Athletes will often talk about performing at a high level, but on certain occasions, they will comment that performing at that high level was effortless. When golfers are putting, they will say things like, “the cup looked as big as a bucket,” or they sum up an especially good day on the course as “every shot, bounce, and break went my way.” They were “in a zone.”
Unfortunately, we can’t sustain doing things in an effortless manner, and we can’t always count on being in a zone. The opposite phenomena can occur: I’m referring to times when performing at a high level is anything but effortless. For golfers, you’ll hear things like, “the cup looked as small as a postage stamp” when putting. What’s more, when every shot, bounce, and break does not go their way, golfers have a word that sums that up too. The word is “grinding,” and it has nothing to do with dancing. It has everything to do with a mental approach that produces results.
Golfers may not be striking the ball exactly the way they’d wish. They may not hit a lot of fairways, or avoid hazards, or catch breaks, but they still manage to survive the rounds they are playing and produce acceptable scores. It’s not pretty, it’s not easy, and it’s not a lot of fun, but it creates adequate results.
Grinding is what you do when you don’t have your “A” game. It has absolutely nothing to do with effort and more to do with circumstances. In golf, when you’re referred to as a grinder, it’s actually a compliment. It means you’re a fighter, you don’t give up, and you’re capable of bouncing back from adversity.
You can try and look this word up in the dictionary, and if you do, you’ll find a few different definitions, but not a definition for the way golfers use this word. It doesn’t exist… but it should, because the act of grinding is important, and it is certainly not limited to golfers.
In business, we often experience the same phenomena. There are times when performing at a high level is effortless. Prospects appear readily, conversations go smoothly, words appear naturally, and deals are closed easily. Of course, our actions – such as our commitment and drive – play a part, but quite simply, sometimes it is easier to achieve success than other times. I guess you could say, we’re in our own kind of “zone” then too.
Now the question still remains: How do you react when you are lacking your “A” game? Do you have the grit and determination to succeed in spite of it? These are the times when you have to grind! To do this effectively, consider these actions:
- Fight off negative thoughts. It’s easy to give in to negative thoughts, throw up your hands, and mutter, “I’m just no good.” It’s amazing how often a lack of success has absolutely nothing to do with you! It often has to do with timing, politics, people, and so many more things that are not in your power to correct. No matter what the current situation might look like, grinders believe the next shot will turn around their game.
- Be patient with yourself. No one makes all their shots all the time! In business, and in life, we naturally travel between peaks and valleys. When those valleys do occur, be patient, and focus on your effort. Assuming those activities represent your best efforts, results are sure to follow.
- Check your processes. When a golfer is grinding, it’s no secret they are often struggling with the fundamentals of their swing. You’ll see them talking with their caddie, and working on analyzing their swing behaviors to separate bad fundamentals from bad luck. When we struggle, we need to do same thing. The processes you put in place that support the things you do represent the fundamentals of your swing. You may not have a caddie, but you do have a support team made up of those who know you well. Enlist the help of those you trust for feedback, and look over the processes that have made you successful.
Hard work, circumstances… and a little luck will help you to achieve the goals you want to achieve. But when finding success becomes a challenge, stay positive, be patient, doublecheck the methods you’ve used for success in the past, and above all else, keep grinding. It might not be pretty, but it works!