by: Eric Wagaman
When I was three years old I learned how to golf for the first time. Was I good? Not by a long shot. I am still not the best, but continue to play because I love the grind of improving my technique. Some of my fondest memories have been made out on the golf course.
Over the last seven years I have worked in the customer service and entry level sales industry. Being an amateur golfer and through my experiences as a young business professional, I have noticed that there are several valuable lessons to learn within the game of golf that can translate into business and life as well. Below is an acronym, H-A-C-K, that breaks down the lessons learned from golf and how they are relatable to business.
Golf is a sport that relies heavily on honesty since you do not have a team to hold you accountable. Sure, your score pencil has an eraser, but that does not mean you wear it down changing your scores. Is your ball buried in the rough or behind a tree? Be honest and play your ball wherever it may be resting. I have played with individuals who lie about their score to make themselves look better, when it actually does quite the opposite. If you lie about something as trivial as a score on a hole in golf, how could I trust you as a business partner? Displaying honesty on the golf course translates into being an honest business individual. Golf has taught me to always be honest and transparent in everything I do, no matter how trivial it may seem.
Do you shank one out of bounds wide right every now and again? You are not the only one. What is your typical reaction after that happens? Instead of cursing under your breath, just reload another golf ball and smile. You may have heard the saying, “Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” Golf and business both encompass this saying quite well. Many individuals concentrate too much on winning or hitting the perfect shot that they forget to have fun. In golf and in life, putting too much pressure to be perfect will leave you stressed out and unhappy. Have fun and enjoy yourself while you develop projects for work and while out golfing.
Golf can be one of the most frustrating activities for some people. I can attest to this. You may be hitting the ball to the right off the tee all day, but then you hit the dreaded “straight ball” when you least expect it. No matter how much you play or practice, you are bound to make mistakes that are out of your control. Even the tour professionals make mistakes on the golf course. In business and in life, we need to accept that some things are out of our control. We must adapt to the situations that arise on the golf course and in our line of business.
A knee knocker is a short putt that is perceived as easy but is actually tough. A knee knocker, also called a tester, is not a “gimme.” These are the types of putts you need to save your scorecard. Similar to sales, if you have a prospect that seems to be an easy sell for your product or service, but then backs out at the last minute, you could miss your quota. So even for the seemingly easy putts/prospects, take your time and treat it like your biggest putt/sale.
How you act on a golf course can display who you are as an individual and a business person. So the next time you go golfing with a prospect or client, watch the way they play, but also keep yourself in check. Keep in mind the acronym H-A-C-K the next time you are making a business deal or are out on the course with prospects or customers. Always remember to be honest, have a positive attitude, accept what is out of your control and to never treat an opportunity as a “gimme.”
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About the Author:
Eric Wagaman focuses on Brand Marketing and Development at the Whitaker LaChance Agency in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He is a Senior at Western Michigan University in their top rated Sales and Business Marketing program. Eric is a driven individual who is passionate about meeting the needs of others by going beyond their expectations. During his free time, Eric enjoys golfing, hiking, attending sporting events and indulging in new restaurants.