9 Swings on a Par 3. Been there. Done that.

Whether you play golf or not, we’ve all lived the moment when you shoot a 9 on a par 3. In plain English, this translates to taking 9 swings with your club (or any instrument of choice) to accomplish something that should’ve only taken three.

I watched this unfold in real time at the 2017 Players Championship. Zac Blair was living his moment on the infamous 17th hole of the TPC Sawgrass course. It was painful to watch. Yet eerily familiar.

How often do we set out to achieve an attainable goal only to have something set us back? Our swing is good, but there’s an obstacle that prevents us from achieving the results we strive for. In Zac’s case, that obstacle was the “Island Green.”

In the good times, we’re able to take a breath, step back, identify the obstacle and then create a workaround that allows us to move forward. That’s when we congratulate ourselves for being so darn smart! And then there’s the time when we’re stuck. Cue Zac Blair.

Rule Follower. Rather than taking the ball to the drop zone, Zac continued to pick it up and put it back on the tee. Following the “that’s the way it’s done,” rule can hold us back from the desired outcome. It’s okay to seek out different paths or take advantage of a shortcut that’s handed to us.

Noise. There’s no golf whispering on the 17th hole at the Players Championship, and with each missed attempt, you could hear the crowd feeling Zac’s pain. It’s hard to focus with external noise. When the quarterly numbers start to sag, we go for the kitchen sink approach, listening to every suggestion that comes our way. Don’t get easily pushed into desperation mode because of the chatter.

Internal Dialogue. Speaking of chatter. Is there anything that can throw us off course more than our own internal dialogue? We don’t want to know what Zac was thinking! That’s when we have to remind ourselves to breathe and change the script. We are our biggest motivators.

Over the years, I’ve seen these obstacles with clients and I’ve lived them. We all have. At Zac Blair’s expense, I received a reminder that sometimes we need to hit the pause button and assess the situation so we can move forward.

Pam Beigh

The Island Green throws another player off course.

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