Over the years, I've witnessed players at both ends of the scale. Recently, I was reminded just how delicate that balance is. A player has worked hard at her game and readied herself for a big competition. She prepared well and took a strong game to her tournament. Once there, she played well and managed everything well until.....she got caught in the trap of comparisons and her focus went to what she didn't do well and didn't have compared to others. Comparisons seem natural, but all the best players are unique. Seve was a scrambler. Lexi belts it. In Bee putts the lights out. Rory hits it long. Zach Johnson won a major with his wedges. I could go on and on naming a player and his or her outstanding quality. My question is, what is yours? What are you doing with it? Are you using it as a weapon or taking it for granted? Are you envious of others' outstanding qualities or happy with your own?
Take a minute and check out this great video blog about comparisons. Here is my favorite quote:
"When you compare, you take all the value on what other people are doing and stop recognizing your own magic....and you have magic. You know you do. You've used it before. That's the biggest tragedy to me; we don't remember that when we start comparing." Ishita Gupta's Blog
In a nutshell, a prepared player shot within 3 shots of the best round in a tournament. Her game was good and she used it to score. Then, in another format, she focused on what wasn't happening and what she wasn't doing or didn't have. On the first 12 holes, she had shot only +1 in the previous two rounds, yet in today's round she was +8. Did her game change or did her focus change?
"Focus is controlled by questions." Anthony Robbins
What questions did the player ask the first round, the second round and in the third round? Were they different? I would have to guess yes. What questions has she asked since playing? Has she returned with focus on what she did to play great golf or on what she is lacking? As I said earlier, we all need to strike a balance between these two strategies.
As a coach asking questions and attempting to lead focus, here are my questions for my players:
1. What do you need to do to prepare to play?
2. If you do those things, will you be enough when you step on the first tee?
3. What will your focus be on as you play?
4. When it wanders, what will you do to place it where you want it?
5. If you focus well, will you be enough on the course?
6. Are you operating from a base of learning and doing or a base of ego? (What I do or who I am?)
If your confidence is dependent upon your skills, your results or the attention your receive, it will always be streaky or hot and cold. Instead, base your confidence on being your best self in preparation, on the golf course and following play. Work hard on your skills to improve them, but remember your outstanding skill will carry you to greatness. Strive for great results, but understand they don't define you. Offer kindness, generosity and gratitude to those around you, but be clear that you can't control what others think of you. Revel in what you have and who you are and remember that they are enough.
Do you need an extreme example of a person who chooses how to define herself? Check out Lizzie! This is a person who has a great sense of humor about her life, chooses her own definition and has deep gratitude for many things.
I'll end by giving you some images of the wisest philosopher I know. This man knew all that Wayne Dyer, Tony Robbins and Eckhart Tolle teach, but he was just the Old Coach.