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The Mental Game of Golf

Your ‘A’ Game: Mindfulness + Confidence

Whether we are talking about the best that you bring to the golf course or to the workplace, your ‘A’ game – i.e. being your best and executing your best – is that wonderful combination of Confidence + Mindfulness.

Having your ‘A’ game includes being able to regulate your thoughts, feelings and actions when under pressure. It is about being in the moment and consciously activating a decision as oppose to impulsively reacting or being tentative and then acting too late.

Whether you follow golf or not, if you listened to the news this past week, you would have heard of the magnificent Master’s Tournament won by 21 year old Texan, Jordan
Spieth. The Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia is the first major tournament of the season and it is the event all qualified male professional golfers covet and dream of winning.

Jordan Spieth didn’t just dream of winning this tournament. He was on a mission to make this dream come true. He didn’t just win this tournament, he won decisively. He led the entire 4 day tournament from beginning to end. He played the golf course like a chess game: committed and focused on his well thought out strategy. His composure and golf shots were practically flawless. Such clutch putting! He executed the shots that he knew he could deliver on and he kept his emotions in tact. He played with the composure of a veteran golfer and Jordan is only 21 years old. Jordan Spieth challenged all the myths about golf and delivered what he believed he could deliver. He trusted himself and his capabilities implicitly.

Golf is a mental game – to play at the level of any golfer that qualified for the Masters tournament, you have to be an excellent professional player. To play well and win the tournament, you have to have the strength in your mental game: Confidence + Mindfulness.

Life is a mental game, if you will. To live it well, you need to articulate your goals (both personal and career), believe in yourself and map out a strategy to reach your goals knowing challenges will pop up now and then. John Lennon said “Life is what happens when you have made other plans”. We need to pursue our goals and we need to be resilient when ‘life happens’.

Jordan Spieth is not a Tiger Woods – he does not have the arrogance, or the antics, or the secrecy that surrounded Tiger Woods for years. Jordan lets you into his young life and lets you see who he is and who is important to him. His authenticity as a young man shines and you know that his authenticity will carry him through for years to come.

Jordan Spieth exudes compassion well beyond his years. He speaks truthfully and is able to articulate his thoughts and feelings without reservation. He credits the love and support of his family. The kindness and respect that he showed to each interviewer in every interview was genuine. And, he praises his younger sister who is a special needs teenager for keeping him grounded.

It is no secret that I enjoy the game of golf – both playing it and watching it. The lessons learned from the game are truly life lessons.

Whether I am working with clients who are stuck in their life or with counsellors or other professionals who are stuck in their careers, getting unstuck is first and foremost about connecting with your belief in self. Helping a client reconnect with his/her confidence begins with having the client articulate his/her competencies and capabilities.

Helping clients then define their ‘A’ game at work allows them to acknowledge that they have experienced situations of Confidence + Mindfulness. Recounting these successful happenings builds confidence and therefore builds a belief in your ‘A’ game. This recounting and connection to past successes are paramount to strengthening a belief in self. No one is well served if you do not have self-belief. As the old saying goes “A life lived in fear is a life half-lived’.

Building up your confidence takes on-going practice. Choosing positive affirmations and validating your small successes in life contribute to confidence building. Recognizing your strengths, acknowledging your weaknesses and deciding what you need to work on to better yourself and build your confidence are components of a self assessment. Conducting an assessment is the most important function in a counselling or coaching practice. It is the most important function in my practice.

Committing to bringing the practice of mindfulness into your daily life is a major step in reducing negative self-talk, increasing positive self-talk and in building your confidence. Stepping into your confidence along with being mindful will ultimately lead you to have the ability to develop and bring your ‘A’ game to the table when you need it most.

 

Photo courtesy: K.U.

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Claire Sutton Concordia University Montreal, Quebec - Alumni

Concordia University Montreal, Quebec - Alumni

RCC BC Association of Clinical Counsellors memebr Claire Sutton

A designation of the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors

Claire Sutton EAPA International Member

EAPA International Member

Claire Sutton University of British Columbia - Alumni

University of British Columbia - Alumni

Canadian Employee Assistance Program Association

Canadian Employee Assistance Program Association