Moving from fear to flow / Golf performance zone / Flow Golf Podcast TV Episode #33

Golf performance zone

I want to talk about flow personality and golf performance zone. What is it and how do we create it? 

Because, Rick, so many players that I’ve worked with, so many people that I’ve interacted with in the golfing world, they’re in more of a fair personality, 100%. Every single person I’d imagine that’s picked up this golf club and tried to hit that little white ball around the field.

They felt things like doubt and worry. They felt fear. They’ve potentially been embarrassed when they’ve been around their friends. 

They felt all of these kinds of unresolved feelings, emotions and feelings, and they’ve been in this definitely not beneficial state that ultimately hinders their performance. But I guess everyone listening and even the question I have is kind of, well, where should we be?

What would be the optimal state? What would be a flow personality, the flow state, and also how do we even start the process of getting that? So I want to discuss that on today’s podcast and see kind of thoughts on this huge topic. We could go on forever, right?

Oh, yeah. No, I think we’re going to do multiple episodes on this. You know, I’ve always found golf as this perfect sport to talk about personal development because it is an individual sport. It’s very vulnerable. You know, the spotlight’s on you when you hear people are watching, there’s you know, people make excuses, certainly on the golf course, but they shouldn’t.

You’re going to have your ups and downs and all these types of challenges and stuff like that. So I’ve always loved golf. And I think you’re right that a lot of people come to golf. I don’t care if they’re a beginner or advanced player, by the way, and they’re already so consumed about what other people are thinking about their golf game, how it’s going to come about, what they’re going to shoot.

And hopefully that’s good enough. Other people make them. I mean, and they’re very much of what other people think. Right. And I know that’s kind of a human thing, right? We want people to like us. We want, you know, we want to look good in front of people. I get that. I just think golf is kind of the ultimate spotlight on that.

And we do feel vulnerable. And with that could be triggered these ideas of what could happen in the future, which is a little bit of anxiety, worry and oh, no, I don’t want to do that, which now is a sparking off of being scared of something. And we get a stress response of, oh, no, this is a hole I don’t like.

Right? There’s a lot of stuff going on internally, which then of course, affects our golf game, it affects our grip, pressure affects our tempo, it affects our thinking patterns. And if we’re in this fear mindset, it’s hard to perform, much less enjoy it. Right. You and I are. Yes, we want people to play better golf, but let’s enjoy those four and a half hours a little bit more.

And I think the fear mindset, unfortunately, people start on whole one with it and then it’s a rollercoaster ride all the way through 18 and they don’t know where to go with it. And of course, here we know that there is another option and it’s called flow and it’s called a flow personality. And flow is about being an optimal experience.

It’s been proven in science and the brainwaves and neurochemicals. It’s an actual physiological state that goes with psychology and goes with what we are paying attention to and looking forward to instead of fearing the shot. And what you and I believe is that, yes, we want people to play better golf and have a flow personality on the course.

But flow personality is off the golf course also. And how we can set the tone to make it easier to connect with flow on the golf course, not just this on off switch is like, oh yeah, that flows only I’m going to only use that on the golf course. No, let’s use it all over the place. So fear to flow is what we’re about.

Unfortunately, so many people are staying in that fear state and there is an answer to that, which is the flow personality?

Absolutely no. I think as you mentioned there, there’s kind of two components that we believe players that we know players can work on. Right, which is, one, becoming more of a flow personality and that’s essentially I mean, it’s every aspect of life. It’s from the moment you wake up literally, probably to the moment you sleep. 

And even sometimes whilst you’re sleeping, to some extent you can be training your flow personality, building your flow personality.

And then of course, we talk about flow golf performance zone and that’s the stuff that we can do when we’re on the golf course in order to step into a flow state, in order to kind of ensure that we’ve done everything within our control to optimize the opportunity of getting into our optimal state of performance, which is our flow state.

So that’s what we talk about at flow code is one kind of working on your flow personality, understanding the habits that you can create, understanding the mindsets that you can take in situations to ensure that you’re constantly increasing your baseline of your flow personality. 

