An author, presenter and world-class coach, Rick Jensen, Ph.D., is the founder of Dr. Rick Jensen's Performance Center and is an internationally recognized performance consultant and sport psychologist.
Your Golf Game Can Wait – NOW is the Time to Gain a Step Up on the Competition
Over the past year, the economic environment has been as challenging as we have seen in decades. We all know friends and colleagues, whom have been laid off, gone out of business, foreclosed on their homes, postponed their retirement, or lost a significant amount of net worth. As individual’s financial and business situations take a turn for the worse, the normal and often expected response is to batten down the hatches and wait it out.
As I travel around the country coaching successful business professionals, the one thing that stands out about those that succeed during trying times is that they choose not to wait it out. They choose to take the road less traveled by continuing to move their business agenda forward, even with the realization that such effort may not reap rewards in the short-term.
Obviously, swimming upstream is not easy and thus many people choose not to do it. A few weeks ago, I was on a business trip during which I was traveling with a wholesaler who sells financial products. He was kind enough to pick me up at the airport when I arrived, and as I jumped into his car, he said “Where are your golf clubs?” I responded “I thought we were going to be meeting with financial advisors to help grow their business.” He quickly replied “Oh yeah, we can do some of that, but I had something else in mind. Since no one is buying anything in this economic climate, I thought it would be a good time to work on my golf game. And given you were coming to town, I’d love to get your insights into my game.”
Wow! Can you imagine what the sales impact would be for a company if the majority of their sales people responded the same way? Unfortunately, this wholesaler’s reaction to tough times is all too common. If you find yourself considering similar behaviors, stop and tell yourself “my golf game can wait, NOW is the time to gain a step up on the competition.” During tough times, not everyone turns to their golf game as an excuse to wait it out – many people choose instead to spend more time with their family, catch up on some reading, or even take that well-deserved, long-overdue break.
On the surface, these “wait it out” reactions do not seem to be so bad – if we are not seeing any return on our investment in time, why not take some time off? On the other hand, while you are taking time off, others are not – your clients still have needs, your strategic business partners are still trying to hit their goals, and many potential clients are probably being underserved and thus open to speaking with you.
Likely, your competition has taken the more common road – they are waiting it out. While they are “working on their golf game,” you can be getting ahead by working on your business. Below are four key actions that champions take to leverage business opportunities in tough times.
Create your script.
Sit down and write out your value proposition. Specifically, how are you going to serve the needs of your existing and prospective clients, particularly in the present economic environment? If you are a financial advisor, how will you convey to prospects that you are an expert at managing money in times of economic volatility and/or economic recovery? If you are a touring golf professional, how will you (and your agent) convey to potential sponsors that you are the right person, and now is the right time for you, to help them get in front of top prospects?
Identify specific growth opportunities.
Create a list of people that you will contact to grow your business. These contacts may be existing clients, strategic partners, industry peers, publishers, writers, reporters, sponsors, anyone who has direct or indirect relationships with your potential clients or customers.
Set aside time to act.
Each and every day, sit down and make those calls, write those emails, distribute those flyers, place those ads, and work those social networks. Work your way to the decision-makers and set up conference calls, lunches, and meetings in which you can discuss your value proposition. Establish a goal of scheduling a defined number of quality appointments each day – you may have to make 20 calls to schedule three appointments. In time, you will have a regular dose of opportunities in your schedule each day. Then it is up to you to sell yourself and what you have to offer.
Remain Persistent and Resilient.
When looking for new business, champions recognize that their hit rate is not 100%, not even close. Rejection is common and expected; however, too often people take it personally, and thus avoid rejection by backing off of their growth efforts. Don’t let this happen to you. Otherwise, you will soon be “working on your golf game.” Champions feed off of the expected rejection and use it as fuel for taking action toward pursuing additional business opportunities.
''Drive to the Top'' Book Excerpt
Take It to the Course
One afternoon, I was having lunch with Butch Harmon at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Florida. I asked Butch ,who was still coaching Tiger Woods at the time, what he thought separated Tiger from the other players on the PGA Tour. He quickly responded, “Tiger’s willingness and ability to take it to the course.” He further explained that Tiger, unlike other players, could take a skill that they were working on and apply it in tournament play much sooner than other players could.
