Actually, we could substitute the word Business for Golf, and the same would hold true.
Others, more witty than I have been drawing comparisons between golf and business for years. That’s because golf is a unique sport with an almost mystical ability to let us observe a person’s integrity, decision making abilities, mental fortitude, honesty, and general personality. Grantland Rice, a 20th century American sportswriter who died in 1954, summed up the relationship between golf and business nicely when he said, “Eighteen holes of match play will teach you more about your foe than nineteen years of dealing with him across the desk.”
As a fan of the sport, I learned early on that golf’s a game that’s as frustrating as all hell. Loaded with obstacles, challenges and hazards, it brings out the best and worst in friends, competitors and coworkers.
And, as a golfer, I’ve learned valuable lessons from playing the game. (One big lesson — hard as it may be — is to take the game seriously, but to also enjoy it, despite its obstacles.) I also use the lessons of golf and apply them to running a business.
For example, in golf you may play 17 holes that make you want to throw the clubs, bag and all, into the ravine. But, you don’t. You keep on playing with the same championship spirit you had at the first hole — and you make a double eagle* at the 18th hole! I use this lesson in business by putting the bad part of the week behind me. And that’s what I try to instill in my people. Acknowledge what you did wrong and right it. Don’t look back. Move on. And remember to enjoy the game.
ONE FINAL THOUGHT
I’ve heard that 80 percent of business owners would like every one of their hires to be athletes. I believe it. Athletes are taught at an early age to think like winners. They never walk on the field thinking they’re going to lose. They learn everything about their competitors and use that information to plan their strategy. They think, eat and dream about winning.
I like to keep that spirit alive in the workplace, because running a business is like excelling at sports. We work as a team. We bolster one another up when we’ve had a tough day. We find our competitive edge. We develop a game plan. We are fair and equitable. We embrace the team’s culture. And we’re always in it to win it.
*You can enjoy viewing an historic double eagle here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZzZbdODTiY