Redefining success is an exercise. For many, it can be overwhelming to define success as being #1, whether that’s in school, sports, or business. In golf, we see rankings and in school, we see class ranking as a definition of success. Social media has also convinced many that success means having a large following or liking, which can be a misleading barometer for success. These are not necessarily ‘bad things’, they can be great markers of measurement to one’s own success.
That being said, it is great to strive to be the best at something, but it must have the right context for the individual. For a student who puts little effort into studying and does not like school, it would be unreasonable for them to set a goal of being in the top percentile of their class. On top of a student’s own expectations, parents have a great influence, and may even set unattainable goals for their child. This dynamic between parents and their kids could cause great emotional stress as well as manifest in physical stress.
Coach Wooden of the UCLA Bruins, perhaps one of the greatest coaches of all time, defines success as, “Success is peace of mind that is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” I believe this is one of the best definitions of success. Success is often defined only by the result, such as winning a tournament or game, or acing a test, or how you compare to someone else. What if you do not put your full effort into preparation, or someone just plays or performs better than you? It may be that your skills at the moment are not where you would like them to be. A question to ask yourself is how do I know where I am in developing my skills, so that I can better define success or improvement?
Golf athletes who define success as winning a tournament, being ranked higher, getting recruited by a DI college coach, or lowering handicap without having developed the necessary skills to do so, puts more stress on the outcome, and less attention on developing the skills necessary to allow the best outcomes to happen.
There is a great debate amongst PGA professionals, skill acquisition “experts” and expertise scientists as to what is more important; skills, physical literacy, or performance results. There are a lot of great individuals teaching the game of golf in the context of mechanics. I do not believe this is the only skill needed to be successful, nor do I think these teachers believe this either. The mechanical skill (hard skill) is certainly a factor, one that can not be overlooked, the game skill (soft skills) how to play certain shots, is a factor, mental skill (ability to engage) crosses over to every aspect of the process, clearly a factor, the physical skill (“function dictates form”), how the physiology affects skill development and the equipment skill, knowing what equipment is best for you and how it can help or hinder success as defined by results. Understanding is a big part of setting oneself up for success, without the knowledge how each of the skills or the lack of such skills will play a major role in determine your success is key.
On the Junior Golf Hub app, the Player Development Index (PDI) self-assessment provides understanding as to where you may be on your developmental journey. The Golf Performance Center also provides a PDI Coach Guided Assessment which is in-person and more in-depth. Schedule the PDI Full 5 Elements of Success Assessment to not only have the most accurate assessment of your skills sets, but to also come away with a plan to help determine your best success strategies for all aspects of your game.
In conclusion, if you are struggling to find your success and or redefining what success is for you, give some reflection or revisit your vision quest as to how you are going about obtaining success. Perhaps you do not have enough knowledge as to where you are on your journey. Becoming a good golfer requires a novice approach to practicing skills, becoming a great golfer, aspiring to play and compete at the highest levels requires a much deeper approach to practicing, it requires great efforts to improve. If you are doing the right things necessary at your best effort level, challenging yourself each session you practice or play, it still takes time and much needed knowledge to be successful, winning or performing at the highest levels! Having a mastery or growth mindset allows room for failures and successes, helping you achieve your greatest potential!
Enjoy Your Journey!