Welcome to my latest blog piece for the Irish Academy of Public Relations…
What is your PB? (And no, I don’t mean peanut butter…) =) If you have been gripped by the exciting moments of triumph and devastation that the Olympics bring, then you will know that PB means ‘Personal Best’, and it is usually the absolute desire of every athlete to beat their previous PB record, and win an Olympic gold medal on the way.
Every time I have watched these amazingly well trained Olympians champion their course I am reminded of my own PB, in various areas of my life. When I wake up in the morning I am learning to remind myself that today is a new day to challenge my personal best. I can always try to improve on the choices I made yesterday and give my absolute best in all I endeavour to do.
Michael Phelps has astonished all who have been watching his journey. He has come back from great challenges and a retirement, to win more medals than he even believed he could himself.
Michael’s 200m butterfly gold medal made him the oldest swimmer to win an individual Olympic title at 31 years of age. He has earned the title, ‘GOAT’ – ‘the greatest of all time’, and quite frankly he is a medal machine! As I watched him shed a tear as he held his new three month old son, my eyes filled with tears with him. It felt exhilarating to watch him kick his doubts, fears and physical challenges to the curb and go for gold. My blood raced with motivation and excitement as I watched the faces of the crowds who applauded him; I thought to myself how many of them have overcome their own PB challenges too, and are living testimonies to the same courage we see in Michael Phelps?
Your PB may only matter to you…there may never be a gold medal placed around your neck, but that does not diminish the innate value in giving your best. You can award yourself every day; every time you overcome a challenge or advance towards something you dearly want.
So everyone is excited and counting down the moments to Masters 2015. The suspense, the thrill, the predictions of leaderboard winners, round winners and the new kids on the green.
I visited Augusta National some years ago, and I can still remember the sublime stillness of the perfectly manicured entrance. It will stay with me forever. It is a brilliant place.
Golf: Maybe you are not a golf fan? Maybe you really do not care for it at all? But let me just hold your attention momentarily, thanks!
Think about what you are good at? Do you find it a challenge to define the talents that reside within you? In golf, the term ‘your inner swing’ is much more than just about the outer swing you may carry on the field, it is about the inner strengths you have. The way you play the game of golf, but also the way you play the ‘game’ of life.
In golf, it is all about your pre-swing thoughts, how you relax, and how you handle your frustrations. It is a lot like life: How you handle the pressures of life, determines the way you ‘swing’, the way you approach the challenges life brings.
We all have those moments where we swing wrong, miss the putt, hit the trees, or land in the water. As a caddy, I am learning from the play I see on the fairways of the golf club, that the next shot has absolutely nothing to do with the last shot. The most important transition you can make is to let the last shot go and give the next one everything you have. It is easier said than done, in life, and in golf.
So in life, when you fail, miss the target, fall at the first fence, or experience the greatest disappointment of your life: how do you respond? Do you throw your driver in the lake, kick the divot with frustration, or decide to conquer the losing streak you feel you are in?
In those moments of failure, disheartened confusion and missed shots, it is imperative that you learn and move on. You must! You have to gather yourself together and focus on what comes next. There is a time for evaluation but then comes the moment where you just simply move on!
Life is a lot like a game of golf, whether you play it or not. You must focus on your goals, walk your fairway and discipline the inner swing with which you choose to live your life.
So today, calculate the areas of your life where weakness is dominating, decide where you need to focus your energies most and do it.
Let go of the past failures and aim for a better round ahead.
Come on, your inner swing is yours, you still have it. Eye on the ball, eye on the hole, you can do it!