Business lessons from my golf coach part 1

Business lessons from my golf coach part 1

Every Sunday afternoon I meet with my golf coach, Brian Dyer-Smith. Yesterday was my first lesson of the year and on Friday for preparation, he sent me a periscope video to watch.

The video was about nerves (presented by Nick Bradley who coached Justin Rose) and how to approach a golf game with nerves in mind. In sport psychology, we have learned that nerves are good. They are necessary. It shows that you’re taking the game seriously and that you’re intentional.

Nick talks about another player Noel Hunt (a trick shot player), speaking to Jack Nickolas about nerves. At one of the tees in the third round of the 1974 Open Championship, Noel turned to Jack and asked him if he was nervous. Jack said “It’s not about nerves, it’s about your perception of the situation.

Nick goes onto saying that he feels there are two games golfers play. They either play to win or play to play. And the best approach is to play to play. The best golfers compete, but they play the game, to play. When you go out there to play to win, there is an added pressure for more performance. It’s almost a false way of getting the performance. It should be more about flow and flow is only present when you play to play.

When you watch anyone who is a master, you’ll notice they’re playing to flow not playing to win. This applies to musicians as well.

And it’s exactly like that in business. When you’re in a crisis situation in business, you get nervous about what the crisis could turn into. You start thinking about all the scenarios that could apply. The mess this could create.

And the nerves are good. It means you’re alive. You are serious about your decision to build a business and keep it afloat. You’re sensitive to your surroundings.

Nerves have these advantages in my opinion:

  1. They help to make you super aware of all the factors involved in the crisis. You’re sensitive to the point of being laser-focused on every detail of what caused this mess.
  2. The nerves release adrenaline that gives you a kick up the but to get going. Instead of procrastinating you naturally jump into action and start planning your response.
  3. You execute much faster because of the nerves. Nerves create urgency and urgency creates speed. Speed is profit because time is money. The faster you resolve the issue the quicker you make money.

Nerves are therefore a great companion in business. It’s a helpful response except it can lead to lower performance as well. And one of the ways nerves could be unnaturally escalated is to add the pressure of winning in business or of working to be successful. This does not help with performance, instead, it hampers it.

To flow in business, you need to be focused on playing the game, not on winning.

And that’s what Jack Nicolas was talking about. Jack’s view was that it’s your perception of the situation that’s important, not your nerves. Nerves follow perception.

So if you perceive it to be a really stressful situation, your body will create the perfect nervous reaction for your perception. Change your perception and your level of nerves change.

Nick suggests elevating your perception of the situation and then when you get to it, you will realise the situation is not that bad and that way your nerves will calm down.

I’m not so sure I would want to elevate my perception of some of the crises I experience on a daily basis in business! I am far more in favor of lowering my perception of the situation, but either way, its a great lesson that nerves are driven by our perception.

How we perceive a situation is far more important than trying to calm down our nerves. We need to learn how to change our perceptions of a situation more than learning to manage our nerves.

I had a great lesson with Brian. My perception yesterday was that my swing needed lots of work and that made me very nervous.

Tomorrow I will expand on the idea of playing to play and how ambition can kill your business.

P.S. If you’re nervous about purchasing a time and attendance system from Ouch!. Don’t be. Contact one of my great consultants today and see how they change your perception of how the system can revolutionise your business.

May you have a nervous day,


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