But then also what you are doing in the performance arena through various small little changes that you can make different perspectives, different routines that you can implement that help you be more of a flow performance.

So absolutely love that and just just on that, Rick, when we talk about flow personality specifically, a big part of that is habituation, right? 

It’s about ensuring that we have repetition of certain things and exercises, routines to start to create a flow personality. What are some of those things that you suggest people work on in order to create a flow personality when it comes to routines and habits?

Right. I mean, all you golfers out there, if I say, hey, is your approach shot with your iron’s important, all of you, you’re going to say yes. And I say, Do you train it and work on it? They go, Yeah, I go to the range once, twice a week because you are trying to create a new habit, a new motor pattern, and hopefully you have and that’s a whole for a whole other episode.

You have an intention when you go to the range and you are clear on what are the drills that are going to help you create a new pattern. Right? A new golf swing that’s going to create a tighter dispersion and better golf shots. 

Golfers are already wired for that part. They’re going to work on their golf swing. They’re going to work on the technical side and great go for it.

We also believe that you can work on your mental game and your emotions and this flow personality. So day in and day out, if we say, hey, part of flow is being fully in the present moment, which we know flow follows focus. 

Are we doing the things daily that would help us improve our attention skills and golf performance zone? We do a lot within our flow code about breathing patterns and visualizations and mindfulness techniques.

Well, I don’t care if it’s 2 minutes or 20 minutes in the morning. Is there something that you can actually say, hey, for these next 2 minutes, I’m going to take some smooth breaths, paying attention to inhale through my nose, holding, exhale, and you’re just being present with the breath. So a lot of people go, well, that’s hard.

I go, Good, it’s hard. Now we’re going to work. And to get better at it. And yes, your mind’s going to race, and yes, you’re going to bring your attention back to your breath. And that is now a skill of focus that can be worked on every single day, even in micro. Here’s a minute. Here’s a minute and so on and so forth.

So when we look at flow personality, paying attention to the present moment is the number one, as I say, superpower, because it is challenging everybody. There are a lot of distractions out there, a lot of things that are going to pull you away. Yet I think a lot of people say, well, yeah, yeah, on the golf course I’ll be focused.

I said, Yeah, good luck with that. You’re already your default is one who’s distracted, who wants to be on their phone all the time, who, you know, we have to retrain that. So then when you get on the golf course, you can be fully present, you can pay attention to the environment, you can make decisions in a very rational way.

So, again, I could go into a lot of our different things we call focus channels and triggers. But even if just focusing was your number one goal for the next month, what could you do day in and day out that would pay attention to me focusing in this present moment, which is just like focusing on a present shot.

Now I think what’s so important to understand is let’s play out a scenario just for a second. Let’s imagine you have a guy who loves playing golf and they play maybe every weekend or a couple of times a week or something like that.

They’re in a high, stressful job and a kind of high responsibility job. They go to work in the morning, they don’t kind of prepare for the day. They have a very stressful day. Meetings all day kind of elevate elevated stress like all day throughout the day, get on onto the golf course in the evening and they do that pre shot routine right there.

Fantastic. And they do that pre shot routine. They do some really good stuff, but for some reason, they still don’t play well. Well, I’m not surprised because that short pre shot routine isn’t going to unravel all of the stress that you’ve just experienced earlier in the day. 

So something that we can start to do is start to understand that what we do in the day, what we do in the week, what we do in the month, what we do in the year leading up to these rounds of golf, ultimately they’re going to impact the state that we’re in when we show up.

And unfortunately, we can’t just patch it up with a quick pre-show routine. Now, the pre shot routine can be super powerful and then elevate even further if we have a good baseline, but that’s not going to solve a poor baseline high elevated stress levels that we’ve incurred earlier on in the day. 

So if that same person could wake up in the morning, dual wake up into a powerful flow meditation, do some breath work, for example, a slow breath.

Then as they get to work, they essentially do breathwork throughout the day with short breaks. They do a mindset ritual. They remind themselves and they bring themselves back into perspective. All of these things that they’re taking off and they have ticked off the weeks, the months before now when they show up to the golf course that evening regardless.

