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  • Austin Walker

Teeing Off Took a Thousand Mistakes


Failure is no secret in business, in growth of your personal life, or even in relationships. When we watch professional athletes in their games, it can be difficult to see what they went through to get there. We don't necessarily capture how often they failed to realize their goal.

Steph Curry drops 60 points in a game. Michael Jordan wins his 7th championship,

There are also some of the greatest who just never got there. Dan Marino never won a Super Bowl. Tiger Woods was the greatest golfer to ever play, and he still struggles to make the cut.

So let's focus less on the athletes and move to someone we can connect with a little bit more: me. I'm just like you. There are plenty of things I have yet to improve, but it doesn't stop me from playing. It may prevent me from playing with others that are a little more experienced, but it won't stop me from embarrassing myself on my 7th putt.

However, what they don't know, and what most don't, is that I didn't have a father to teach me the first stroke. I definitely could not afford lessons - have you seen how much a pro charges - to better my game. It was all trial and error.

I watched YouTube videos to improve my swing. I watched other pros and realized that not all strokes were the same. Each individual had something a little bit different compared to another.

I was 22 years old the first time I put a tee into the ground. I swung and hit nothing but air. The friends laughed and joked. I swung again and the whiff actually blew the tee off the ball. Needless to say, I spent most of the day walking in the sun and having a cold beer, while just picking up the ball after my seventh attempted swing.

However, for some reason golf drove me (pun intended) to get back on the course.

The friends didn't see the full bucket of balls I would hit every single day for a summer. They noticed small improvements in my game, but had no clue that in the mornings I'd hit a bucket and in the evenings would rotate chipping and putting. It was a fantastic summer.

It was next summer that I hit my thousandth tee. There's no way for me to count. Could be a lot higher. But I could now hit roughly 80% of my shots 2-300 yards, and with exceptional accuracy. I had learned the differences between flop and punch. Played more Tiger Woods golf on Xbox than I care to share to get familiar with how to analyze the playing field.

I can now regularly beat most of my friends, not because I'm any more accurate or because I practiced. I have confidence in my shot, and can walk to course making pars regularly. But this is how I win: through their mind.

With 1000 golf shots, I took a lot of heartache. And pain. And had dreams about golf. I continued to learn more. But really learned that the whole game is completely mental. It took thousands of attempts where I failed and had to reluctantly set the tee back up to only be hurt again. There were days I wouldn't go because I was so upset.

My friends grew up playing golf with family. They probably still have more hours into the game than I do, but here's where they always fail, and I always win.

When they have a horrible shot, they let it seep into their soul. While yelling at themselves, or screaming at the wind or the course or some blade of grass, or the tree that they just decided to literally swing through, they consistently blast things out of their control. The real reason why the ball did not go where they wanted because of a few things. Lack of control. Lack of confidence. And not spending enough time to gather information on what kind of shot it will take to get it where they need to go. Also, there are factors they cannot control (wind, water, animals, etc.).

I already made a lot of failures in golf while practicing. Over 1000 times at least. When I hit a horrible shot, it's just another learning experience to make me better. I don't lose focus on shot 2 or 3, just because I made a poor decision on the last.

The continuation of my mellow mood, compared to the anger or poor attitude my fellows put off, always wins.

Your business is the same way. You will attempt to do better over 1000 times. And you will fail 1000 times. But the person that lets it get to them will always be the one who loses. They'll be the one that quits before perfecting. They'll be your competitors that close the doors before they've even been through half of what you have.

Stick to your game plan, make adjustments as you need, don't let things you can't control get to you, and most importantly, realize that the failures you have are the only ways of learning what doesn't work. It gets you one step closer to what will.


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