My father hates me.
In 1993 he got me addicted.
April 3 of 1993 to be precise.
It's a day one tends to not forget.
You see, it's the day I turned 23.
On that auspicious occasion...my father saw fit to get me...
CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?
I mean, what kind of loving father gets his grown child GOLF LESSONS!
It's not like I needed this new addiction.
It's not like I was Justin Bieber and needed to find a way to spend all of my (Air Force) income.
I was 10.5 months removed from having graduated from the United States Air Force Academy and was about five months from graduating from Texas A&M in their meteorology program. (NO! We don't look at meteors, nor do we study constellations! Don't...make...me...oh, never mind. Google it.)
Anyway, where was I...? Oh, yeah...
I'm 23 years old, in a math/physics/thermodynamics HELL, wondering where the Air Force will send me next, and my dear old dad gets me golf lessons...AND I WAS HOOKED!
I bought books and more lessons.
I bought X-out golf balls and shag bags and swing aid gadgets.
I hit the Play It Again Sports and found good but affordable clubs each time I hit another level in my game.
I played on campus every day—even in the oppressive Texas heat, which usually meant I was alone on the course because nobody has the time and the pig-headed determination to play golf in Texas at 2 pm on a 100 degree Thursday in June.
But because I was alone I could hit three and four and five shots.
I'd hit a high shot, a low shot, a hard 8, an easy 9, a fluffy lie, a tight lie, or just lie to myself and hit another shot.
And I got good. Fast.
But it's still golf.
So you're never good enough.
You could shoot a 59 and lose sleep over the 18-foot put you missed on #7 or the fairway you missed on #12 that caused you to hit a flyer into the green, which lead to a par instead of a "guaranteed" birdie on the easiest hole on the course.
But I digress.
As I gobbled up books, lessons, and tips from anyone I could corner an old timer uttered these words I'll never forget.
You don't play golf to relax. You relax to play golf."
You don't play golf to relax. You relax to play golf."
I think I need to sit down.
THAT'S IT! THAT'S THE SECRET!...
But how do I relax?
HOW DO I RELAX TO PLAY BETTER GOLF?
This is important to me!
TELL ME NOW!
YOU CAN'T TELL ME TO RELAX...THEN NOT TELL ME HOW TO RELAX!
I MUST beat my buddy who is a smart-ass and told me I was wasting my time on trying to get good at golf.
He mocked me for not learning this skill earlier in life.
He laughed at my shitty shots.
He kept betting me and giving me strokes and taunting me when I lost. (I know. I know. I need better friends...but that's a topic for another day.)
How can I relax—detach—so I can play golf at a higher level? So I can practice better...More clearly...More deliberately? And accelerate my growth?
Ah, yes, Grasshopper, continue pulling on that string."
Keep pulling on that string? What string? What do you mean?
HOLD ON, WES! WHAT IN TARNATION DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH SALES, MARKETING, AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP? IS THIS SUDDENLY THE GOLF CHANNEL?"
I'm glad you asked that question. (And I'll get to that string theory in a moment...)
This has much more to do with you, your business, and your life than you think. It's way more than golf, because how you do anything is how you do everything.
Case in point:
- I'm sure happy that the surgeon that operated on my three-year-old daughter back in 2007 was relaxed when she removed my daughter's ruptured appendix.
- I'm sure happy that the pilot and co-pilot who flew me to see my dad in Alabama in November were both relaxed during the entire flight.
- My family is sure happy I'm relaxed when I speak with prospects and work with clients, because it ensures I get paid, which enables me to keep a roof over our heads and food in our bellies.
Detach. Relax. Get Into Flow.
So back to that string theory. (No, not the physics string theory, although this golf string theory did reverberate through me like that theory, but I digress. Would you please stop interrupting me? This is important!)
So my old wise golfing guru tells me in order to succeed in golf I must relax.
"Wes, try real hard to relax. No, harder! TRY HARDER!"
(Okay, a friend really did tell me that without realizing the irony. I know. I know. I still need to get better at picking friends, but he did mean well. Now where was I?)