Yes, they’re still going to be impacted by the stressful day. Right. We have scenarios with that baseline that they show up in is going to be significantly better. 

So the pre shot routine they now execute on is going to have more of an impact and they’ll be able to perform at a higher level. That’s kind of what we’re talking about when we say flow personality and how you can build that through habituation and stuff like that.

Exactly. Flow peak performance requires a lot of energy. Everybody. And you can’t just flip it on and flip it off. My children make fun of me a lot because I get to bed at 930 at night and I wake up at five, 530 the next morning, almost on command. And I’ve learned that that helps build enough rest and recovery.

So then the next day, I have plenty of energy. I’m a pretty energetic guy. I believe a lot of that has been because I have a flow personality that’s built on recovery, that’s built on mindfulness, that’s built on gratitude, that’s built on exercise and nutrition. And there’s all these things that I throughout the years have layered in.

So then if I have a stressful few hours, I am more resilient to bounce back. Okay. So Flow does have a recovery stage to this and then there’s a struggle phase and then there’s a build up and then boom, we’re in flow. But back to the baseline idea, I want people to understand that, yes, as much as we of course want you to be in a flow state, there is a gray area here.

Okay. This is not just about flow or stress or flow or fear that influences our golf performance zone. There’s a gray area. And I think having a better default mode, as we call it, baseline, means we’re not going to drop as far right. We’re not going to drop all the way to fear. Maybe you dropped to a little bit of a disappointment or a little irritation.

Oh, okay. That’s a little bit easier. And now bump up into peak performance. So back to kind of like when we play golf and yes, we want a pre shot routine. We have a flow coach talk about a pre round routine. We talk about what you can do when you wake up. And of course, with a lot of my players, what do we do the night before when we get to bed?

And guess what? Then it starts to go to the next day and the next day. The next day. And so that’s what we’re about, is building these foundations. So that is just who you are as you’re showing up. So they’re not there, not this special. Okay, here’s my 20 steps to flow. It’s like I’m already living that. So that’s easier to just transition to these different roles.

We just happened to be talking about golf.

Love it, love it. And I think a key thing to understand here is we’re talking about habits and execution of tasks essentially on a consistent basis. Is it? Yes. It’s important what you do. We spoke about breathing. We spoke about mindset, rituals, we spoke about visualizations. But it’s also important to understand how you’re doing it. Yes.

What you do. But how are you actually doing it? What mindset are you showing up in? And we talk about flow. We talk about the flow mindset. And I believe those play a huge role in building a flow personality. 

So we talk about having a gratitude mindset, having a creative mindset, being in all. We talk about playful mindset, all of these different mindsets that we can be in and that we can perceive the world with to ensure that we show up in a certain way and not just show up.

Does that make sense?

Oh, exactly. And that’s me taking control of our environment so often and put golf aside right now. I mean, I understand we’re in a very stressful society and we’re allowing and I’m going to use that, allowing other things to affect your emotional state, whether it is getting out of COVID, whether it’s a boss, whether it’s and just fill in all these excuses.

I get it. Believe me, we’ve all been through it. But if we’re allowing the news organizations to now trigger us and get us into a very fearful stress mindset, that’s on you, okay, we believe that we can now be more intentional with our mindset. 

We can choose to perceive this as a challenge. Instead of a threat. We can perceive things differently by being grateful for these opportunities instead of, Oh crap, I got to go through this again.

So that is so, so important. Everybody, your mindset is going to now dictate a lot of what you’re going to be focusing on and thinking about and behaving. So you and I, yes, we can teach you all these what to do, but let’s do it with intention. Let’s do it with an experiment of how I’m going to be childlike.

This is on there, on the range itself. And you’re going to be surprised for some of not only how well you’re going to play, but you’re going to enjoy it now. Okay. I think one of my pet peeves is everybody says, oh, when I go play, I’ll do those things. And I just go back to it.

I don’t think under pressure you’re going to do those things. You’re going to default back to what is normal and comfortable for you. We want you to feel uncomfortable in flow, by the way. We’re just giving you new tools to now embrace that and be at your best, even when you’re a little bit uncomfortable.

