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golfing

There are a lot of reasons to start playing golf — whether you enjoy meeting new people or blowing off some steam, there is definitely something for everyone in this sport. However, there are some important business lessons to learn from the game that are often overlooked, including tenacity, constant learning, honesty, and achievement orientation. All these can be tapped to generate sound business acumen.

Our CEO, Andrew Marr is a PGA professional and a lifelong advocate for the sport of golf. His passion is firmly rooted in a love for the game, but his commitment to playing is fueled by golf’s positive influence on his business and leadership skills.

In business — like in golf — the tools you carry matter a lot, but they are often imperfect. We are often given misinformation or a lack of support and then asked to do things that seem impossible. However, as an entrepreneur, we understand the importance of getting things done, even if that requires some creativity.

To summarize the mental challenges of golf, Arnold Palmer famously said, “Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening – and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented.”

Being mentally strong is equally important in golf and business, as is having a certain level of discipline when practicing and competing. Golf is a unique sport since you are your own umpire and referee. Vaibhav Dayal, Co-founder and Managing Director, V Resorts, says, “In golf, a player keeps his own score, and there is no second eye to monitor moves. It is played with an immense level of integrity and personal honesty.”

Lessons from the first tee-off to the 18th hole

Most golfers’ favorite aspect of the sport is the instant feedback received after each stroke — something successful players use carefully as they progress. The high-level of challenge and opportunity for course correction ensure the constant possibility for improvement. “Golf shows you that there is no perfect strategy, and all you can do is giving it your best shot. Then, you assess the result, figure out what you need to do to improve the execution, and then take another shot at greater success,” says Saurabh Saklani, Co-founder and Director, inme.

By far, the biggest lesson that can be taken out of golf is that of tenacity. “Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots, but you have to play where the ball lies,” said Bobby Jones in regards to the determination required to be successful in the sport.

While every sport teaches an important lesson in some way, Golf, by its very nature, provides a sustained learning experience with regular ups and downs. Playing two good holes of golf (read: two good quarters of business performance) is often followed by two terrible holes, where people start questioning their skills and abilities. In other words, someone who excels at golf would probably possess an innate desire to learn and re-learn.

In business, this lesson is taught through repeated failure, which can deter many great minds from entering the world of entrepreneurship. Despite our best efforts, the result of business-related decisions is not dependent on the decisions of one person — a humbling realization for many leaders and an important opportunity to practice open-mindedness and flexibility. Golf teaches one to shed baggage, re-think, re-invigorate, re-strategize, and execute with a hope of success.

Build a network of like-minded individuals.

Every great entrepreneur understands that business cannot solely exist within the confines of a boardroom or office and many opportunities are found in some unexpected places — like the golf course. 

The following story is from a man named Stan Hanks who has been helping build the internet since 1981:

(A week after learning to golf) I’m sweating my way through 18 holes on the Pecan course at the Sweetwater Country Club with a VP from a Fortune 50 company, one of his technical leads, and my VP of Sales. It was an interesting experience — a huge learning experience for me. Pat, my VP of Sales, did this all the time. He managed the conversation in many ways, going from what do you think about brand X balls to how ’bout them Astros to why building a SAN in-house was a better solution given the parallel I/O requirements of the supercomputer cluster that the company was using.

It kept things casual but made room for getting in key points. It also gave us all a chance to meet in a no-ties, no-press-of-business environment. We literally got nearly four hours, un-interrupted, together. And then on to happy hour afterward for another couple of hours.

Nothing “happened” that day. No contracts were signed, no deals were made. But it was significant in a very large number of ways. The VP got to see me in action, got to hear me think on my feet (which frankly is my strongest suit), got to see me deal with frustration and things not exactly going my way. I got to spend time with him and see what he valued and prioritized, whether he was a “go for it” guy, or a “let’s keep this in the fairway” guy — which is really important to know, when you’re pitching a deal.

As you can see, the golf course can be an essential part of your business, especially when landing new clients or acquiring funding for a new project.

Beyond landing new clients, the golf course can be an essential part of your hiring process. If you want to be successful in today’s competitive market, you have to make investments in people. If it fits your company’s culture, try using the game of golf to demonstrate your skill and competency that will ultimately lead to associations. Finding the balance between treating golf as business and leisure is where one can find success.

Turn your passion into profit.

No matter their skill level, playing golf with clients and colleagues gives you additional insights into their personalities. Similarly, playing the game will give you insights into your psyche, too. To become good at it requires time and patience. Golf can also become that common interest that creates the bonds that last a lifetime. If you haven’t already, pick up the sticks. It just may improve your business and your life.

podcast

At Digital Storyteller, we’ve always got a new podcast in our ear, but lately, we’ve been listening to a few specific shows more than the rest. Whether you’re looking for some entrepreneurial inspiration or a heavenly combination of seedy language and insider sports knowledge, you’ll find something you like in this list of our favorite podcasts: 

How I Built This by Guy Raz

I’d listen to Guy Raz talk about anything — he’s perfectly calm in his demeanor, yet he’s got a voice that keeps you engaged for an entire hour-long episode (sometimes several.) However, it’s Guy’s guests that keep me coming back for more. Many are the founders of brands we interact with every day — Wikipedia, Bumble, Beyond Meat, to name a few — and all have stories that will leave a lasting impression. Be prepared to take your entrepreneurial spirit to a new level with this one. 

