Hello SOTGC community,
Happy Monday! I’ve heard people say that golf is a game that you love to hate, and I think that theme was readily seen throughout this year’s 145th British Open in Troon, Scotland at Royal Troon, one of golf’s most difficult courses. The golf course at the Royal Troon is filled with what the Scottish call goarse (a spiny shrub), broom (a European shrubbery plant) and deep rough (any part of the golf course that is right along the fairway, where the grass and/or weeds are not cut) – along with typical strong winds in the area. Let’s just say it’s not an easy course to play!
In addition, the Royal Troon course has “sand traps” of sorts that aren’t like anything we have here in the United States, as their “sand traps” are referred to as “bunkers” and literally look like old war bunkers, having huge vertical face walls, filled with sand having a grainy clay texture. And there are a lot of bunkers on this course, an average of more than five per hole according to the New York Times.
These bunkers are renowned, and it even takes the world’s best golfers multiple swings to get out. Some of the bunkers on this course have been given names such as the famed “Coffin bunker” on the 8th green – no golfer wants to find themselves there – this bunker even has its own twitter account @TroonCoffinTrap! For golfers at Royal Troon, playing a ball out of a bunker is a right of passage of sorts. The focus is just getting out, taking the penalty with as few strokes as possible!
As women in business, there is a lot we can learn from professional golfers, who braved this difficult course during the British Open. Many times in our career we might feel as if we have fallen into a bunker or deep rough, and we are desperately trying to find our way out and win at our careers. Here are three key takeaways from this year’s British Open to help you overcome your own career bunkers:
- Be Confident in Your Abilities and Stay Grounded/Balanced.
When finding themselves in one of the many bunkers at the 145th British Open, the pro golfers often dig their feet into the grainy bunker to help ground and balance themselves in order to get as centered as possible and then focus on utilizing all of their years of training to make their shot with confidence. They have to choose to make sure their mental game is as strong as their physical golf game – they choose to be grounded and confident. As Byron Nelson, one of the great American pro golfers said, “Golf is a lot like life. When you a make a decision, stick with it.”
Sometimes when our careers hit a bunker of sorts – maybe you are going through a transition at work (new boss or leadership, new position, more responsibility, new team, etc.) or a transition in your career (making an industry or career change, starting a new business, etc.) – it is time to plant your feet deep into the sand, focus and do what you know to do – work your plan and be confident that you have the training you need to accomplish your new goals. Focus, breathe and push forward. If you are feeling uneasy along the way, then set out to find a solution – whether that is gaining additional training or getting the additional help or coaching you need to be successful. As always, evaluate the results of your efforts along the way, making changes if necessary to ensure a successful result.
- Choose Your Coaches and Caddie (Team) Wisely.
Professional golfers have a winning team that they surround themselves with:
Coaches are invaluable to golfers – coaches help to streamline their technique, work with them on their mental game and assist them when something with their stroke doesn’t feel right or isn’t working quite right. Often professional golfers have several coaches, each with specialties (putting, driving, chipping, etc.) or specialty coaches that are called in for specific purposes during the golfer’s career.
We all need one or more coaches/mentors in our lives at every stage of our career. I have several coaches in my life, some are former bosses or colleagues, others are amazing people in business that I have met along the way, who have been willing to open up and share their experiences and their own career learnings with me. I often refer to my female coaches as my “motivational mavens” because simply having conversations with accomplished female leaders serves as an inspiration, guiding me to achieve my next professional goal. Anytime I have the opportunity to sit and chat with a professional that I admire and ask them about their career story – the lessons and takeaways are always invaluable – coaching moments – priceless!
Do you have a coach? If not, I encourage you to think of some of the people along your career path, who have helped inspired you – or leaders in your industry, who you admire. Reach out to them and ask them if they would mind giving you some input on a particular project or if they would mind sharing their story with you of how they overcame obstacles in their careers. Most people like helping others and welcome the opportunity, so don’t be shy. You can also attend industry events, networking events, women in business events, leadership events, charity events and online webinars and podcasts to meet leaders, who you would like to learn from. Once you meet them, make introductions, be kind, ask questions, listen, thank them for their time and keep in touch to continue the discussion.
