And just like that…it was gone.
The last few years, I have enjoyed going away for a few days and playing in a golf tournament. There are four flights: A – D. I have been a D player. It was only four years ago that I picked up the sport, took lessons to gradually improve and now was able to compete in a tournament.
Two years ago, I came in last place out of the sixteen guys competing. I did not tally one point for my team. Last year, I was came into the last day with no points. I was playing well and leading my division going into the last day. But on hole fifteen, my game left me. The first line said it best – my game was gone. I couldn’t hit anything. I stood over the ball with no idea of how to hit it. I ended up losing to everyone again. And again, I came in last place. (Ironically, the prize for coming in last place is a golf lesson. Which I appreciate.)
After that melt down, I went back and had a great chat about mental toughness with one of my mentors. It was a great talk – no formula, no easy gimmicks, nothing about having it given to you. A great friend, Kevin Carr, had me thinking about it years before when he introduced me to his 9 Medallions of Leadership. One was mental toughness. These two conversations crystalized into my own project on growing in this area. Over the last year, I worked on it.
This year, I went to the tournament determined to play well. The first two days were terrible. My driver was all over, even on good shots the ball rolling out-of-bounds. The third day, my partner and I worked together to beat a better team. I was able to step up on the last hole and put the second shot ten feet from the cup. It was a great win for us. The last day, I was again in the D flight. For the first time in my life, I played each hole totally focused on the hole. To do that for eighteen holes is tough and draining. I was so tired after the round. I still had bad drives, mishits and missed putts. The difference was that I didn’t let those mistakes define each hole. I would go to the next shot and get back into it. In the end, I won my flight. It was so cool.
So here are my takeaways on what I did to be mentally strong.
- Take it one shot at a time.
- Take ten seconds to focus before each shot.
- Take time to not focus on the game but to celebrate/ enjoy the other people. (great guys)
- Ask myself – How do I help myself when something doesn’t go right?
- Stay positive.
- Victory Talk – Talk positively to myself.
- Break it down into small wins. (Each hole had a win, even if I lost the hole)
I have not achieved the level of mental toughness I want to be at yet. For one day, I got to see the benefits of it. It was transformational to be that locked into something and to see the win.
What your day look like if you did one of these in your job, relationships or in areas of challenge? Growth is good!