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Best Golf mental game coaching tips
Flow Golf Podcast Episode #15 – The Seven Flow Mindsets

Another episode of the Flow Golf Podcast with lots of golf mental game coaching tips for you. In today’s episode, I wanted to talk a little bit about the seven mindsets for a Flow personality. It’s something we talk about within the Flow Code framework that is absolutely vital to create that flow personality, which we see is so important for long term continuous flow. 

It’s absolutely vital. So I want it to go through in today’s episode and for the listeners to learn from each mindset.

Touch on them very briefly, but then discuss some of the ways that the listeners can apply them and benefit from them in both their life, but also on the golf course. So if we start with the listeners, if we start with the gratitude mindset from my side, I think it is so important, it’s something that I apply in my life.

It’s something I apply to all of my players. So then to start to live that and how do you apply it to yourself and also your players Rick And how can the listeners do the same? Yeah, this is one of my favorite topics because when I think about when I’m a swing coach, we looked at the cause and effect of the club and made the ball do what it did, and then I got that.

Yet on the mental side, I believe mindset is crucial and we can define it in different ways. But you know, our mindset of how are we viewing this moment? What’s our perspective of this moment? 

Our beliefs and our values of what we’re living in this moment, I think is crucial. And we get to choose a mindset. So many people out there, they get in a fixed mindset.

They get into their own mindsets. Because that’s just how they are. And you and I are both encouraging people. There’s many, many ways to look at any particular shot or tournament or you know, playing opportunity. So gratitude is my favorite because it really sets the tone of being grateful and thankful for the opportunity to play golf, the opportunity to hit the shot.

And, you know, you and I had a wonderful conversation with Dr. Glen Fox about gratitude and all your listeners please, please check that one out. The podcast that we did and just had some great reviews on. But can I actually go to the first tee and frame it in such a way of what I could be grateful for right now?

Okay. That’s again, a question that would pop up. Well, I could be grateful that I’m out outside with my friends playing golf. I’m not at work in a cubicle. Wow. The sunshine on my face. Right. 

Just asking that question will shift our perspective, which will shift our emotional state. And as you and I both know, your emotional state, it will affect your physical state and how you perform Definitely.

It’s absolutely vital. And just to summarize a couple of the points that we mentioned obviously in the podcast, but one of the keys is to experiment with your own process. We talk about practice in gratitude. It’s something that you need to create a habit with routines, rituals with, and something that you need to be consistent with over the long term.

It’s not about implementing this intense short term program necessarily, but it’s the consistency that is so much more powerful. And I think that’s a really important note to make. But please, as Rick said, and I’ll just reinforce that. Go and check out the interview with Dr. Glen Fox. 

It was fantastic. And so many actionable tasks that people can take away and apply to their own grass to practice both in life and on the golf course.

So really key to the next one then, Rick, and I know this is one of your favorites. This is one that you apply so much and something that you’re doing in everything you’re coaching on the podcast, in flow code, in everything you do. And that’s the playful mindset, bringing some fun, some joy to everything. So can you talk a little bit about the playful mindset and again, why it’s so important?

I think it’s almost like it’s a lost element of the serious golfers, definitely, because they feel like they need to be professional, focused, all this kind of stuff and they can’t sometimes lose just the fun and the joy of playing on the air a little bit. Yeah. Now, you said the keyword serious. I think when some players start to take the game seriously, right.

That’s what they’ll tell us. And whether it’s a 12 handicap who says, I’m got to take this seriously to become a single digit or somebody who wants to be scratched or somebody else, they tend to use the word seriously a lot. I’m going to be serious about my game and I’m saying that’s probably the opposite of what you should be doing.

Right. And just from a learning mindset, which, you know, we’ll talk about a little bit, is those that learn at a faster rate are in a different overall mindset. And I’m going to call it playful. I’m going to call it somebody who’s childlike, somebody who is playing the game of golf we’re not working. We don’t say, hey, you know, let’s go work our game.

I hope you say, let’s go play the game. Let’s go play golf. And so that’s already built into this. 

And so what I’ve done in the past, and I’ve mentioned this before, when people talk about how I helped cultivate, you know, call more callers early childhood, is that playfulness was a key element of every single golf lesson. 70% of the lessons that I gave Colin were on the golf course, and we were playing the game of golf.

