IMG_5380I’m starting a new series of articles using golf as an allegory for business. So much of the game is about mind over matter, and so is your career. You need not be a golfer to get value…though why wouldn’t you?

I’m a competitive guy. One of the reasons I love golf is because it’s a competition with others and with yourself. Mostly with yourself…

I competed at a pretty high level in high school. My score meant everything to me because all our matches and tournaments were based on stroke play. Stroke play counts all your shots taken over 18 hole against your competitors; whereas “match play” is based on winning individual holes against the other player you’re playing with. I became very much emotionally invested in my score. If I scored well, I was happy. If I didn’t score well, it was a long night for me and everyone around me!

Thirty years later, my game is nowhere near the same. I don’t play or practice as much, so my scores are naturally higher. Unfortunately, I’ve had problems kicking the emotion of my score out of my head. On of my new challenges is to divorce myself from being emotionally tied to my score and focus on each swing, not the result. Shifting the focus from the score to the swing takes the pressure off and allows me the freedom to be more successful and happier.

Too many people become emotionally invested in their conversations with others. This is true in both business and life. Have you ever felt like you’re in a mortal combat competition with the person you’re talking to?

Becoming emotionally invested in the outcome of a discussion, especially when your role is to be influential, will yield the same results as my golf game. Instead of focusing on your message, you will lose being in the moment, not listen to the other person, get so wrapped up in your rebuttal, and eventually get frustrated or even angry. That’s a sure double bogey!

Take a lesson from me and change your thinking when it comes to critical conversations that will occur almost daily in your life. You will feel that anxiety welling up in your belly. That’s when a little voice inside your head reminds you to be quiet and refocus on your message, not on the outcome. You never know, the other person’s idea may just be better than yours!

By not being emotionally invested in the outcome of a conversation, a sales meeting, a conversation with your boss or employee, or a discussion with your spouse or significant other; you will find that you avoid getting angry, learn a new point of view, and ultimately become more influential.

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