A golfer’s caddie is with them side-by-side throughout the entire tournament, and many caddies stay with the golfer throughout their entire career. The two work together as a team – a partnership focused on the same goals. One of the job requirements of a caddie is to go out and review the golf course, finding all of the in’s and out’s of the course, yardage and terrain. A caddie not only carries the golfer’s bag and clubs, but often the caddie serves as an advisor and therapist, giving moral support to the golfer during the tournament. So it is extremely important that a golfer find the right fit in his or her caddie for both of them to be successful.
The same goes for all of us in business. Our team supports us and we support our team – it is a partnership, and is therefore extremely important to find the right fit.
If your team works together and everyone does their part to support the team, then the team will be strong. If one member of the team pulls back or doesn’t pull their weight, then the whole team suffers, and the whole team loses. So, it is important to evaluate your team along the way, find out their strengths and utilize them – evaluate their weaknesses and encourage improvements in those areas. Teams should work together like a well-oiled machine – each being a different part, yet each working together towards the same goal.
Take some time to evaluate your current teams or the partners you have in business. Are you doing what you can to encourage the best partnership possible – is your team optimal for the goals you have set for your business? If not, maybe it is time to make some changes – possibly give your team some professional development or it might be time to reorganize your team to help better meet your goals.
Whatever the case, take some time today to thank your team members and partners for all of the hard work and positive input they have brought to the team and business. Recently I saw a quote by Amy Poehler, “Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you. Spend a lot of time with them and it will change your life.” Well said, Amy!
- Love What You Do and Create Winning Moments!
There is something about watching a professional sporting event that inspires me to remember what it is that I love about what I do. Watching The British Open this year, I could literally see how passionate these sportsmen are about golf in every stroke – they love it – well, not when they hit the ball into a bunker, the rough or hit a bad shot, but you can tell they love the game. It’s all about the game! And they especially love it when they win! Winning inspires us to achieve and win more. Who doesn’t love to win, or to hit an amazing shot! But do you think the road getting to the championship is one big party for these professional golfers? Absolutely not – it’s a process – some good days, others challenging, but always learning and improving to achieve the goal and win the championship.
Sometimes when you hit a snag on the road in your career, it’s easy to forget why you got started in your career in the first place. So take a moment and remember back to the time you fell in love with your career choice. Make a list of all the things about your job that you love – find the positives, and then find a goal you can set for yourself that re-inspires you to win at your career. If you are going through a rough time, set small goals for yourself that are easily achievable. Once you achieve those, you’ll feel accomplished and better about your career growth – then you can set another goal for yourself – and on and on. You will be surprised how goal-setting and creating winning moments will change your energy and set your career in a forward-moving direction. You can do it!
The 145th British Open ended with a historical record. The winner, Henrik Stenson, age 40 from Sweden, made ten birdies on the final day and was 20 below par in four days, which is the lowest ever four day aggregate score (18 holes per day – so a total of 72 holes) in any major championship history. Phil Mickelson, age 46 from the United States, came in a close second at 17 under par.
In an interview after his win, Henrik Stenson said that he believed it was his time – he tried to pick his shots and play in the moment. Stenson is the first male Swedish golfer to win a major championship – this was his winning moment. Be encouraged that if you focus on being confident in your abilities and staying grounded – choosing your coaches and team wisely – and loving what you do, creating winning moments will pay off and get you out of the bunkers in your career!
Until next week – have fun exploring and implementing some of these ideas!
*Sources: ABC: http://ab.co/29FNFig, Bleacher Report: http://ble.ac/2ambqZP, New York Times: http://nyti.ms/29IudwV, The Open (official site): http://www.TheOpen.com, Golf News Net: http://bit.ly/2a1Bagm VOA News: http://bit.ly/29HZEbx, USA Today: http://usat.ly/29I0CEo and http://bit.ly/2ambicO and CBS Sports: http://cbsprt.co/29NNym2