Mindful Mentoring

If you’re a parent, a teacher of golf, a sports coach or a mentor, you have likely worked hard to help your student/child/player see more than they currently see in terms of their potential, the possibilities. At the same time, you may have attempted to help them pay less attention to the roadblocks and hurdles in their way. With that in mind, who is doing the same for you? Watch this video to get a true picture of what a “mindful mentor who believes in someone else can do.” [See 11:50-end]  Who is your mentor or coach nudging you to MINDFULNESS about the very same things in your life, your career and/or your business? Who believes in you?

Before I go any further, let’s answer the question:

What is mindfulness?

A working definition is this: “a state of open attention in which you observe YOUR thoughts, feelings, and ideas FROM A DISTANCE without judgment and with the idea of remaining focused on the present moment.” Here are two ways that can help make this concept easier to grab ahold of:

It’s the opposite of “mind-empty”! Mind empty is sitting in front of the TV and thinking of nothing in particular, wandering from what’s on the tube, to what to eat for dinner, to why the price at the pump went up again today. MINDFUL is intentionally engaging your brain. MINDFUL is focusing on the task at hand, or having the clarity to see opportunities and with vision.

It’s moving away from superficial thoughts to being present and aware, while at the same time not being “tied down by unproductive tasks or bad habits” that kill the game-changing results we want to occur.

How does mindfulness apply to mentoring?

Thinking back to the times when you’ve been a parent, coach or teacher who was looking to mentor or “coach up” another person, you likely had the mindfulness to help them because you weren’t in the trenches worrying about emotions, feelings, or “what people think.” You likely were able to see things better from a big picture, or birds-eye view for them. Hopefully they listened because of your sincerity, your genuine concern, and their knowledge that you wanted what’s best for them.

Now, back in your own life (or me, back in mine),   mindfulness is not so easy, is it? When I’m looking at my own life, my own career, etc., it’s much more difficult to have this clear view. Instead of mindfulness, there are “four distractors” that typically fight us and rob us of our productivity, our creative vision and our ability to create a true, “win-win” situation for ourselves, our family and our employer. (Of course, there are more, but let’s focus on the most obvious.)

  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy (SFP): The sneaky limiter for all of us. It is a false definition of the situation evoking a new behaviour which makes the original false conception come “true”. SFP can come from others, from our own mind or elsewhere.
  • Naysaying: Naysayers are not usually other people. They are the voices in me that say I’m fooling myself; I’ll never be successful; I’ll ultimately have to retreat in defeat or “punt” when this effort fails.
  • Skepticism: Similar to naysaying, this is the voice of others (either heard or felt non-verbally,) that says, “You won’t be successful, that program won’t work…that’s a waste of our time…”
  • Self-Doubt: Have you ever heard of the story of David versus Goliath? This is the classic tale of the underdog who battles the giant. You may be the underdog in your current situation, but instead of doubting yourself you need to be able to see yourself as a solution provider.

To relate the concept of mindfulness to what I believe is the “highest and best use of a PGA Golf Professional”, I’d like to pull out another concept from Coach Valvano’s video and see how the questions in that video might apply to you and I in 2014. When it comes to your facility’s efforts on player development (customer creation, customer retention, community management and creating revenue,) please ask yourself these questions:

  • Where did I/we start? (Are we still there?)
  • Where am I/we? (Can we afford to stay here?)
  • Where do I/we want to go? (Where do we NEED to go?)
  • What effort(s) with the equivalent of “cutting down the nets” are there for me/my facility?
  • How do I communicate my vision and who do I include in it?

I believe strongly in my role (and my opportunity,) as a Player Development Mentor for PGA members and apprentices in the PNWPGA Section. Let me know what I can do to help you soon.

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