The game of golf is one that can uncover talents, passions, and experiences one might have never anticipated. As a golf coach I am fortunate to work with and learn from the tiniest golfers. At the beginning of each class we start with a movement warm-up of sorts. In a span of just a few minutes we find ourselves pretending to be a frog, bear, or even a snake! Though the goal I have set forth is to encourage motor learning and control through play, I am simultaneously being taught how to be silly and let go. As I get more and more comfortable with playing like a kid (strange to think that has become challenging because I was a kid) the more relaxed and free I feel, and ultimately, I learn how to be a better leader, friend, teacher, and person. The most interesting part is that the more I let go of my ridged agenda, the more organic and fuller the learning environment becomes at a far greater magnitude then what I planned for the lesson that day.
These experiences during class guided me to reflect on the power of play, imagination, and creativity has on developing skills. So why does play and creativity produce a more effective and powerful opportunity for growth/learning? Intuitively the answer is presence. When we are completely present without judgement of ourselves and one with what we are trying to accomplish, miracles happen. The ball goes in the hole, we hit our target, win the match, hit the best shot ever, the list can go on.
When we are babies our natural instincts and lack of fear enable us to learn to walk, talk, crawl, fall, and eventually get back up. We learned by trial, imagination, and ultimately by doing it in our unique way without the need to be “right” or “wrong”. There is a sense of confidence and self-assurance that is nurtured. But somewhere along the way, that unique way of learning, doing, and playing is dulled. We forget how to let go and play, be creative, and use imagination.
So as adults, how can we let go of our rigidness, and practice trusting our inner guidance either on the golf course or in other moments of life. Every moment offers an opportunity to something new about our ability, or even yet, remember our ability to let go of the smallness mindset that is blocking greatness. This is the beginning of a new year, not necessarily a new you, that allows you to honor who you are and the amazing capabilities that you are born with. Tap into that an see where that takes you this year.
Cheers to a happy, playful, and joyous 2017!