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Identity | Flow Golf Podcast TV | Rick Sessinghaus & Hallam Morgan | Improve your golf mental game

Flow Golf Podcast TV Episode #5 / Golf mental game

Rick, another episode for the Flow Golf podcast. I’m so excited to share more value, share more insights for all the listeners today. What I wanted to focus on was identity. We know identity drives behavior and is a part of overall golf mental game approach.

We know that ultimately the behaviors of all of our listeners is what’s going to determine their success, their fulfillment and everything like that. So from your experience, what role does identity have in a player’s progression that results in everything that they do on and off the golf course?

Yeah, it’s a great question because it’s something that I know you and I coach a lot. And yet people don’t can’t get their head around what we talk about identity for. Don’t I just have to hit the golf ball right over there and you hit it, you know, and I get that part is that you talked about behavior and I think people think behavior is just swinging the golf club. And you and I both know that that behavior of swinging a golf club is going to be affected by their identity. And so the identity on which we’re going to talk about in more detail in a moment, I think is the major driver.

You know, our beliefs and our values and how we view each shot and view the world will affect our behaviors. So one of the last questions I ask my tournament players is how do you want to show up to the first tee?

And they kind of look at me. What do you mean? And I say, Well, no, you know, how do you want to be on the golf course? What’s the identity you want to be known for that can get into everything from, Hey, I want to be competitive out there.

I want to be confident out there. I want to believe in myself. I want to be focused. I want, you know, those are parts of your identity. And yet just saying it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. But I think we want to have an intention behind how I want to show up.

So part of that is in one of my favorite phrases is. I’m the type of golfer that fills in the blank. I’m the type of golfer that loves the first tee. I’m the type of golfer that loves to remain focused and engaged.

I’m the type of golfer that loves to enjoy the scenery, right? That statement is very powerful for how you fill in the blank. Unfortunately, I have had some people who say, I’m the type of golfer that gets really nervous.

I’m the type of golfer that doesn’t like the wind. I’m the type of golfer that, oh my gosh, I don’t want to screw up, right? And they start on that subconscious stuff that starts bubbling up. That’s part of your identity also.

So for the listeners, I want you to start to think about how you actually want to show up to the golf course. And that is your identity. And I know you’ve got some great ideas of how we construct an identity and how we can kind of look at it to improve it.

Definitely definite. It’s really interesting, actually, and you’d speak a lot there about self-talk and how you can utilize that in order to actually create the identity, you know, is going to essentially create your optimal state of performance. But what I find actually really interesting, I’ve spoken with a few of my clients about this and I’d love to hear your thoughts is actually a bit of the positive reinforcement from those around you as well. 

So we all, I believe anyway, we are social beings, we are impacted by what the people around us say and do, how they act, how they show up.

And I believe that’s just innate within us. Now a lot of people try and almost ignore some of those powers and that leverage we can take from the people around us. But I believe if we surround ourselves with the right people and they reinforce the right things, we step into an identity as well.

And I speak to so many of my clients all year round, people that are reinforcing the good things about you where they say, You know what, Rick, you’re a great putter and you go, You know what? I am a great putter.

You kind of knew that anyway. But when you’re told it by someone else externally, you step into it further or all you are surrounded by people who say, You know what, Rick, you always you always flake on the pressure or you always struggle under pressure.

And then, you know, innately or deep down, you know. Actually, I do. I do kind of like a little bit under pressure and you reinforce that identity. So I think here is this conversation of identity, but also understand how the people around you are impacting your identity as well as your self-talk.

No, that’s a big, big part of that. I think I joke with some of my students and say, Hey, if you had a caddie there and the caddie spoke to you the way you speak to yourself, you would probably fire that caddie, right?

So that’s part of it. The other thing that I like to kind of piggyback on is that a lot of our identity is created a lot from our environment. And like you mentioned, you want to be around positive people, stuff like that.