In business, such skill is referred to as “execution” or “implementation”—in golf, pros refer to it as “taking it to the course.” Butch explained that Tiger was willing to take the risk associated with trying something new even in a setting that could publicly expose that he had yet to own the new skill. This was because of Tiger’s desire to “push the transfer” of a skill.
The ultimate goal of any improvement initiative is to benefit from the result you hope to achieve. So why not push the transfer of the initiative as quickly as possible? Yes, there may be some setbacks, failures, or even public criticism associated with the effort. But the sooner the transfer occurs, the sooner the benefit is likely to happen.
In 1998, Butch and Tiger were highly scrutinized for making significant changes to Tiger’s golf swing. Why would you ever change something that has proven to be so effective? Woods was, if you recall, ranked the No. 1 player on the PGA Tour money list in 1997.
Champions want to get better—always! Even when they are No. 1 in the world, they pursue improvement initiatives and push the transfer of these initiatives with the knowledge that they maybe criticized. Criticism, public scrutiny, and lack of guaranteed success are part of the process. However, resting on past accomplishments is not an option. In competitive environments, if you stand still, you will soon be passed by. You must continue to develop your capabilities and take them to the course as soon as possible.
Interestingly, in 2007, Tiger made a valiant run at Byron Nelson’s record of 11 consecutive PGA Tour wins. Tiger ran off a streak of seven consecutive wins on the PGA Tour—and he did so after again being highly scrutinized for changing his swing with his coach, Hank Haney. Woods lost that eighth tournament, but nobody will be surprised when he takes another run at the record. For champions, the pursuit of excellence never ends.Click here to order Drive to the Top.
Inside the Boardroom
Run Through the Finish Line: How Top Performers Finish Strong Coming Down the Stretch
As the year winds down, business professionals, salespeople and managers begin projecting whether or not they are going to hit their goals for the year. Some are on track to reach their goals, others are ahead of pace, and still others have fallen behind and question whether reaching their established goals is even a possibility.
Whether you are trying to hit your sales number, trying to obtain a revenue goal, or trying to remain inside of the top 125 on the PGA TOUR money list to retain your card, there are defined mental strategies that you must employ to give yourself the best chance of success.
Tiger Woods refers to the phrase “Run through the Finish Line” when describing his mental approach to finishing off a tournament. As you finish off 2009, try the following three strategies as you “Run through the Finish Line”:
1) Fall in Love with the Opportunity
2) Accelerate When Others Would Coast
3) Execute a Clearly Defined Game Plan
As the finish line approaches, you should strive to fall in love with the opportunity – the opportunity of breaking past performance records, the opportunity of fulfilling a stretch goal, or even the opportunity of coming from behind for a fantastic finish. Rather than questioning, doubting, expecting or fearing a particular outcome, great closers embrace the pursuit of an opportunity, not the fear of a failure or a poor finish.
It is also important to accelerate when others would coast – finish strong! Often, it is the last few miles of a race, holes of a tournament, months of a year when top performers truly separate from the pack. When the average person takes the lead in a competition, it is common for him or her to slow down, relax and enjoy their lead. Additionally, the average person (not in the lead), once it appears they may not reach their goal, will slow down and reserve their energy for a future date – just watch how often Tiger Woods' contenders appear to “play for second” once Tiger has assumed the lead in a tournament.
Finally, when nearing the finish line, it is all too common for individuals to attend to the potential outcome, the score, the finish itself. Instead, you must consciously focus your attention on the defined game plan that you must execute to finish strong. We’ve all heard the cliché, “focus on the process, not the outcome.” Well this advice couldn't be more important as you are coming down the stretch.
Inside the Ropes
It is quite common for attendees of the seminars that I provide to come up afterwards and ask questions. Often, these questions have little to do with the content of my presentation, but instead are centered around advice that parents would like to impart to their children. Isn't it amazing how important our children are to us - even while we are at work!
