How 40 Golf Balls Can Make You a Better Entrepreneur

by Kristen Burgess
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I want you to imagine that you want to learn how to play golf better. Pay attention, because learning this golf game is going to make you a better entrepreneur.

OK – I want to learn how to hit better balls, and I buy a bucket of balls and I take one ball to the driving range, and I hit one ball. Then I come back next year, and I do that for 40 years.   After 40 years of hitting one ball at a time, am I better than I was 40 years ago? Probably not.  The time period from one experience to another is too long. Next year I won’t remember if I’ve hit the ball right or wrong. I won’t be able to make any kind of an adjustment at all. So I can hit 40 balls, for 40 years, with no change.

Now, if I take that bucket of balls to a driving range and I hit 1 ball and I go, “Wow, that went 20 yards.” I cannot make any adjustments yet because I don’t know anything.  Remember we’re relating this to getting started on our entrepreneurial business, so we could say I have no experience. The only experience that I have was when I hit that 1 ball.

So I take another ball out and I tee off and I hit that one 25 yards. Now I can compare the 2 experiences. I can say, “What happened differently, did I hit that one a little bit harder?” “Maybe I did, so let’s take another one and see if I can hit it harder.” Next, I gear up and I swing that club so hard that I miss the ball…  I swing it so hard that it flips me around in the air like a cartoon character. Then I land on the ground and I have stars in my eyes and I say, “What happened?!”

Is that a failure? No, it’s not – because I’m adding to my experience bucket.

At this point I can say, “Okay, I hit the ball with an average pressure 20 yards, the next time I beefed it up a little bit and I went 25 yards, and the next time I hit it so hard that I did 720 degree turn and I blacked out for 5 minutes.” I’m gathering data.

When I get the 4th ball, what can I do? I can say, “Okay we’ve got to be somewhere between 25 yards and bonking out, and because of the last massive failure, I’m going to back up a little bit.” This time I don’t hit it so hard and it goes 23 yards. Now I try to beef it up a little bit but I cannot put everything into it.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

After 40 balls, I’ve gotten to the point where I’m hitting them 50 yards. That might not be where I want to be but hey, we went from 20 yards to 50 yards. Tomorrow I can wake up in the morning and take another bucket of 40 balls.

When I wake up tomorrow morning I’m so stiff that I can’t move. So what do I do? I take a day off.   It’s okay to do that.

Two days later when I’m not so stiff anymore I come back and I start over with 40 more balls. I do this every day for a month. I’ve got a lot of experience: 40 balls per day for 30 days, and I’ve got over 1200 experiences. And guess what? It didn’t matter if I failed or didn’t fail on any individual hit.

It didn’t matter – what mattered is when I hit that 1201st ball on day 1 of month 2, I’m going to have so much experience that I’ll be able to make something happen.

How can you apply this lesson to your business?  Think about it.  If you sat back and read golf books every day for 30 days, would it give you the same experience, the same knowledge?  No.  It’s the same in your business.  You can read about successful entrepreneurs and learn from them.  You can learn great business techniques and practices to try.  But you need to get out there and swing the club, too.  You’ve got to get out there and implement.  You’ve got to try.

You know you’re not going to hit a hole-in-one every time.  Nobody can.  It’s OK if you don’t, and it’s OK if you fail, because that tells you where to adjust in your business, what to try next time.  You’re going to find the losers – and you’re going to find the winners.  Build your business on the winners.

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