Understanding why we make certain decisions is important to our growth potential as a golfer, but more importantly for who we are. Depending on your mindset, which is developed early on in our lives, you can limit your success in learning. Research by Brene Brown author of (Daring Greatly, Dare to Lead) regarding shame and vulnerability is enlightening when it comes to how people reach their success levels, or not. She has uncovered much about the human psyche, how people perceive themselves and how scary it is to perform in front of others without feeling judged, afraid, exposed or unworthy of success. So golfers, if you want to improve and reach your highest potential regardless of where you are in your development it is important to know, you will fail! Your weaknesses will be exposed, your strengths will be exposed, your tolerance for frustration will be exposed. However, the sooner you can embrace the good, bad and the ugly to improve you will improve faster while building resiliency against tough situations like learning.  Learning requires effort, it requires time, it requires you to be vulnerable, to not be ashamed of failures or successes. When you can overcome self-judgement, it opens you up to more success.

As coaches to many competitive golfers we have a front row seat to see how vulnerability effects competitive golfers especially with our junior golfers aspiring to play at their highest levels and particularly when they are striving to play college golf. We see juniors fearing shame, judgement or embarrassment when competing in tournaments most often. We see this as a gap, something I call the gap of “skill challenge ratio,” when golfers over estimate skills due, being a good range or practice player and under estimating the real challenges of golf. Much of this is the lack of emotional development in adolescence, as many assume their skills are good enough to compete at the highest levels however when attempting to transfer those skills into competition the challenge can be greater than they expected therefore resulting in poor decisions, bad shots and bad scores. This creates a reaction of shame or embarrassment therefore when golfers prepare to compete they make decisions such as, “I don’t need to practice putting or hitting drivers I do those well, I just need to work on my swing” or “it’s not that important, I’m ready” or “why do I need a yardage book, I shot 73 in my practice round, I know how to play the course” or “I shot 93 because I didn’t care about this round” or “I am not going to play college golf anyway” or “ I am not good enough.” These “reasons,” excuses, are not from lack of talent but a lack of understanding what learning or growth mindset is about. These excuses are limited factors created by fear, being exposed, being vulnerable and not wanting to be embarrassed. In most cases it is a lack in understanding how to learn to except ourselves for who we are and embracing the good, bad and ugly so that we can be better for it. In conclusion, if you really want to take your game to unimaginable heights, ask yourself these simple questions. Why am I doing this? What am I afraid of?  If you can honestly answer these questions and embrace the answers by being vulnerable, willing to fail, and have an open mind to learn with passion or desire to be better, you will be embracing a growth mindset and soon learn what was holding you back, and more importantly what will now help you reach your highest potential!

As always, Enjoy Your Journey!