But it’s also like I. My intention is that with this podcast, you and I are creating positive skills, positive reinforcement, positive ways of improving someone’s life. And someone’s goal is that if we keep listening to these positive podcasts and read those books, stuff like that, you do start to shift your identity of somebody who who wants to improve, who wants to be surrounded by good things instead of, you know, here in the United States, you do have a lot of people watching news and then there their biases become negative and everything is wrong with the world.

And oh my god, that’s like. So be careful of what your inputs are. OK, so then your output, your behavior would be more aligned with that. So I agree that the environment of who’s surrounding you is very, very important.

Part of that is that self-talk of how I’m looking at the world, but really surrounding yourself with if you’re going to be the type of player who wants to, you know, be happy on the golf course or something like that, you’re going to have to do other things to set that as the actual habit and behavior more than just on the golf course is what I look at it. Not that, no, I completely agree with what you’re standing there with. I want to be the kind of player who is a great putter or I’m the kind of player who is confident in every single shot.

That’s great. And you kind of set that stall out, but then you need to reverse engineer and say, Well, what habits do I need to implement both on and off the golf course? It’s going to actually create that identity more, I guess more substantially or more solidly with a strong foundation.

And I think that’s really, really great. Exactly. And like, here’s a great example, right? If if you want to be an identity of somebody who believes they’re a great putter, I then say, OK, what do you think great putters right now believe?

What do you think they do? What do you think their habits are? And sometimes some of the answers I get back well, Rick, they probably practice consistently. I will do great. They probably visualize a ball going in the hole more.

They probably can’t wait to hit this putt right and we start to pull it out. We know most likely what great people or great skill sets are probably what they are thinking, right? Even though the ball’s going in the hole because the putting stroke looks great.

You and I both know that you can work on your mechanics all day long, and that’s part of being a great putter. Don’t get me wrong, but an identity of someone who believes they’re a great putter. There is the self-talk, there is the visualization, there is the past recall of making those putts that I really want to cement there.

Of that it is an actual skill to develop an identity. Definitely. I completely agree. And I think I remember James Clare, author of Atomic Habits, saying that every single action you take is a cost is a vote casted for the kind of person you want to become.

And I think that’s so important to remember when you wake up in the morning and when you go to practice and when you get on the golf course, think about every action that you’re taking. And are you casting a vote for the right kind of person for the person you really want to become?

And that’s the really key question to ask, Rick. I want to ask as we move into a kind of more performance identity rather than necessarily overall win on the golf course performance better. Been to the world of alter egos and ask your opinion on the matter, because a lot of people, a lot of elite performers across the board in business sports everywhere, they’re using alter egos to squeeze more performance out to really get to that optimal level. And I just want to hear your experience if you have any alter egos and whether you feel they’re valuable for the listeners.

Sure, and I do find it slightly different, I know that terms are being used a lot more because of Todd Herman’s really, really good book called Alter Egos. My background is in something called neuro linguistic programming, and we use tools called modeling. If you want to have success in your life, it seems to make sense that you would maybe copy or learn from those that have already done it before. Right? So that’s one way that I look at alter egos is if I say, Hey, I want to be a great ball striker and a great iron player, then why don’t I just copy or learn what Collin Morikawa does with his golf swing?

Now, I know that doesn’t work exactly because Colin’s body is different and all this kind of stuff, but we may find fundamentals. We may even find his mindset of what makes him a great iron player. You can get that mindset.

You can get creative like him. You can visualize shots so we can model or copy. What are those successful traits, steps, things that successful people have already done? Now that’s one way, the other way more of what alter ego to me and how I interpret it is and I use.

This also is, let’s say it’s I’m fearful I get over on a shot and I’m fearful of the ball all. I don’t want it to go on in the water. And I did a video for our flow of golf membership. I’m going to imagine that it’s not me, Rick, hitting the ball.

I’m going to say, Hey Colin, you go hit the shot. It’s on you now. And it disassociated me from the fear, and it’s like a playful way of saying, OK, Colin’s going to hit it now. Well, Colin knows how to hit it really well, so I’ll just be Colin for this, right?