Absolutely. Now, remember, remember her was but someone talking about we need to be thermostats rather than thermometers. Thermostats set the temperature in the room and the room adapts to that rise. 

The monitors adapt to the temperature in the room. And that’s essentially what we’re talking about when we say we’re a creator of our own environment is we say, look, I’m going to have this mindset.

My environment is going to adapt around that mindset rather than saying, my environment is this. That creates my mindset. So I think that’s really important and really powerful for people to understand. When we talk about flow personality, right? I want to talk about kindness because this is one of your main philosophies. 

If we look at your coaching journey and various people that you’ve worked with and colleagues journey with yourself from eight year olds to two time champions, that entire process is a long one, right?

It’s not a short term fix. It’s a long term development. And that’s what I think we’re talking about when we talk about flow personality. We’re talking about long term development. We’re not just talking about short term fixes. 

So can you share a bit about that? Because I think when people start even this journey and they say, right, okay, yet Rick and I have been talking about I need to get up in the morning and do some breathwork and I need to do this like they do it maybe for a few days, but they don’t necessarily understand that flow personality is built over a long, long, long, long, long time.

So we need to be able to commit to that and stay disciplined to those consistent habits over a long period of time.

Yeah, I mean, I can answer that a couple of different ways. I mean, I think a relationship between the coach and student, of course, is vital because the student needs to trust the coach. And, the coach is thinking that their students can actually do what they say they’re going to do. And you build on that foundation and you get a consistent message.

Okay, I’m not saying I’m the best coach for everybody, by the way. I’m just saying once you find something that you do see these incremental improvements, the consistency of now the message and of what’s expected to start now again, build that foundation in junior golf, especially. 

I’ve seen a lot of parents who now make the decision that their son or daughter needs to jump to a different coach.

Right. And then before you know it and I’m not making this up in a year’s time, they’ve seen four different swing coaches. Maybe you’ve seen a mental coach. And now that 15 year old is very confused. They’re all very good coaches by the way, but all different philosophies. It’s like, wait a second, I thought that’s how I was supposed to take the club away.

You’re saying this now? We have confusion. Confusion is, I think, one of the least resourceful emotions in life, much less golf. I’m confused. I don’t know what to do. I’m frozen. Right. So that’s one element is that the consistency of a relationship is the same thing with a consistency of relationship with yourself and how you do that. 

Along those lines though, and I know we’re going to talk about this on another podcast is about discipline and such is, you know, linking why am I doing this activity to something is a very, very important motivation is a huge factor.

Now with flow, we know that long term development of intrinsic reasons is actually enjoying the process and love it and having passion and curiosity and stuff like that that is going to serve you for the long term. But if it’s only, I need two quick fixes because I’m playing in a club championship this week. You may be motivated for a couple of days to hit balls.

Great, but that’s not sustainable because once that motivator is removed, you’re no longer going to do the work game. We’re after long term development. Your personality is who you are, so we’re building on that all the time. This is not just I’ll be different next week and then I’ll get back to my other self. No, no, no, no.

So that’s the thing is, let’s link this flow personality to something that you’re passionate about, that you’re curious about, that is going to fulfill you. And you’ll, you’ll start to do it more and more and more and more than just, Oh, I’m doing it so I can play well this Saturday.

Love it. Love it. And I guess flow personality, creating a flow personality, you can almost become a goal for someone, right? It becomes an intrinsic goal for someone to achieve. 

I want to create a flowing personality in the future. So you start executing on those habits, on those routines that start to get you closer towards it. So I absolutely love that. Rick. I think we’ve gone forever about flow personality, but we’ve covered some really important parts of the kind of roadmap to go from that fear all the way over to that flow.

And there’s so much more in there as well. And it’s essentially what we talk about at flow code, that is flow code is moving from this state of fear, these unreachable emotions and states that we know so many players find themselves in. And ultimately they’re moving up to a flow personality and flow performance. So thank you all for listening.

Super excited for the next one and we’ll catch you soon.

Golf performance zone / FlowCode Golf Academy
Golf performance zone / FlowCode Golf Academy / Improve golf performance
Golf performance zone / FlowCode Golf Academy / Improve golf performance


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