I am currently reading the amazing book, The Unstoppable Golfer, by Dr. Bob Rotella. For those of you who are not golf lovers let me say that this book will help you gain a greater sense of control over your personal life and career objectives, not just your golf game. The psychology of golf can impact such areas of your life, as confidence, discipline, vision, and drive.
One of my favourite quotes in the book is: “Every golfer has two opponents, the golf course and himself”, we all can relate to this truth. As a business person or in your personal life, there are obstacles and challenges that seek to prevent you from achieving your destination. It matters greatly how you master these challenges; you must stand up on the inside before you will find the courage needed to meet the external challenges life throws at you. Bob Rotella mentions the importance of playing your game with no fear, with true passion and a belief that you can do it.
There are different beliefs in the golfing world about how much you should concentrate on your long or short game, and as I read the many theories on this idea, I was reminded that it is also true of the visions and plans I make regarding my own life. Do we have the right long-term goals for our lives? Does my present situation make it easy or difficult for these dreams to become my reality? If I identify obstacles in my way, then I must work and challenge myself to remove them. It is not easy to do, but what is right is not always easy.
So today I encourage you to dig deep inside your heart and search through the myriads of choices, dreams and plans you are cultivating there; are they truly leading you to living an unstoppable life? Are you living other people’s dreams or are you genuinely excited about the person you are becoming?
What you do today, whether in your game of golf or your game of life, directly impacts the game you experience a year, or ten years from now.
Your short game influences your long game: make sure it is a game worth playing…
“Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.”
Saint Francis De Sales
Gentle Strength – both words could be seen as complete opposites, but when blended together they produce one of the most beautiful character traits a person can display. I love strong people; they are trustworthy, reliable and confident. I also love gentle people; they are safe, approachable and usually deep. Both traits have their good points, but also have their weak spots too. Have you ever worked or shared office space with a strong person, who is controlling and manipulative? Strength is beautiful, but not when wielded and used to control others in hurtful ways. Gentleness is attractive, but not when the person becomes overly apologetic, timid or passive, especially about important things.
I think there is a beautiful balance in the marrying of these two character traits; a grand display of gentleness and strength working together. We become stronger when we know where we are weak, and there is a lot to be learned in being brave enough to search our hearts in order to face our fears. How we handle our career and personal lives in these areas will determine the kind of aroma we leave when people interact with us.
How we handle defeat or victory also speaks volumes about the type of people we are; when we are victorious and pronounced the winner are we proud or gloating? It is a strength to really know ourselves, and it is an even grander accomplishment to then deal with the things we see in our hearts that we are not proud of. Sometimes not winning all the time makes us even more attractive, if our response is humble and gentle.
When I saw this image of this magnificently strong elephant with gentle butterfly wings, I was moved by the thought ‘Gentle Strength’, and the perfect balance those two traits are; but I was also reminded that it is a precious thing to listen (butterfly ears) with a gentle response. A gentle response turns away anger… “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15)
Be a strong person, but use your strength in a gentle way. Look at the areas in your life where you need to be stronger, or develop a backbone of steel. But it is also beneficial to examine the areas in your behaviour where you need to allow gentleness to govern your responses and choices.
Be brave enough to look inside, and really know yourself. What a wonderful world it would be to work, live and do life with people who choose ‘gentle strength’!
Sometimes it is not easy to put your fingers on these humble laptop keys, to try to communicate what it is that you want to share with the blogging world….and does anybody out there really read what you write or even care? I believe it is still worth the risk.
The following words motivated me to write today… ”I will get around to it someday”, I heard her say as she passed me by on her cell phone. A total stranger to me, yet our hearts were linked simply by the phrase she used. We plan to do it, we plan to achieve so much but rarely make it a reality in our lives.
In this age of digital and personal development, many have thrown around the term USP, or otherwise known as your Unique Selling Point. Some folks find it easy to identify these incredible strengths in others, but struggle to evaluate these attributes in themselves, their talents or their business offering.
As entrepreneurs, communicators or anyone with a dream, it is vital that you know what your unique strengths are, and utilise them in all of your business endeavours.
Let’s break it down into smaller parts and evaluate the significance of this term. When you are asked about your business, your skills, your capabilities or accomplishments, do you struggle to see what makes you unique? If you do, don’t worry, you are not alone in this dilemma. But if you do not challenge this weakness it will hold you back in every area where you seek to be successful. It is like carrying out a SWOT analysis on yourself, while determining where you are most likely to achieve your business goals.
