Mindset, Potential and Achievement (part 1 of 2)

Hello Golf Friends:

I hope some of these blogs are helping you turn the corner to “Realizing Your Ultimate Golf Potential” and becoming a Complete Golfer.  Speaking of potential, that’s what I wanted to talk about this month. Lately, I’ve been immersed in reading, studying, contemplating how to get my golf students to take the steps to improvement.  I would love for you to read  “Mindset” by Carol Dweck and view “What Guides Winning” on TED talks by Brett Ledbetter (Or order his book… mine is in the mail from Amazon).  I’ll be referring to them in this month’s blogs.

Part One:  What is your mindset?

I ask myself: “What is my mission in golf and golf instruction?” Simply put it is “to develop my own and other people’s potential”.  Dweck defines potential as someone’s capacity to develop their skills over time.  She adds “It takes time for potential to flower”.  To me, the golfer is the seed and dirt, The instructor is the water the flower needs to grow and flourish.

So what does it take to reach potential?  A Complete Golfer will have a workable, repeating golf swing and an effective practice routine.  A third piece in this puzzle is to build and develop your mental and emotional skills.  This includes your pre-shot routine, thought process on the course (managing emotions, course strategy, focus, being present), and your post practice and playing analysis.

Dweck describes (in more detail than me) two types of mindsets: Growth and Fixed

Fixed:  Someone with innate talent but doesn’t work to maintain and improve on that talent.  They believe the talent they have is what they were given and they are content with it.  When someone rises above them or gets better than them they avoid further challenge or may even quit altogether.  They look to blame others or conditions.  This is the athlete who is a rock star when they are young but then fall back in the shadows as others surpass them.  That innate talent may even be enough to carry them to a successful professional level but their mindset prevents them from reaching their ultimate potential.  This happens in business, athletics, social circles, schools and many other everyday situations.

In short:  It’s the “I thought that person was really going to be something but never made it” mindset.

Growth:  Someone who believes in continued learning and development to become better; understanding that reaching your ultimate potential is a PROCESS of movement from goal to goal.  Growth mind-setters sense and live with frustration too, but that frustration doesn’t impede them from continuing on their journey.  This person knows how to turn setbacks into victories.  A setback is only another learning experience for them to gain insight and wisdom from.  They know that success and reaching potential is a marathon, not a sprint. They experience the peaks and learn from the valleys.  They are mentally prepared to go over and around any hurdles that stand in their way to achieving their true potential.

As I read and thought about her book, I thought… “Wow, so many parts of my life were fixed (family, career, goals) for so long and only in the last few years have I worked on the growth mindset”.  At 48 years old I moved 1620 miles from my lifelong home.  My professional life is taking a whole new direction.  I’m my own LLC.  I’m an author. I have golf and golf instruction goals.  I’m seeking ways to learn, to grow, to flower!

I add that because I think it is vital we understand that we can all grow!  We can change from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset by setting our goals or results we want to achieve and committing to the PROCESS of improvement. We all have more potential than we realize.  We all have more that we can do in our family, career, social life, interests. Life is not fixed.  Rather, it is a series of roads and paths with no predetermined map to a final destination.  It’s a puzzle that every day we can add another piece to until we see the beautiful picture at the end.

I think it’s important to determine where we are, what we want, and how do we get there.  Or at least, what roads will help me the most in reaching my destination?

Paul Meyer
Heritage Isles Golf & Country Club
Tampa FL