I was reminded this past week how personal crisis and despair can quickly turn into personal triumph and joy. I am reluctant to share a golf story with you as I am more than aware that there are many of you who are not golfers or care to hear a golf story. However; it’s my article and I enjoy sharing my personal experiences, so bare with me.
What I most like about personal experiences is the opportunity to reflect on the lessons I learn. This past week on the golf course I was reminded of a truth that is essential to every student of personal development. I was reminded once again that negative, deflating momentum can quickly shift into positive, empowering momentum. And maybe the most important realization is that shift is not dependent on changing circumstances, but changing attitudes.
So; let’s get to my example. Paul Coates and I were on the golf course this past Tuesday. One of the perks of Paul working for me is that I will wake up on any given morning, see the sun shining and decide that we are going golfing. So; fortunately in the early season it is not difficult to get a tee time on the spur of the moment and we jumped on the course and proceeded to play. A few holes into the round I was regretting my decision to play as I was struggling with my golf swing and putting up some big numbers. In golf, the lower the score the better. After seven holes I was eight over par. Not good for me at all. In that moment I was into some nasty self talk, telling myself that it was going to be a long day on the course and that I was not going to get out of this funk that I was in. My golf swing was AWOL for the day and there was nothing I could do to shift my downward spiral.
For those who have golfed with me on more than one or two occasions, you have seen me go into a quiet sulky mood when I am not playing well. I retreat into self reflection and some self abuse waiting for a good outcome to pull me out of my funk. Now, I know better than most that the negativity and despair I am feeling in that moment is not about my golf swing or how poorly I am scoring, it is all about my attitude. I mean, come on, I’m outside on a beautiful spring day, playing the game I love, not in my office working my ass off trying to get one more person into whatever program that is coming up next. I have nothing to be grumpy about.
I decide to call on the one person that has golfed with me more than anyone else, who has had to put up with my moods on and off the course. Of course, I am talking about Christine. I text her at work and tell her that I am playing poorly. She knows where that can take me, so, she sends back a simple response, ‘Too bad, just relax and don’t think about it.’ I’m pretty sure she could have said, stop whining you spoiled brat, you are on the golf course while I am stuck in a cubby hole of an office.’ But, she knew just what to say to get me back on track with my attitude. It’s so special to have people in your life that get you and who know how to pull you out of your funk. I hope you have someone in your life like that.
Well; I took a deep breath, chose to be grateful for the beautiful day and reminded myself that my positive attitude is more important than a great score. On the next tee I stood over my ball, relaxed and emptied my mind of all the negative chatter and made a solid swing. On the last eleven holes I was three under par and ended up shooting a great score. Amazing how that happens.
Terry Lige is a Kelowna life coach and the founder & head facilitator of Inside Out Leadership. Experience life-changing breakthroughs in his transformational personal development workshops.