Brad, general manager for a large paper mill in Mackenzie, British Columbia, told Session 7B of the Leadership Development Lab (LDL):
"I enjoy playing golf. It provides me with fresh air, relaxation, and an opportunity to clear my mind. Golf is truly my source of enjoyment outside of work. I find that getting away to clear my mind of front burner, urgent issues opens the door to fresh, innovative ideas. Often these solutions to priority issues seem so apparent when they come, but only seem to come when I am engaged in the enjoyment of walking down the fairway to the next green.
Here is my problem; historically, I would get frustrated when I started to play poorly. When this frustration happened, the rational part of my brain would kick in and say, 'The reason you are playing so poorly and getting frustrated is because you put nothing into your golf game. You don't spend time on the practice range, so how can you expect anything different? How can you expect your performance to improve if you don't take time to practice?' This golf season (spring of 2007), I finally said to myself, 'Put up or shut up. Put in the practice time to get better or put up with the bad balls you hit and the below par score you get, but stop getting frustrated.' I applied 5 times more enthusiasm to my practice sessions, doubled up on the time I spent at the driving
range and putting green. I am happy to report that my score has improved. I have taken a couple of strokes off my handicap and there are more to come.
The lesson I learned from this experience is that nothing will get better, no performance will improve just because I am frustrated with current results. Nothing in my world will change in and of itself. I must decide to make change happen. If I just step back for a minute and let the rational part of my brain analyze what is going on, I can develop a plan to deal with any issue of poor performance. Then when I apply 5X more enthusiasm in executing the plan, I will see the improvements I desire.
The action I call you to take is step back from any issue that is a source of frustration for you, step back and analyze what is actually happening, what the true source of your frustration is, and explore to honestly find the root cause. Then take the action required to change the outcome to the desired state you prefer.
The benefit you will gain is a rational plan of how to deal with your issue, and when you go into action with 5X more enthusiasm, you will eliminate the source of your frustration. Your performance will improve. You will improve your handicap and set the pace for benchmark performance."