“It’s always darkest before the sunrise.”
Have you ever heard that before? I have. And honestly, I’m not sure if it’s technically true.
However I think that the metaphor still works for me. It goes something like this:
Occasionally, it seems like we will never emerge from our struggle. While plodding away in the darkness (a metaphor for struggle) things can begin to feel very heavy. And this can cause us to lose hope in ever transcending the darkness (or ultimately overcoming the struggle).
But then something magic happens. After working a long time on something, breakthroughs happen. Insights appear. Hope grows. The struggle ends.
And then the sun comes out. And life is good again.
My wife and I recently spent the weekend in Nashville with our son Kevin who is a young musician and producer. (It was dark and rainy in Nashville…which made me wish for the sun…and partially inspired the idea for this blog.)
For people like Kevin and his peers in the music biz – smart, talented people working very hard on their passions, but having not yet reached the level of success they are aiming to reach one day – the darkness of struggle can be an impediment to realizing dreams.
What is so inspiring about being around Kevin and his music-industry friends though, is that they are so committed to the work that they never stop moving forward. Yes…they are tempted sometimes to compare themselves to others…but the ones who thrive in these conditions are dedicated to the process of improvement. They just don’t get stuck (very often – or for very long) in WHERE they are at any given time. They TRUST in the process so much that in essence, success is already theirs.
Even if it seems dark right now. Even if there is no guarantee that “the sun will out” on their career.
And this is exactly as it should be. Struggle is necessary to grow talent.
Dan Coyle (Author, Cleveland, OH resident and friend to the Moe Norman Single Plane Swing Community) revealed a decade ago in his book The Talent Code the importance of embracing struggle when learning new skills. Coyle references advances in science which show that struggle actually BUILDS and REINFORCES the physical network of neurons in our brain which allow us to successfully build the skill needed to perform at high levels.
(In The Talent Code, Coyle also reveals the importance in practice.)
As you think about preparing for another year of golf, you no doubt may be faced with the idea of struggle as you work on matching the Single Plane Swing model and ultimately plaingy better golf.
Since we never know how long this is going to take – there are many factors and variables to consider – it certainly can seem like the struggle to improve (or maybe just stink a little less?) is never-ending. If you are feeling that, I want you to know that that is ok.
You are exactly where you should be.
Having said that, there are a couple things you can do.
- Stop comparing yourself to other golfers. Compare yourself today to the golfer you were yesterday. This is the only comparison that matters.
- Reframe the Single Plane Swing journey. Remember that it is not about IF you can get this…it’s only about WHEN. (And then drop any attachment you have to WHEN success will come for you. )
- When things get really heavy for you, step outside of yourself and focus on serving others for a little while. (When we operate from the perspective of “service to others,” our mindset is much more positive and productive.)
- Enjoy the journey. The small victories.
- Know that success is already yours. And remember that growth comes from struggle.
Struggle is what is required for growth. Struggle is what is required to layer your neurotransmitters with the amazing brain protein sheath (myelin) that will make the changes to your swing long-lasting. Struggle in practice is what is required to ensure that you can take your swing onto the course and actually play better.
So if it feels a little “dark” right now. That’s ok. It’s actually supposed to.
With some continued focus, intentionality and practice and maybe a little reframing, the sun’ll come out for you and your swing. I have no doubt.
Have a great week!
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.