a deep breath and just hit the ball - stop thinking and just do what you know has to be done - let your "muscle memory" take over and watch the results.

I know it's difficult to just let the club swing when you haven't played golf in a while - just like it's difficult to just "let the club swing" on a decision. But it's what you have to do. The first swing may not get all the results you hoped for, but the next swing will get better and at the end of the day, you'll be looking forward to doing it again tomorrow.