Links to Life: A 3 Step Strategy

I love simple ideas. When things are 6 year old simple, I get it. No need for big words, complicated terms, or psycho-babble. Just simple ideas that I can pull out of my back pocket at any time. So, when thinking about how to transfer skills from the course to things that are going on in life, I came up with three simple ideas: Visualize, Strategize and Commit. Follow these steps and you are sure to have a much better go at a shot on the course than just stepping up to the ball and hitting away. Taking the time to visualize where you are going, coming up with a strategy to get there and then committing to the shot gives you a greater chance of winding up on the course where you want to be. In theory, right?

Right. Then there’s human error, a too fast swing, not accounting for wind or that bunker in front of the green. So much to assess. . .so many decisions to make in a short amount of time. How do those pro golfers do it?

Just as with anything in life . . . . practice practice practice. And there’s no need to think that you couldn’t also do this in your personal life. With practice you can do things like master your communication in a relationship, implement effective coping strategies for your depression or anxiety, meet those health goals you have. If you think about it, there really isn’t any life situation that couldn’t use this model. Visualize, Strategize and Commit.


When you visualize, it gives you the ability to see a possibility. If you allow yourself to stay with that vision and think of all of the details that goes with it, it becomes even more real. If any of you have ever seen the movie, The Legend of Bagger Vance you know what I’m talking about. Several times in the movie, Matt Damon’s character, Rannulph Junuh, gets ready to putt his ball while on the green. He looks at the hole and looks at his ball and then an image appears of the ball’s path to the hole. Junuh putts along the visualized path and sinks the putt. How many times has this happened to you on the course? When you stand over the ball and can see that path to the hole. It’s such a moment of clarity and when executed properly, the satisfaction that you feel from sinking that putt that you saw going in the hole all along is so satisfying!

Life situations require that same level of visualization to the point of clarity. And when you see yourself with those 10 pounds you want to lose and how life will be feeling at that point, or acing that speech you have to give in front of your peers, or that day when you are feeling less sad or lonely, it gives you the images to anchor on to. Focus and motivation follow. The vision gets locked in and often this brings hope, confidence and excitement for the next step.


How are we going to get to that vision? If you’re on the course, what club should I use? Should I lay up? Do I need to be mindful of wind? Water? Sand? There are many ways to get to the vision. What path will you choose? In life it’s the same. How will I go about losing that 10 pounds? What tricks and strategies will I use to keep my anxiety in check for that big speech? How will I go about feeling less sad and lonely? This step can sometimes require some skill building, research, thinking outside of the box, consultation. It’s not always picking a strategy to get to the vision, but when you do, then here comes the final step.


All things accounted for on the course, the club has been chosen, the type of swing has been decided and now it’s time to step up to the ball and commit to the shot. It’s when there is a lack of commitment that unfortunate things can happen. How many times have you stood over the ball and just as you are ready to swing you wonder quickly if you have enough club? Or, tell yourself “don’t hit it into the lake?” And then sure enough. . .chunk or clunk. . right into the lake. You allowed an intrusive thought to interfere with your strategy. Same thing in life. We tell ourselves we’ve been good and can afford to have that piece of cake for dessert, or let a thought of “what if people are going to hate what I have to say” right before you give that big speech, or you have one bad day and tell yourself, “what’s the use? I’m going to be sad and lonely forever.” These thoughts are enough to derail us from our vision. We have a tendency to let thoughts push us around. That clarity and vision that we just had has gone out the window.

This last step of committing is so important. Not letting anything keep you from executing the shot you envisioned or the plan you want to execute in your life and pushing aside anything that runs interference isn’t always easy. Even the best of us can have a moment where all of a sudden a 1 foot putt where money on the line makes you shake, give you the yips or gives yourself a big psych-out. It’s when we remind ourselves that we’ve made that putt a hundred times and this time is no different than the others is when we push aside the uncertainty and get back on the commitment to the original vision. . .sinking that putt!

In my upcoming blogs we are going to look more closely at this 3 step plan and how it plays out in our lives. Simple ideas, not always easy to execute. I’m going to show you how something that you do every time you are on the golf course can become your strategy in approaching life. And with practice, practice, practice, you will get better at seeing what you want, finding an approach to get it and then executing it with confidence.

Until next time .. .go work on your game. .