Practice does make perfect - but not all the time
Five years ago, I was invited to play in a Pro-Am on the Gold Coast, and as a casual golfer, realized that I needed some coaching to ensure that I didn't embarrass myself.
I did some quick qualifications on expertise in golf coaching because I needed someone patient, and who would be happy to work with someone that loses interest very quickly. In no time, I was recommended to a golf pro at Sanctuary Cove and commenced lessons with him. He had worked with some of the best players in the world and was now working at Sanctuary Cove after having survived cancer.
It took four weeks of coaching to find my natural swing and understand the different factors that come into play when having a round of golf; what club to tee off with, which one to use in a bunker, where to put your hands on the golf club and how to putt.
Like many people before me, I fell in love. Golf was and is a sport that is ideal for a person just like me.
Like many other business people, I had previously gone out and bought the best of everything; clubs, shoes, hat, balls, tees, clothes - I had it all. So much so that when I did play in Pro-Am's I was often mistaken as being the pro - much to the dismay of the talented pro's I played with.
Having celebrated my birthday recently, I put together a list of ten things that I wanted to do in the next year and one of them was to play golf every week. I still hadn't picked up a club in the six weeks since my birthday - until today.
A good friend invited me to play golf in Melbourne last week and to be totally honest, I hesitated. There was no other reason for it other than the fact that I hadn't played in a long time, and I am a person who likes to play well at any sport I undertake.
Today was different. With a colleague in Atlanta encouraging me to go down and hit some balls at the driving range, I was ready to "get back on the bike" - and I am so glad that I did.
After hitting about 100 balls, only five or so went off track. I hit ball after ball straight up in the air, falling not far from where I intended the ball to go. Ranging from 100 yards to 175 yards, I could hear the tap off most balls with the seven iron I was using as I hit them. Swinging without trying too hard and finishing just like I know I should - I was so excited to be back hitting a golf ball.
The anticipation of the lead up to hitting the ball was almost too much that I was putting this sport that I love off.
Now after hitting the ball so well, and not over-thinking my swing, hands and finish - I somehow overcome the jitters and incompetencies that usually fall into the first game back or in this case, the first opportunity to hit some balls.
With any sport, practice makes perfect. Just like in business. But sometimes, we hit a fluke and the first time we get it right. When that happens, it sends a message to our brains that we are invincible and can do anything - perhaps not needing to practice or to have everything in place.
I realized today that this happens more often than not in business. Business leaders often do speeches claiming that they got "lucky" but the reality is that many have not got "lucky", but instead have put in the hard yards, years of preparation and honing of skills, to get to the level that they have achieved.
Things to consider:
- Francis Scheid determined the odds of getting a hole in one for Golf Digest based on quality of player: PGA tour player has a 3,000 in one chance of hitting a hole in one. A low handicap player has a 5,000 and one chance. An average handicap player has a 12,000 in one chance.
LESSON 1: In business, getting it right for even the most experienced entrepreneurs is still statistically not favorable - so it is important to keep practicing and not bank on getting it right the first time.
- Even if you have all the right equipment - the best money can buy - it doesn't mean that you will be able to play.
LESSON 2: By all means have an office in the right location, employ people with the right qualifications and have the right product according to market research - but know that even then, you can't bank on success.
- Be psychologically prepared for the game ahead. Don't over-think things and make sure you focus on the ball, not the club, or your swing. The single reason why my game was on today was because my entire focus was on the ball. Not once did I consider anything else and only when I hit the ball, did I wait to hear the "clink" that said "I did my job".
LESSON 3: Passion, vision, determination and an ability to focus on the job at hand will make you more successful than any other aspect of what you can put in place to have a successful business.
Who's up for a game of golf?