Far too often and far too frequently we get wrapped around the axle about the future outcome of our efforts and we assume the worst about it, which is both arrogant and harmful...and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, because whatever you focus on, grows.
It's arrogant to assume you know how the future will turn out and it's harmful to assume you don't have it in you to bring about the results you seek.
It's also what weak, undisciplined people do because it takes away the pressure to perform in the here and now, which is all we can control.
It can be overwhelming to think about hitting 288 perfect shots in golf over four days in front of thousands of fans and millions of viewers.
It's much less stressful to think about hitting this first tee shot where you want it to go.
But Wes, there are thousands of fans and millions of viewers, and this tournament is worth a million dollars and bragging rights and endorsements and...and...and..."
You're right, but if you're good enough to be invited to the tournament, to play on that stage, then you're good enough to win it, but you must keep your head in the game. You must detach and relax by sticking to your winning routine.
What? A...routine? Only rookies and superstitious simpletons have routines. I don't need a routine. I'm a professional. I bet next you're going to tell me I should have a prospecting script and email templates and follow a daily and weekly schedule to be more productive at work."
Yes. No. Yes you do. Are you sure about that? Hell yes, yes, and yes.
You think I'm foolin' ya?
Watch Tiger Woods line up a three-foot putt.
Watch LeBron James at the free throw line.
Watch Mike Trout step into the batter's box.
Watch Conor McGregor get ready for a fight.
Watch Serena Williams prepare to hit a 170 km/h serve
Go read stories about how Zig Ziglar prepared to give a talk—the same talk he had given literally 1,000 times.
Look up videos that show how fighter pilots prepare for a mission.
The difference between a rookie and a professional is that a rookie practices until they get it right while a professional practices until they can't get it wrong.
Then they stick to a solid, proven routine leading up to the moment of action.
This routine clears their minds—detaches and relaxes—so their bodies can literally go with the flow and they can perform at their highest possible ability.
How To Know You're In Flow
You know you're in flow when you do the things you do without effort.
That could be performing on stage, sinking a putt, or making a sales call.
Making a sales call?"
Far too often I see salespeople stumble into work late, harried, tired, and uninspired.
They are juggling coffee cups and smartphones and snacks.
They rush into the office, rush to get logged into the computer, rush to log into their CRM, rush to get their Zoom meeting started or to dial their first prospect, they're starting conversations with people they know nothing about while trying to get comfortable at their desks, licking their fingers from the office donut or Starbucks egg sandwich, monitoring their Fantasy Football team, responding to Slack, Skype, and Facebook messages, and sexting.
Yes. Sexting. (I'd link to the report about 8 in 10 adults between 18-82 have admitted to doing it at least once, but I need you to focus here. I need to keep you in the flow. [See how easy it was to get you out of flow? This is why you need a routine. You need the discipline to follow the routine. You get that discipline when you see the results of the routine pay off. You have the pay off when you practice, drill, and rehearse under the tutelage and guidance of a trusted expert.])
Now where were we? Ah, yes, the harried sales "professional."
Do you know why LeBron James is a household name? Because he's not texting when trying to make a free throw.
Do you know why Serene Williams is the greatest female tennis player ever? Because she doesn't show up 10 minutes late to practice, hungover, and winging it for an hour or so or until she feels good...or bad.
They practice until they can't get it wrong.
And they all have great coaches, i.e. the aforementioned "trusted expert."
Ah yeah...the trusted expert.
Where might you find a sales, marketing, CRM, mindset, leadership, entrepreneurship expert to help you break through your self-imposed obstacles and get into flow?
An expert who has helped thousands of professional salespeople, sales managers, business owners, and entrepreneurs in dozens of countries sell more, faster, at higher margin, with less stress, more predictably?
An expert who is still applying his skills today to verify that what he teaches you to do is valid, current, and still effective?
Hmmm...if only there was a big blue button that made it easy to book a time to discuss how to...
Wouldn't that be just swell?
Market like you mean it.
Now go sell something.