So take a pen and paper, and jot down the words that come to mind as you answer these questions: There is no wrong answer, just be as honest as you can.
What differentiates you from what your competitors are doing or offering?
How do you add value in the industry or market you are currently in?
If you were not doing what you are doing, what would your consumers or customers miss out on?
When you wake up in the morning, are you motivated by the thought that you can make a difference in your work day, and if so, how?
Okay – how do you feel in the pit of your stomach right now? Are you chasing a goal that actually has no real value to your heart? Is there a possibility that you are stuck in your comfort zone and are no longer excited about what you are doing? If this is the case, then make the decision today to ‘unglue’ yourself from this place of underachieving.
“Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people.” – Jim Rohn
Your skill set may be perfectly matched to the industry you are working in, so it just may be the case that you need to sharpen your focus in a more dynamic way. Either way, unless we challenge these thoughts, we can find ourselves drifting along with no real motivation and certainly having no lasting impression on those we desperately want to impact in business and life.
“Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.”
Author of The Inner Game series of books
Sometimes we are truly inspired by the incredible people in our lives who ‘coach’ us and cheer us on in our endeavours and adventures, but there are other seasons in life when we must decide to be our own coach, and that is where the inner game comes to play! I love the ideas in the book The Inner Game of Golf, by Timothy Gallway. I first began to read it because I love the mental disciplines of golf, and wanted to be a great caddie for my dad, and other golfers. I quickly noticed that the game of golf closely resembles the disciplines needed to actually do anything right, not just golf.
“When we plant a rose seed in the earth, we notice that it is small, but we do not criticize it as “rootless and stemless.” We treat it as a seed, giving it the water and nourishment required of a seed. When it first shoots up out of the earth, we don’t condemn it as immature and underdeveloped; nor do we criticize the buds for not being open when they appear. We stand in wonder at the process taking place and give the plant the care it needs at each stage of its development. The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential. It seems to be constantly in the process of change; yet at each state, at each moment, it is perfectly alright as it is.” – Timothy Gallway
If you play golf, then you will be more than familiar with your thinking process as you move from swing, drive, shot to fairway, (trees?, water?, OOB?, or bunker?) green, and the hole… During these transitions, what matters is what you think about as you walk to the next shot! It is a lot like life. isn’t it? If you are swinging your way through the trees and trying to find your way back to the better fairways of your life, how you think about who you are, your potential and your goals, makes a humdinger of a difference! It impacts how you end the game, both in golf and in life!
Imagine you are the seed mentioned in Tim Gallway’s quote above; how do you really measure your worth? Can you be patient with your awesome little steps. even if they seem so small compared to others? Can you see that with each day you are possibly letting go of the old way of doing things, and with each new attempt to open up to new things, you are becoming more ‘you’ than you had previously been? Yes, you may need a magnifying glass to see the growth, but you need to be your own best cheerleader and not underestimate the power of the small steps you are taking. As you transition from one part of the game to the next, you need to watch how you think. You need to let go of how the last shot played out and get truly focused on the next shot and give it socks! We all know the quotes out there about letting go of the past and moving on, but it is not always as easy to do as we would like. It also depends on whether the last shot was a success or not.
Are you dragging your driver and your feet to the next shot? If you are, it’s okay, you can change what happens next in your ‘game’. But, if you allow the negative results from badly taken shots determine your confidence and enthusiasm, then you are in for a disastrous ‘game of life’ my friend. Trust me, I know. It matters what you think and do between ‘swings’. and the game of golf is much more about life, then many of us, especially a learner caddie, ever realised!
It may be time to change clubs, rethink your focus, take some time out or just enjoy the challenge instead of worrying about what may or may not happen. Sometimes the ‘game’ goes the way it does through no fault of our own. Just keep showing up, give it your best shot and never stop believing that you are learning as you grow! Don’t focus on other people’s game, just make sure that you show up for yours.
In-between… [noun] Also known as in-betweener – a person or thing that is between two extremes, two contrasting conditions, such as yeses, nos/or noes, and in-betweens.
Sound familiar? Today, Easter Saturday is certainly that day for the entire calendar, but none more than the very first Easter Saturday, when nobody knew yet, that Sunday would be the day that the game changed.
