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Approaching Each Shot

I enjoy talking about and reflecting upon the approaches people take to achieve success regardless the task.

As many know, I also love reading and seek insight from books- whether they are fiction or non-fiction. This weekend I was introduced to a new book about success.

While sitting around the breakfast table with good friends on Saturday, the topic turned to golf- a sport that many at the table enjoy. Those familiar with the game will, I think, acknowledge the fickle nature of it. Consistency and predictability, so often desired, are more often elusive. One can work hard to hone skills but then shoot a disastrous round, while another could walk onto the course having not played for a long time and perform well. It seems to me that life can be like this as well.

A friend described the book she was reading, Be A Player: A Breakthrough Approach to Playing Better on the Course written by two golf coaches, Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott. its premise could well be one for life.

Here is a short excerpt: “One of the coolest things about the first tee is that it is a metaphor for what lies ahead of us- on the course and within ourselves. Whether we are professionals, low-handicap amateurs, or weekend players, we’ve got 18 opportunities to get the ball in the hole. Along the way we’ll encounter good and bad lies, difficult and easy pin positions, fast and slow greens, and pleasant and unpleasant weather and playing partners. Did we mention that we have no control over any of this? How we approach (and manage) lucky and unlucky bounces- internal and external- is part of the seductive (or maddening) mystery of the game.”

This passage immediately reminded me of the important approach to teaching and guiding our girls. While there are no guarantees in life- with ups and downs, successes and stumbles, complex friendships and relationships- the ability to manage the uncertainty is fundamental to success.

Many a time, I have come to a tee where, in the past, I have sliced the shot. The key for me is to remember the skills I have learned, shake off the negative past experience and approach the shot as a new opportunity. Human nature is such that our negative experiences often stick longer than our positive ones- particularly as we learn.

As we push ourselves and guide others, it is important that we highlight the importance of taking each moment, challenge or activity as a fresh opportunity for learning and success. While life can sometimes bounce us arbitrarily to and fro, our thinking about our experiences can help us not only to withstand the events but also to hone our skills and deepen our understanding.

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