I play golf about once a year...maybe even every couple years. In my most recent round late this summer, I managed to shoot a 91.
For not having picked up a club in over two years - how I played was a strong performance. 91 isn't really an impressive score, but considering the average score of a golfer is about 90...I did alright.
I used a 4-Iron off almost every tee.
As a result almost every “drive” I had was straight, and was usually right where I wanted it.
No stressful situations chasing balls into the woods. Or having to take a penalty because my ball took a wild slice to the right. This meant less frustration and emotional drain for me…..This meant I could play more of MY GAME.
Regardless of what you know about golf, using a 4 iron for your drive is not a commonly accepted practice as you sacrifice significant distance on the drive.
When it comes to golf - I know myself. The moment I pull out my driver I'm stepping out on a plank and my opportunity for success drops. There are times when I feel the risk meets the potential reward and make that decision - and when I do I'm willing to face the temporary failure if I don't hit it right.
The PGA allows golfers 14 clubs in their bag. This gives them flexibility and decisions to make depending on a few different factors:
- The lie
- The distance
- The obstacles
Professional golfers are very clear on the uniquenesses and outcomes of each club.
You're thinking...But I'm not a professional golfer. Right, most of us aren't.
But we are professionals at work. (Our profession)
I want to ask...What club are you playing with?
Shouldn't we know what's in our bag and what club we need to pull out of the bag in different situations if we want to win at work?
The workplace is changing and the demands on us are constantly shifting so we have to be more clear than ever on a couple things:
- What clubs are in our bag?
- What are the uniqueness's/characteristics of each club?
- What situation is best for each club?
Most of us (myself included) aren’t fully aware of all the clubs in our bag because of these reasons:
- We typically use what has worked in the past
- We avoid the risk of trying something new
I’ve never thought about having multiple clubs in my work “bag” for different situations
To decide which club to use we can ask ourselves these questions to get clarity and confidence in our selection.
- What energizes me?
- What strengthens me?
- What allows me to produce my best work?
- What is the demand of the work? (sprint / jog / walk)
- What is the timeline of the work? (long game v. short game)
- Am I behind on this project and need to get extra distance?
- Can I lay up (take more time) or do I have to go after it (this needs to SHIP)?
- Am I willing to deal with the consequences of the outcome? (risk v. reward)
- What creates the greatest success for the team? (Laser focus on your best / Making room for others)
- What is everyone else doing? (keeping pace with the team/project)
- What's going to be the most fun for me? (doing something because it's what you want to do)
- Do I want to learn something new or do I want a past outcome?
- Is something blocking my path and in my way? (what are the obstacles)
- Where are we going and where do I fit in? (What is the objective of this project/quarter/initiative)
- How practiced am I with this club?
- What else is going on in my life and what can I handle right now? (work, personal, relationships, health)
There is real impact and importance in the clubs we select and use at work everyday.
We work almost everyday for 40+ years of our lives. Shouldn’t we be playing with the perfect fit?
We have to do HARD WORK to get clear on the clubs in our bag and the practice required to win.
When we approach each day, each interaction, each project or meeting with the uniqueness of the “lay” we begin to change the way we work.
When we ask our self the question...WHAT CLUB AM I USING?
If we enter every meeting with only our driver, when maybe we needed a putter to subtly nudge the project across the line, we lose.
When we need agility and accuracy but still choose our driver because it’s what “we do”...we lose.
Call it context. Call it personal management. Call it disruptive.
I don't care..... But what I do care so deeply about is the personal engagement of every human being who wakes up and goes to work everyday.
We are not all the same, every situation is not the same and our strengths are certainly not all the same.
The unleashing of our human potential and less stress is only a degree or two away.
In golf when the club face strikes the ball it's only one or two millimeters difference between a great shot and a bad one.
Great shots produce energy and excitement. Bad shots produce stress and strain.
I want this post to free you to be more of you at work. To find where you are one or two millimeters off and make the right club selection.
When we are clear on which “clubs” to play we unlock a whole knew way of working and living. Can we even begin to teach our children this way of living?
Am I getting emotional over here..maybe.
But this stuff matters…..because your life matters.
The work you do actually matters and I believe when we are equipped with how to be more engaged in life and work we win.
Less stress at work is one choice away...
If you’re currently using the right club 20-30% of the time and over the next year worked towards using the right club 50-70% of the time...who will you become and what would life look like?
I see the vision of that future - and it’s beautiful.
So let me ask you...what club are you using?