Today, it feels like the world celebrates the waiting factor of being in-between. I wish I could embrace it as enthusiastically in my own personal life, but that is not always an easy thing to do. Today, when it feels like we sit and wait to celebrate tomorrow, Jesus was in fact demolishing the powers of darkness, grabbing keys and unlocking doors, setting captives free, and changing our eternity, for eternity. Heaven rubbed its hands together, in expectation, just like my mum does when she is waiting for an apple pie to bake in the oven. All the angels in heaven were anticipating the day He would rise; they saw the in-between day as a day of great victory.
So what are you doing today? Are you celebrating the in-between day while you wait for Sunday? Are you stuck between two extremes, or contrasting conditions? If so, please know that you are certainly not alone in that place. Even if it seems like a dark place, remember Jesus conquered darkness, even your darkness. He sees in the dark, and darkness is as light to Him. You may not see Him there beside you, but trust me I know He is there with you.
Are you stranded between yours or someone else’s yeses and nos, maybes and delays? As Jesus moved through the depths of the earth dismantling everything that could ever come between you and Him, don’t you think that He too can handle the yeses and nos of our lives? I understand, it is easier said than done, but isn’t that what faith is? Believing without yet seeing! Remember the dearly loved followers of Jesus as they waited for Sunday, nobody had even risen from the dead before. It had never been done in the history of time. What faith they must have had. Even His enemies watched in fear, in case He would actually do it. The eyes of faith must look at something as if it has already happened. Believe me, I am learning to do this as much as you are my friend.
Today, as I remember what kept Jesus busy in the depths of the earth, I am grateful that He walks through the dark seasons of my life with me. I see Him as the greatest Superhero ever. He wielded His powerful sword of truth and demolished every lie, stronghold and fear that tries to ruin my life. He tore down every obstacle that stood in our way. He disarmed the kingdom of darkness and opened the gates of splendid salvation for us. Today, way back then, was a busy day where Jesus stood in-between two very contrasting days, two extremes, two very contrasting outcomes, and changed the world forever. Never before had the world calendar been divided into BC and AD.
AD is an abbreviation for “Anno Domini,” which is a Latin phrase meaning “in the year of our Lord,” referring to the Christ’s birth. BC means before Christ. It was not actually developed until 525 AD, when the entrance of the Christ into the world was recognized as being the turning point of history, and our calendars were made to reflect that. Today, can be a turning point for you too.
So this Easter, may our lives reflect what happened on the in-between day. The day where all of hell woke up to the power of heaven let loose on them. The world was in-between two very contrasting outcomes, and nothing would remain the same.
May you know, that just as you walk through yeses, nos, and difficult days, Jesus walks with you, right in the midst of where it hurts, and He promises to never abandon you. Today, may be a day of waiting for tomorrow, but it would also be a good day to get busy remembering exactly what He did in the darkness, and that He is busy walking us through the in-between times too, and all power is His.
You are much loved, from one in-betweener to another. We are held firmly by the greatest In-betweener the world has or will ever know!
I took this photo here in Ireland. It’s a beautiful little pansy growing from solid rock. Beautiful things can grow in hard places… so chin up buttercup!
We all go through tough times, where life is literally as hard as rock, and everyday feels like we are walking through quick dry cement. Look at this pansy: it is fragile, delicate and easily broken, yet it has somehow overcome the obstacles presented to it by the surroundings it is trying to grow in. Feel familiar?
Are you trying to overcome the tests of life? Are you determined to rebuild what circumstances have demolished? Has your courage been ravished by disappointment or heartache? Are there just too many whys and not enough answers? You are not alone in this tough place. But there is always a lesson to learn, and the things that happen on the outside, can bring about a tremendously precious lesson on the inside of us. Changes around us can become the perfect soil for growth on the inside, where nobody sees, but God. Right in this moment of pain, there are gems awaiting your embrace. It’s hard, and absolutely overwhelming, but God will not leave you alone. You may be trying not to be lonely while you are alone, and that could be exactly where God will meet you and change everything about you.
“God gets His best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction.” C.H. Spurgeon
You are not alone, you are not alone, you are not alone! You must choose to embrace this painful season, and keep believing that this too shall pass, and one day you will smile again. Not a fake, pretend smile, but a real smile that comes from a truly happy place.
God knows how to get you there. He knows how to get your tender, delicate roots through the hard cement of life, just like the little pansy. The amazing thing is, that although this pansy was in fact tiny, I still saw it. Even in what seems like a season of ‘smallness’ in your life, God will cause the right people to see you, (really see you) and He will show you the why of it all.
Hang in there…even in this hard place, you are still beautiful, inside and out. God sees you and He is guiding you with His eye.