By Paul Monahan
Mental Game Coach, Graves Golf Academy
I believe that staying connected to one’s true potential in any moment comes in part from high consciousness. And high consciousness occurs when you have:
- An awareness of who you are.
- A good sense of what your life is all about.
Primarily, I think of high consciousness as the mental state who’s hallmark is the ability to contextualize or put things into proper perspective easily and quickly.
Don Byers understands what it is like to stay connected to his potential in any moment. In April 2018 Byers made history as the oldest person ever to play a college sport when he teed up his golf ball as a member of the Bellevue University Men’s Golf Team.
As the story goes, Byers – a 61 year-old father and grandfather – happened to play a round of golf in August of 2017 at his home course (Champions Run) with Bellevue’s head golf coach Ron Brown. He (Byers) had been working on his game the previous few years and had worked his handicap down to scratch. He played very well the day he golfed with Brown.
Brown was impressed and joked to Byers about whether he had any eligibility left. And it turns out that the former baseball player DID in-fact have four years of eligibility left due to an injury he sustained prior to his freshman season at University of Nebraska, Omaha.
So Beyers – who owns his own insurance agency – was recruited by Brown and later joined the Bellevue Bruins golf team.
But it wasn’t easy. And as he tells the story in a Golf Channel feature story, Byers was very nervous about making the team – and wanted desperately to earn a spot in the top five on the team so that he would qualify to tee it up in tournament play.
Byers reported that: “I didn’t want to fail. I wanted to play well right out of the chute and impress everybody. When it didn’t happen that way, you start pressing and it slowly falls apart on you.”
But to combat those nerves, he said: “I found myself having that care-free attitude again. Just go out there and have fun.” And eventually, he earned an opportunity to play in the Bruins’ last tournament of the season as a 61-year old freshman. (And he made history as the oldest collegiate athlete ever!)
How did he earn that spot? In part, I believe because he was able to quickly put his experiences into proper context, and to anchor to the thought patterns that he knew could produce a better experience for him. Ultimately, I think he was able to tap into the playful and joyful feelings that are so much a part of his golfing.
Don has grown the skill of managing his current potential
What does that mean? It means that he has learned how to stay in productive thought patterns while playing golf…so that he can play his best golf – not matter the stakes or the situation.
In my work as a leadership and performance coach, I often help my clients to cultivate an idea called Managing My Potential.
I encourage them to look inward and tune-in to their own thought patterns. The ones that keep them connected to their potential in the present moment… as well as the ones that block their access to that potential.
Managing My Potential happens for me when I am AWARE of the mental and emotional dynamics that keep me connected to my true potential in any given moment.
Managing My Potential is about expanding awareness of self. And it’s about creating a sense of HIGH CONSCIOUSNESS (awareness) about the present moment as it unfolds for me…so that I can cultivate proper context and perspective. It is what allows me to see things objectively and without a lot of judgment.
As the snow begins to fall more regularly, and the cold begins to set in a little deeper in many places, the opportunities to play are less and less for a little while. But you can ALWAYS work on your mental game skills…just by TUNING-IN to your own mental and emotional dynamics – that is to say: by expanding your own awareness.
When that happens, you will make the most of every round. You will tap into joy and passion and play with ease. You will access the very best that is within you that day. And you will play better golf!
Paul Monahan, PCC is a Peak-Performance coach, member of the International Coach Federation and a certified COR.E Performance Dynamics (TM) Specialist. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife Paula and is the proud dad to three amazing young men.(…you guessed it: they take after their mom!)