By Paul Monahan, GGA Performance Mindset Coach

If you want to lead better, parent better, or play golf better, you must develop your skills. But you also must get better at “tuning in” to the mental and emotional dynamics that either support or limit your ability to perform at your best.

Expanding emotional awareness is the primary work I do with my clients. I help them develop their knowledge of how the events happening all around them impact their thought patterns – and ultimately, their actions or performance. When they get better at seeing how games outside of the impact their “internal mechanics,” they can make progress toward building the emotional resilience necessary to perform well no matter the situation.

So, how do you develop higher awareness? I believe that it can happen for you by focusing on a couple of simple concepts.

First, you must learn to notice the thoughts that come up for you during challenging situations, as well as the feelings and emotions those ideas produce.

In essence, this means merely learning to pay attention to the ways your brain interprets each moment. For example, can you notice the thoughts you have about the driver who just cut you off in traffic? And what feelings and emotions do those ideas produce?

If you are like most people, your initial thought may be: “What’s the matter with that jerk!!??” And the emotion you feel is anger or frustration.

Simple right?

Next, you must get better at noticing how your thought patterns impact your behavior. This is key because the quality of your interactions and your performance depends upon WHAT you do.

To do this well, you must be able to “see” how your thoughts influence what you do. What do you DO when the guy cuts you off in traffic? Do you step on the gas and ride his bumper for the next mile? (That will show him!) Do you raise what my wife calls “the swears finger?” (Hey… your number one!!) Or do you ease up on the gas and make a little room for him?

Your behavior is a function of your emotions and the thoughts that proceeded them. You can get LOTS of clues about how productive your thinking is by getting better at analyzing your behavior.

One of my clients recently told me about how he was able to tune in quickly to his thoughts and emotions.

He was traveling through a busy airport and experienced a very long TSA line. When he finally arrived at the x-ray belt, a TSA agent instructed him to go a different route. My client reported that he pretty much wanted to strangle the guy. But that once he became aware of how his thought pattern might not serve him, (maybe stifling a TSA agent is not a good idea after all!) he began to reframe the situation.

Because of this awareness, he was able to anchor to a more rich story. One that was focused on how the TSA agent was just doing his job – and that there was nothing personal about the agent’s directive to him… even though he may not have liked it at first. He quickly became aware that it was much more productive toward achieving his objective of getting home if he engaged more politely with the agent.

So he successfully did two things:

He paid attention to his thought patterns…and NOTICED when a very unproductive thought pattern was dominating the moment and he also noticed that his thought pattern – and the emotion it yielded – had the potential to produce VERY unproductive behavior

Life is an inside game. All of it. All of the time. Relationships, work, leadership, parenting, traveling and the Single Plane Swing journey as well. Learn the physical skills for sure. but if you want to improve your golf or your life in 2018, never forget that the work you do on your “inside game” can make a big difference in your experiences…on the course and off.

Have a fantastic holiday season.

I look forward to continuing the conversation in 2018 and hope to see you at a GGA school soon!

PS…I’d love to hear how your awareness of your mental and emotional dynamics impacts your game. Drop me a note and let me know how it’s going: paul@paulmonahancoaching.com

Paul Monahan, PCC is a Peak-Performance coach, member of the International Coach Federation and a certified COR.E Performance Dynamics Specialist. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife Paula and is the proud dad to three young men. He works with elite-level performers and leaders, helping them to expand their awareness so that they perform at their best more consistently. You can find out more information about Paul’s work here. here.