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Leadership Is Not a Game of Perfect

Golf is not a game of perfect


Almost 30 years ago I read a book by Dr. Bob Rotella, a renowned sports psychologist. The book was called Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect, and it was all about how to improve your golf game. The main lesson I took from this book was to play one shot at a time – to stay fully present in each moment during a round of golf – and let the score take care of itself. This sounds simple, but when you factor in all the emotions and distractions involved in a round of golf, it is much easier said than done. After I started to apply the lessons from this book, I started to enjoy the game much more, and the people I played with enjoyed playing with me a lot more as well. I do not play enough golf to be very good at it, but it is much more pleasant now when I do get a chance to play. 

The lesson learned from this book has served me well in life generally and as a leader. It requires constant daily practice, but being present as a leader means being fully engaged and attentive to the task at hand, as well as to the people around you. It means being in the moment, without distractions or preoccupations.  

One of the biggest challenges we face as leaders is managing diverse teams with unique perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds. In order to effectively lead, it is essential to be present and attentive to the needs of each individual. This means taking the time to listen, understand, and address their concerns, as well as recognizing and appreciating their contributions. When we are present, we create a safe and supportive environment where everyone can thrive and feel valued, maintaining a positive and productive workplace culture. 

Being present can make all the difference in providing exceptional service to our customers. When we are fully engaged and focused on the customer, we are better able to understand their needs and provide personalized solutions that exceed their expectations. By being present, we demonstrate that we care about their experience and are committed to providing the best service possible. 

Furthermore, being present can improve our own personal happiness and productivity. When we are fully engaged in the present moment, we are more likely to make better decisions, communicate more effectively, and manage our time efficiently. We are also better equipped to handle stress and overcome obstacles, which can lead to greater job satisfaction and a more positive outlook. 


So how can we cultivate a practice of being present? Here are a few tips: 

Set aside distractions: In order to be fully present, it is important to eliminate distractions such as email notifications or phone calls. Set aside specific times during the day to check your email or take phone calls so that you can focus on the task at hand. 

Practice active listening: When someone is speaking to you, make an effort to actively listen to what they are saying. Ask questions and clarify any points that are unclear to ensure that you fully understand their perspective. 

Take breaks: It is important to take regular breaks throughout the day to recharge and refocus. This can include taking a walk outside, meditating, or simply taking a few deep breaths. 

Be mindful: Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present in the moment. By incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine, you can become more aware of your thoughts and emotions, which can help you better manage stress and improve your overall well-being. 


In conclusion, being present is essential for effective leadership, exceptional customer service, and personal well-being. By cultivating a practice of being fully engaged and attentive, we can create a positive and productive workplace culture where everyone can thrive.  


We will never be perfect, but with regular practice we can all be better and get greater enjoyment from the game of life. 


Doug Dougherty


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