Business is like Golf
Sharing the same principles for success
As Your Uncle Ralph, writing for entrepreneurs at LearningEntrepreneurship.com, I have often used the analogy that business is like golf. It seems timely to revisit some of those themes and you don’t have to be a golfer to recognize the similarities and the shared principles for success.
Business is like golf: It’s easy to get into trouble and hard to get the results you want.
Business is like Golf:
- It's important to have a plan. Of course nothing goes exactly according to plan, but if you have one, you will at least recognize when it’s time to make corrections and get where you want to be. (Oops! I'm in the sand trap and need to get back on the fairway in front of the green.)
- Even the good shots can end up badly. And vice versa. So take your best shot and hope for the best. (That long straight drive may go too far and end up in the rough. And sometimes a terrible slice will bounce off a tree and end up right where you wanted to be.)
- Every problem is just another challenge. It was not supposed to end up in the rough and behind a tree, but now you have a chance to work on your creative recovery shot.
- Work on the fundamentals. You cannot get better if you don't understand and master the basic principles, skills, and techniques and build a solid foundation to support better performance. (As Arnold Palmer wisely advised one angry amateur golfer, "You're not good enough to get that upset about poor results."
- Choose and use the right tools and equipment. Technology keeps making the game easier, but make sure it’s the right equipment for your current plan and objective. (Don't use your favourite 8-iron for a long, low fade when a 4-iron is the right tool.)
- Know the rules and play fair. Even if nobody catches you cheating, you know you don't deserve the score you gave yourself for the game. (A swing and a miss still counts as a stroke and “hit it as it lies,” means don’t kick it out of the long grass from under a tree back on the fairway without penalty.) Kidding yourself about your score doesn't work in business either.
- Continuous learning and determined practice are the disciplines of champions. If the Number One golfer in the world is still adjusting his swing with a new coach and working hard in the gym and on the practice range every day, what are you doing to get better and do better?
- It's easier if you lower your expectations and figure out what it takes to get better. Trying too hard to achieve unrealistic goals can be stressful and cause even worse results. (“Grip and rip it,” may just send your ball farther into the woods or the lake.) It’s better to find your groove and then consistently deliver the results you want.
- Learn from your mistakes. You will inevitably have an occasional bad shot, a bad hole, or a bad day. It may be bad luck, a bad idea, or a bad swing, but analyse what you did wrong so that you can avoid the mistake next time. (A simple change in your swing thoughts or pre-shot routine can suddenly and significantly improve performance.
That's the first nine holes.
And for more important principles of golf that apply to business:
- Keep it simple. Don’t make it complicated. (You’re just trying to hit a little white ball into a 4-inch cup that is 400 yards away in only four shots.)
- It’s a choice: either it’s a simple and enjoyable game or it’s a maddeningly frustrating challenge. You can love it and enjoy it every day, or hate it and avoid it like a bad case of food poisoning.
- You might be sufficiently smart and talented to succeed at it; you may still fail miserably. Know when to try again and when to quit.
- Recognize what you’re good at and like to do. Choose that.
- Start with a purpose and a plan. Good results come from having an appropriate strategy that guides you to good decisions in every situation.
- Master the skills first, then focus on managing effective execution in action.
- Accept the truth that for golf and business too, life is not fair. You may not be the winner and someone less deserving gets the prize.
Have a good summer and enjoy the golf!
Be better. Do Better. Be an Enlightened Entrepreneur.
Del Chatterson, your Uncle Ralph
Learn more about Enlightened Entrepreneurship at: LearningEntrepreneurship.com Read more of Uncle Ralph's advice for Entrepreneurs in Don't Do It the Hard Way & The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans - 2020 Editions.
Read more Blog posts at: LearningEntrepreneurship Blogs.