Disclaimer: This is not a post exactly like the ones you’re used to at businessgametime.com. It’s of purely motivational nature. I will post it on a Monday morning, hoping it will make your start into the week a little smoother. Please let me know in case it did.
Always wanted to be in the Guinness Book of Records? Here’s your chance: On May 22, 2011, you have the opportunity to become the first ever World Champion in a newly created sport: Golf Club Throwing.
I fell over the website of this obviously not-so-serious event a couple of days ago, and even though the information given on the page is still rather limited, the first few sentences instantly caught my attention
“We Are Golf! The 90% of all players who love the game but hate how it makes us feel, most of the time. (…)It frustratrates us beyond belief. It teases us 4 or 5 times each round with greatness but then it rears it’s ugly head and oh does it humble us, yes almost to the point of madness.”
Hey, there’s another game like this. And we all play it in the office every single day. In very few cases the analogy between business and sports has been as obvious to me as in this one: We love it, we hate it, it drives us mad, it gives us joy and it frustrates us. And given that there aren’t too many golf clubs around in most offices: How often do you feel like throwing the computer monitor or the phone? (By the way: The Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships exists since the year 2000 in Savonlinna, Finland.)
I instantly felt like there something about it and started to google why people play golf (personal disclosure: I don’t).The best rated answer to this question on answers.com was: Because it is fun, a challenge and a good way of socializing. Sounds like your job? Good. Seems like we are on the right track.
At livestrong.com, sports writer Steve Silverman adds a couple of other motives, including “Improvement”: tracking your own progress and making regular improvement. This reminds of an earlier blog post I wrote about different kinds of competing which you might enjoy reading in case you haven’t yet (click here).
Then I finally found a more quantitative approach from Jeff Blunden in Australia. In his newsletter, he asked some 700 golfers “our” question and counted the highly ranked answers.
While the number three reason to play golf, “being outdoors and doing some physical exercise” (18%), doesn’t fully apply for a lot of jobs, the top two reason do: The social experience is top ranked at 20%, while the challenge to perform well comes in second (19%). The only other reason ranked in double digits was the euphoria of hitting good shots (14%).
Now just look at this: More than 60 million people around the world pay a fortune and spend a tremendous amount of their limited time to be with people they like (well, at least more or less), be challenged and have some success from time to time.
You get the same in your job, and you don’t have to spend any money on it, it’s not even for free – you actually get paid for doing it. Wow!
If this sound cynical to you, let me recommend you an article I found at golfmagic.com, written by Sam Jarman. In this article, the author explains how he got to play golf. How he was fascinated by it and finally stopped the others sports he competed at to focus on golf. Just like we all at a certain point learned to love business and dedicated our career to it.
Then things started to turn around for Jarman: “The funny thing was, the better I got at the game, the less I found I was enjoying it. My good shots gave me little satisfaction, I was just doing what I expected of myself. My bad shots became disasters in my own mind; I was letting myself down. I started to get horribly tight and nervous before I played, the victim of my own rising expectations.”
If you really thought I was cynical above, this probably sounds familiar to you. Jarman feels like he lost touch with the reasons why he was playing and only tried to live up to his own expectations: “The outcome had become more important than the process by which it came about. Once that happened I was dying as a golfer.” Things turned back to good for him when he asked himself the question “why do you play golf?”.
What I’ve seen in offices around the world is that many only try to live up to their own expectations in their jobs, too. For many the outcome has also become more important than the process. When this happens, they are dying as a manager. They are not enjoying what they do anymore, they won’t be creative anymore and they stopped exploring.
Maybe Jarman’s lesson is one we all should take today. Ask ourselves why we are doing what we are doing and rediscover the beauty of our jobs in case we lost it. Have a great week!