Make Your First Putt a Good One.

I play golf.  I hate it most of the time but I still play.  I’m actually quite good.  It’s hard though. You vs. yourself, hard to win that one.

One major improvement I could make is with my first putt.  “Lag putts “they’re called.  Just trying to get it close enough to easily make the next one.  I like to try and make every putt, I know I shouldn’t but I can’t help it.  I’m overly competitive, even with myself, some people might say!

“Lag” is a bad name.  I think when it’s approached that way you have already considered it a negative action.  “Lag” can’t possibly be good can it?  “Lag” in business, your internet, your speed….you name it it’s bad, right?  Maybe there are some exceptions, there always are, but I don’t know of any.

So we avoid Lag, and some of the time we do it by rushing.  Rushing into action, claiming any activity is better than none.  It’s not true though.  Because when we do that, all we end up with is a shitty Lag….and then face a tougher next putt.  I find it’s like that in other things quite a bit too.

Unfortunately activity gets more attention than results.  “What did you do today?”, in my experience at Fortune 500 companies and small businesses and every where in between, is asked more frequently than “What did you accomplish today?”  Those things ARE different.

Results should always trump activity in my book (pun intended) and maybe it should in yours too.  When we rush into something we end up being less efficient, it takes more time not less, and the end result is seldom as good as it could be.  That’s too bad.

So make the first putt a good one.  A good lag and a tap in is faster than beating it around for a 3 putt, and most importantly the result is better too!

This is how:

  1. Identify your desired outcome as early as possible (on your way to the green decide if close enough is good enough) and set an achievable yet stretch goal.
  2. Closely observe others’ attempts (even if they are on different lines) and think about how their experience relates to yours.
  3. Consider it from all angles (you see more the more you look) and get a broader perspective.  Maybe even plan it backwards, starting with the result you want.
  4. As you do this use multiple senses/inputs (use your feet to feel the slope) to gain more knowledge.
  5. Visualize the outcome (imagine where and how the ball will roll) and adjust your approach as needed.
  6. Find an intermediate target (a spot on the green somewhere) to aim for and focus on hitting that.

You’ll get some variation of this in any golf magazine or from any golf pro.  It’s true for business too.  I think it’s applicable for creative endeavors, especially writing.

Read through that list again (without these stupid parenthesis), and see how it applies to your writing. Maybe even your life…

I guess I shouldn’t hate golf so much after all.  I’ve learned a lot from it.

-Brian

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