And it’s a little bit of a disassociation. Usually, alter ego works really, really well when we’re in a fearful, slash uncomfortable position and we want to step into that role. OK? And so part would be like with Colin, with iron play, or hey, if somebody wanted to to feel ultra confident, hey, you could walk like Tiger Woods, you could become Tiger Woods over that and get in. 

So that’s how I view alter ego a little bit more and how it can be used on the golf course to disassociate from what feels comfortable. Just have that alter ego now step in and perform or in this case, have that behavior?

No, I love that. And actually, I think what’s so important there as well, always having clarity on what that person would do and how they would do it in that moment. Because I think if there’s any doubt in there or any kind of uncertainty, then you’re not going to perform in the way you intended.

So I kind of relate this or correlate it to actors or actresses when they’re actually when they are preparing for a movie and they need to get into character. You hear stories of some of these actors or actresses spending months and months and months in character because they have to.

They have to almost live as though they are. This individual have to fully on board that entire alter ego, that entire personality and act as though they were then. So I think not necessarily taking it to that level, but look at that and how they do it and think, Well, can I go to some extent?

Can I do the similar thing with the way that I want to perform the kind of traits I want to develop, the things I want to do or how I want to react in certain scenarios and situations? So I understand, so if you say right, I want to, I want to react to a shot the same way Collin Morikawa does. O

K, well, researchers call it watching videos of him. How does he react? How does he respond? I want to perform like Colin under pressure. OK, well, what is his body posture like housing, walking down the fairway, studying and really understanding it?

And then you’ve got more clarity in your mind when you say, right? B, Colin, you’re able to step into it much more clearly, much more intensely and much more powerfully. So I think really, really key that, yeah, and it was coming to mind, you know, I have three children, they’re all older now.

But remembering how they played when they were really young kids, right? And they are playing as superheroes or they’re, you know, and you could tell them that they’re not, by the way, they are literally Spiderman or Superman.

They are just that right? And that reminds me of when we have that childlike part of us that says, I am going to pretend I’m going to be somebody else. All fear goes away. And it’s very enjoyable and it’s playful and it’s creative.

And I do this all the time on the golf course. You know, I talk about when I was a kid and I would just copy Freddy couples swing if I wanted to hit a cut and if I wanted to hit it straight, I’d be Nick Faldo and and and I would just become them.

Now, my swing looks nothing like either one of them. But at that moment, I was tapping into that and it was fun. It was creative and was played like and again. Most of the time when we talk about modeling or alter egos or identity, it’s we’re trying to build something so we can perform at our best.

No matter the situation. Right? And sometimes we’re in fear. Sometimes we are uncomfortable. I think it’s a great skill to be able to pretend I’m going to pretend like I’m. You bring up a very, very important point is the more we can learn about what the greats have done, a lot of its mindset, not as much as people like my swing needs to be this it’s what is their mindset behind it that we’re really trying to tap in? That’s part of our identity, right? It’s our belief system. It’s our self-talk. It’s how we carry ourselves.

That’s what I believe the alter ego is more about than looking like somebody great. I completely agree that it’s something that you’ve heard all the way through history. I mean the impact of role models on people’s careers.

So often you hear when people do get to the top level of the game, they speak about, Well, this person inspired me and this person helped me get to this level and this person. And it’s so powerful and it’s been around for years.

So really, really key that. Rick, another fantastic episode on Identity really enjoyed that one, tons of information there, tons of value for all the listeners. I can’t wait to chat again and speak about the next concept. You bet all your listeners out there just fill in the blank.

I’m the type of golfer that. And then you make you get to determine what fills in the blank. 

Thank you for listening to today’s episode. I know you’ve received some incredible information, and if you would like to hear more, please subscribe.

Flow Golf Podcast TV Episode #5 / Master golf mental game

 Identity | Flow Golf Podcast TV | Rick Sessinghaus & Hallam Morgan / Golf mental game
Identity | Flow Golf Podcast TV | Rick Sessinghaus & Hallam Morgan
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