For those of you that are parents of junior golfers, I've asked my good friend and renowned expert in the area of developing junior golfers, Henry Brunton, to share a portion of his recently published book "Journey to Excellence." If you are looking for specific, practical advice as to how to help your developing young golfer, order a copy of Henry's book - you will love it!
College Golf: Many are Called, Few are Chosen
By Henry Brunton
Playing college golf is a worthwhile goal, whether you reach it or not. At the very least for junior golfers, having it as a goal should help you improve your game, as making the jump to college golf should provide plenty of motivation for practice and training. And it should help you be aware of your school responsibilities as well, given that you can’t play—regardless of your handicap—until you meet the academic requirements. So the worst case scenario is that you’re a better student and a better golfer than you would be if you didn’t set out to play at the Division I level. So, how difficult is it to get a college golf scholarship? Consider some of these numbers:
• There are about 163,341 males who play on high school teams in the United States.
• If you assume a quarter of those are seniors, that means there are about 41,000 males in their last year of high school golf. Since most varsity teams are likely more heavily weighted to seniors than freshman, the real number is probably a little higher.
• There are only about 300 schools that play NCAA Division I men’s golf in the United States.
• There are about 3,200 men playing on those Division I teams.
• If you assume about a quarter of those are graduating seniors, that means each year there are roughly 800 openings for freshman across all 300 Division I programs.
Have you done the math yet? If you have, you’ll realize why getting the chance to play golf in college is hardly a gimme. There are about 50 high school senior golf team members competing for every available spot in Division I golf. Do you feel confident you would be the favorite to win a tournament against 49 other high school seniors? Of course there are other things you can do to tilt the field in your favor. Excelling academically is one. Being able to manage the requirements of competitive golf and a full course load is not something everyone can do.
If you have a proven ability to do that in high school (i.e., a track record of good grades along with an impressive golf resume), college coaches might consider you more favorably than a player with similar golf skills and accomplishments but a spotty academic record. Having a solid character (easy to coach, pleasant to deal with) helps as well, as does your ability to interact positively with a team.
Spending a decade or more of your life doing everything you can to be the best golfer you can be is a wonderful undertaking, providing that in the process you gain a good education, broad life experiences, and you build sound relationships. In that case, when the time comes and you realize that for all your best efforts professional golf is not going to be your path, you can take pride in the journey and make a smooth transition into the next phase of your life.
If you sacrifice your education, life experiences and relationships in the pursuit of golf glory, chances are the transition won’t be as smooth and what should be a sense of accomplishment for your efforts will instead be a sense of failure—not only for falling short in golf, but of selling your life outside of golf short in the process.
Henry Brunton is the Canadian National Men's Team Head Coach and is the author of Journey to Excellence: The Young Golfer's Complete Guide to Achievement and Personal Growth available at select retailers and www.henrybrunton.com.
Most Popular Seminar
Run Through the Finish Line: How Top Performers Finish Strong Coming Down the StretchThroughout the year, I spend a significant amount of time delivering keynote presentations and training workshops for business organizations. As we are entering the final quarter of 2009, the focus for many is "Will we reach our annual goals?"
Below is a description of a seminar that I designed specifically to provide business professionals with the strategies, motivation, and game plan to finish the year off strong! If you are interested in discussing how this seminar can be tailored to help your organization "Run through the Finish Line" in 2009, simply contact me directly using the button in the right hand column at the top of this newsletter.Run Through the Finish Line: How Top Performers Finish Strong Coming Down the Stretch
As a year winds down, sales professionals and managers begin projecting whether or not they are going to hit their annual goals. Staying motivated and focused while finishing off the year becomes a must. Whether you are on track to reach your goals, ahead of pace, or in need of some good fortune to meet your goal, Dr. Jensen will provide you with what it takes to finish strong!
Tiger Woods strives to “Run through the Finish Line” when finishing off a tournament. You can learn to do the same by following Dr. Jensen three keys to finishing strong:
1) Fall in Love with the Opportunity
2) Accelerate When Others Would Coast
3) Execute a Clearly Defined Game Plan
As he demonstrates how top sports performers master these three keys, Dr. Jensen will teach you how to think, act and perform as you “Run through the Finish Line.”
Primary Markets Served:
Financial Services, Direct Sales Organizations