What golf can teach you about your performance at work

Axelle de Roy, September 18th 2019
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“You are working very hard!” Leo, the golf pro, said to me.
But it wasn’t a compliment… I was working too hard, according to him. Walking fast round the golf course, rushing to hit the ball and moving on. Like a machine operator with too many assembly lines. Hurrying, especially when seeing the next group of golfers catching up behind me. So, I felt quite a bit of pressure. Pressure to hit the ball as fast as I could. And pressure to hit the ball as well as I could. To give my best performance.

Sounds familiar? 

Having to perform under pressure, feeling stressed, wanting to exceed expectations in your work. Nowadays, a lot of people face a heavy workload, struggle to meet deadlines and feel overwhelmed. How to deal with that? Here is what the golf pro taught me.

Grant yourself a bit of time

“Do you want to improve your handicap, to be a better golfer?” Leo asked me. ‘Of course, dude, that’s why I hired you!’ I thought to myself. I just gave him a friendly nod. The advice Leo gave me was the following. Don’t hit the ball immediately. First, step away from the ball and give yourself a couple of seconds to look at the ball and look at your goal. Ball - goal, ball - goal, ball - goal. Look. Plan your strategy. And only after that, hit the ball.

Instead of working as hard as a super motivated operator on the golf course, I should act more like a managing director. Granting myself five seconds to look and think. Then I would gain control, feel more relaxed and improve my performance. According to the golf pro.

“But what about the other players?” I asked Leo. The people that make me feel rushed. “What about them?!” Leo responded. “Just concentrate on your own game. If you take more time before you swing the club, you will perform better and your game will speed up automatically.” He promised me.

It sounded contra-intuitive: to take more time when you feel rushed. And yet, this is exactly what is needed. Of course, I know that. It is one of the guidelines I share with participants in the training ‘performance under pressure’. I just didn’t think of applying it to the game of golf…

Want to know more about performing at your best?

Would you like to know more about this and other guidelines to help you perform at your best, even under pressure? View all course information here or let’s play a game of golf together…

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