Updated: Nov 4, 2021
What do you focus on? Your potential or your performance? This was a question I was asked to think deeply about from my mentor Christian Simpson. At first, I thought, “Is this a trick question?” Everyone needs to focus on performance, right? How would you get anywhere in life without focusing on performance?
Well…I then thought about the answer in a very conscious state. Performance was and has been my sole driver of measuring my self-worth. If I didn’t make the cut, then who am I? This way of thinking hasn’t necessarily been kind on my emotions and self-perspective. But performance isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon. Highlighting success based on personal milestones can be very telling and assist high achievers in balancing what success and maybe failure/opportunity looks like.
The Handicap Paradox
As I continued to struggle with my over consumption with performance, I thought about a very interesting perspective in the golf handicap system that made me change my perspective ever so slightly. In golf, all golfers who want to keep a handicap, post their scores for that round. Each round is posted and based on the course rating; you are computed a handicap index. A handicap index is not your actual handicap. It is the average of your top 10 rounds/score of 20 scores posted. In essence, it is a golfer’s potential, not true performance.
So, taking this handicap index conundrum further, I know that I have the potential to score 89-95 on average. When I focus on the fact that my potential has gotten better, I show up for my round of golf in a much calmer mindset (head games in golf are big). When I show up for a round only focused on not making a par, bogie, and an occasional birdie, my game deteriorates. I’m only focused on the result which is my 89-95 performance. I get lost in the moment of performance only and totally lose sight of that pie in the sky potential that I am capable of. Self-destructive thoughts flourish in my head making me wonder why I’m even out on the links today. The round of golf (that should be enjoyable) ends up being torturous and no fun!
"The only way to maximize potential for performance is to be calm in the mind." - Brian Sipes
I want my goals and experiences to be enjoyable. As Brian Sipes states, “The only way to maximize potential for performance is to be calm in the mind.” I don’t want to lose sight of my potential and I am sure you don’t either. Start reclaiming your emotions and focus on milestones. What did you do today that went better than yesterday? What was that one skill that you feel you are improving upon at work or even personally? If you missed the “PAR”, what did you learn from that minor setback? As you start reclaiming your successful milestones, increase that goal by one more success. And keep reminding yourself that you have such great potential. It keeps your frame of mind in the positive which will ultimately assist in reaping your rewards both personally and professionally.
Do you want your goals and milestones in life to be an enjoyable journey? a marathon and not a sprint? A conscious self-reflection and personal growth? If so, let's get together! I know I can help.