5 Lessons Golf Can Teach You About Business
There is no way around it – you have to work to succeed in business.
But doesn’t it seem like some people are able to succeed without having to work quite as hard?
I know I’ve been caught in the trap before where I feel like I’m working all the time, but staying in the same place.
That’s a frustrating place to be with anything you’re doing especially with a business. You’re putting in the time and getting things done, but it’s not moving you forward to your goal.
For me, the same could be said about my golf game. For years it’s been stuck in the same rut. My scores stay the same. The same mistakes and tendencies are always there. I work on things and make a few improvements, but it seems like once I get something kind of right that something else goes all to hell.
My frustration with golf led to me read about the pros and how they practice to try and figure out ways to be more productive. After doing that, my game has improved. And the same concepts can be applied to your business.
1. Work On Getting The Most Return
When I felt like I was working too much I realized that what I was working on wasn’t going to give me the results I wanted. So I made a list of what would help me get those results. Then I re-prioritized the tasks I would work on every day.
Golfers that are really good have the ability to work on the things that will give them the most return. If you watch golf you probably know that Rory McIlroy is the current number one player in the world. He’s said on a few occasions that for him, driving is the most important part of his game.
He certainly works on all parts of his game, but he puts the most thought and effort into driving. He leads the Tour in just about all the driving categories and he’s the best player in the world.
And if you look at history, the best players have just about always been the best drivers. You still need to work on your putting and short game, but history shows that the best golfers are the best with their driver shots and approach shots.
Find out what area of your business is most like to deliver the biggest return and put most of your effort there. The rest comes second.
2. Practice By Doing
I’ve read two stories from two great golfers. The first is Jack Nicklaus and the second is John Daly. Each player would prepare by going to a hole on a golf course and playing a variety of different shots on that hole.
Nicklaus would prepare for majors by analyzing the holes he would need to play. Then he would go home to his own course and find shots like the ones he would need to play. And he would practice those shots on the course (not the range).
John Daly said he learned everything about golf from Jack Nicklaus’s books. So it’s no surprise that for practice, Daly will go to a hole on the course and hit different shots.
They will hit shots on the range, but they see the value in being on the course.
One thing that’s happened to me with business is not getting things done. I’ll make plans. I’ll do all the work leading up to taking action, but will never take action instead opting for more refining.
It might be a blog post or a new product launch.
When it comes to business, you need something good enough to go to market, but not perfect. Pro golfers can hit all kinds of shots on the range, but they need to get experience on the course and so do you.
Publish those blog posts. Release those products. Get out there and do what you have to do. Cold call those prospects and learn by doing.
3. Don’t Get Too High Or Too Low
This is one I’ve struggled with in golf. During my early teen and even later teen years I would get really hot on the golf course. If I hit one bad shot it would ruin my entire round.
That’s obviously not a good way to play golf. One bad shot doesn’t define a round. Everybody, even the pros, hit multiple bad shots per round. It’s their ability to bounce back from those shots that defines the great ones.
So I’ve learned to not get too high or too low on the course. Today, if I hit a bad shot I’ll keep grinding and telling myself that the good shots will start to come.
And even if I hit a good shot and make a good score I’ll tell myself that it was great, but to keep the focus on the next shot. When you start to see those fluctuations you can get in trouble.
Keep it on the level during the round. Once you’re done you can focus on the good and the bad. But don’t let it linger too long because it’s time to move on to the next thing.
The same works for business. It’s really hard when a client leaves, but it’s not the end of the world. Keep on moving forward telling yourself that you’re doing the right things and that more customers will come. Certainly pay attention when you notice trends and make changes, but don’t overreact.
And the same goes for those times when you get high. It’s good to enjoy things, but constant fluctuations can drive you crazy.
4. Stay In The Moment
I kind of touched on this in the previous point. It’s really challenging to stay in the moment no matter what you’re doing. It happens to me all the time in golf, but it happens less now that it used to.
I would make a bad score and I’d be thinking about the final score I would shoot. Now if a bad hole happens I try to focus only on the next hole and the next shot. I work a plan in my head and try to executive on that plan.
In business, you start with a plan and a vision. But then you work on individual tasks to reach that goal. Sometimes you’re so busy working on those tasks that one day you look up and you’ve reached your goal.
That happens to the best golfers. They’re so caught up in each hole that before they know it the’ve shot the best round of their life.
Try to get that mentality going in business and good things will happen.
5. Take Time Away
Golf is a grind. There are some stretches where I get into practicing all the time. That certainly helps and it’s necessary, but there are other times where I’ll be away for a few weeks or even a month and I’ll come out and shoot a great score.
I’ve read that pros have the same thing happen to them only on a much bigger scale.
Don’t take this one the wrong way. You have to practice, but taking time off can help. Pros will often work hard for a few weeks leading up to a tournament only to take some time away right before the tournament. They get refreshed. Or they’ll take the time off first and come back and practice the week leading up to a tournament.
Either way, that time away is important no matter what you’re doing. If you’re doing something all the time you’ll wear yourself out. Your senses will all suffer including your brain function. That leads to poor work and poor decisions.
Allow yourself time away to recharge. Go on a vacation. Or even golf for a walk. It can all help to get those creative juices flowing again.
Maybe you could even hit the course.
Golf and business often go together. Golf is a great setting for getting to know people, which can come in handy if you’re forming a partnership of some kind. It’s also a good setting for meeting new people and building your network.
But you can also pick up on the strategies the best golfers in the world use to improve. If you’re stuck in your business and working too much then use the items above to start working on the right things. You owe it to yourself to start building that business.