The Barstool Rundown with Dave Portnoy

As a former pro golfer, it only makes sense that CEO Andrew loves listening to Dave Portnoy talk about sports. Dave’s straight-forward (to say the least), somewhat crass, and completely informed on everything sports. Listen to this one when you’ve got headphones on — or your kids do — and get ready to laugh your way to the Fantasy Football championship. 

I Love Marketing with Joe Polish

Joe Polish and Dean Jackson have been having killer conversations about marketing for over 15 years, and now we get to share them. They use their podcast to talk about new marketing ideas, direct mail ideas, lead generation, lead conversion, getting referrals, stick strategies, email marketing, psychology, books, people, and overall productivity. As they say: “Every week is a new adventure…and it will always be fun.”

Planet Money

Planet Money comes from NPR (who also happens to be the creator How I Built This) which means you can guarantee three things: top-notch production quality, universally engaging guests, and informative content that you’ll actually listen to. Their podcast Planet Money is the economy explained. The format is this: Imagine you could call up a friend and say, ‘Meet me at the bar and tell me what’s going on with the economy.’ Now imagine that’s actually a fun evening.

ESPN 30 for 30

30 for 30 is a unique podcast amongst the rest, as it is formatted differently depending on the season. In some seasons, each episode is dedicated to a different topic, while several seasons have deep-dived into specific moments in sports history in the fashion of a weekly series. While any sports fanatic will be dying to listen to them all, our favorites episodes include the entire “Sterling Affairs” series (season 5) and “Yankees Suck” (season 1, episode 2.)

Freakonomics

Each week, Freakonomics Radio tells you things you always thought you knew (but didn’t) and things you never thought you wanted to know (but do) — from the economics of sleep to how to become great at just about anything. Dubner speaks with Nobel laureates and provocateurs, intellectuals and entrepreneurs, and various other underachievers. Special features include series like “The Secret Life of a C.E.O.” as well as a live game show, “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know.” We like it because it makes us feel smarter every time we listen (or at least more interesting, anyway.)

As a team that works entirely from home, the Digital Storytellers have definitely had some time to adjust to this unique way of working and living, which has left us feeling more prepared than we’d like to admit for a crisis nobody saw coming. Here are our tips for surviving quarantine without giving up on your routine:

Build a master list of chores:

Go around your house with a notepad or your phone and make note of the tasks you’ve pushed aside before the excuse of being “too busy” was ripped out from underneath us all. My master chore list looked something like this:

  • Reorganize hallway cabinets
  • Clean out closet and donate clothes
  • Clean the oven and microwave
  • Organize lonely socks
  • Clean out dress drawers

After making your list, add a section to your daily power list that includes an hour or two of chores every day. It doesn’t have to be overly organized or scheduled — just set aside the time, consult your list, and start chipping away. 

Work on creating a new habit

More time at home means more opportunities to focus our energy inward and develop ourselves in meaningful, internal ways. We also have more control over our environment when we are at home — as opposed to being at work or school — which means we can set ourselves up for success. 

If you are trying to create new healthy habits in your diet, empty your fridge and pantry of anything that might derail you. If you are trying to spend more time outdoors, replace your daily commute with a solo walk around your neighborhood. 

Make your home a sanctuary of self-love and self-development and none of this time will feel wasted, no matter the outcome. And remember — it takes 60 days to build a habit, so you’ll be able to challenge yourself to keep it up once you’ve returned to work too!

Find a yoga class or guided meditation

While the new habit you choose to start working on is entirely up to you, we would recommend that everyone incorporate either a daily yoga session or a daily meditation practice (or both!) into their daily routines. 

However, despite having access to thousands of online resources, it can still be challenging to find an instructor or guide that makes you feel grounded or eager to show up each day. This is especially important if you are just beginning to practice yoga or meditation; like with every new habit, you must set yourself up for success at the beginning! 

Here are a few of our favorite resources for online yoga and meditation practices:

Incorporate daily movement

Being trapped inside doesn’t have to mean being chained to your chair. Whether you are feeling lethargic or antsy, movement is probably the solution your body is begging you to provide. 

If working out is something new for you, start with 20 minutes of walking or stretching every day and then slowly add more time and more challenging activities each week. If you are a newly trapped gym rat, it’s time to hit Amazon. You won’t need much but here’s what we’d recommend for maintaining your fitness at home:

There are dozens of workouts that can be done with these pieces of equipment and you should be able to buy it all for less than $100 (or for free if you can come up with some creative substitutes!) The lightweight dumbbells are ideal for online barre workouts, which you can find on Youtube.

Whether you are new to working from home or have been using your spare bedroom as an office since you moved in, Quarantine can be challenging for everyone. Our final (and most important) recommendation? Stay calm and take care of yourself and the people you care about. We’re going to get through this together — and you might even have a positive new habit by the time it’s over!

Coronavirus has forced people all over the world to suddenly adjust to a new normal. And working from home is not always easy — when you are in your home environment, it can be difficult to get yourself ready and motivated to actually do your work. These are our favorite ways to stay motivated when you just want to stay in bed.