But even deeper, we were experimenting. We were trying different shots. We were being open to let’s see a flop shot. How high could you hit it? And it wasn’t about was the shot good or bad? It was just saying, hey, let’s play this shot. Let’s experiment with this shot. And then after excuse me, at the end of each lesson, even if it’s for one shot or sometimes would be four, five, maybe 10 minutes.

It is. There was a competitive mindset which is let’s play and let’s let’s this is about competition. This is about and embracing the competition and playing. And I would trash talk to him and he would n’t do a lot of trash talking. You just look at me and take me on. And of course, as he got older, he would beat me a lot but he took it on that this is something to be played and we would have fun with it.

And yet we still want to play well everybody, this is still about some results. But if I’m in a mindset I can’t wait to do this. I’m playing instead. This is serious, I can’t make any mistakes. Oh, my gosh, we’re in trouble, you know? So to me, just the word play, not enough people tap into that.

And so I would say again, let’s experiment with shots. Let’s allow ourselves to get even a little bit childlike and silly competing that’s playing the game instead of what most people would become serious. And they don’t want to make mistakes and unfortunately, they start to fear what they don’t want. Definitely. Question for you, Rick. When was the last time you sat Collin on?

I’d imagined a little while ago that I what? I’m sorry that you took him on and said, let’s see who wins this one. Oh, well, okay. I try to do as much as possible. Right. So well. Oh, you bet. Oh, I mean, the joke is that I’ve been unfortunate that I play golf with him every now and then. And, you know, it’s my U.S. Open for the year, right?

So I’m playing and I’m having fun and, you know, a little trash talking. If we are part of the first poll that I’m saying, look at this, you know, come on, give me something. Right. But joking there, we still want to play. Well, obviously, he still wants to beat the crap out of me and stuff.

But the point of it is I’m in a playful mindset. I want to have fun. I’m looking to get better. I’m looking at experimenting, stuff like that. And even to this day, part of the preparation on a weekly basis with Colin is competing on a special day like Tuesday, Wednesday, he’s done a lot of his prep work.

His caddie, J.J. will throw him in a spot on every single green, and they have an up and down competition. So now it’s like he’s learned about the golf course, but now it’s about play and it’s about competing for it. It’s about trying cool shots and stuff like that. So that is a constant for us on a week to week basis.

Definitely. I love that. I think for a lot of the listeners, one of the best things you can do is to go back to when you were a junior. What was some of the stuff you were doing then? I’m not saying this needs to become the only thing in your practice, the only thing in your preparation, but it’s got to become an important part and it has to be an element.

So if you go back to what you were a junior member playing killer on the Greens, on the Pine Greens, which is like playing inside and trying to hold the part and then you switch and try to hit. We used to have well, we have rugby posts up, some of our right wing ranges. We’re trying to hit the post instead of anything else.

I’m not concerned about where the ball’s going or how it is, I’m just trying to hit that post. Going back to some of those creative games that actually externalize is a lot of stuff. It makes you go back to being a little bit more field rather than technical so, so important to just do that every so often.

Yeah, definitely. Sorry. Go. I’m sorry. Go ahead. Not a school. And that leads quite nicely into the next mindset actually, which is the all mindset. So the all mindset, we almost want to look things through a child’s lens as we get older, as we get into adulthood, which you could argue that we all just be kids to some extent.

We lose that childlike mindset. We tend to miss things that when we’re younger, we are oral. We’re like, wow, we’re just completely mesmerized by some of the examples I give to I give to some places. When you see nature when you’re a young kid, you say that when walking on the floor like you’re mesmerized by this and or by something so simple.

But as we get older, we just walk over that and we don’t even think about it. We’re too focused on all these real problems that we’ve created in our head that we lose that childlike mindset. So I think that old mindset is so okay as well. So again, just change your view of the situation that’s in front of you.

But could you share a little bit about your experience with your mindset as well? Right, sure. And I think one goes into what I would call a macro mindset, and the other one’s more micro, the macro. 

And I’ve been very, very fortunate to now travel all over the world and be on these unbelievable golf courses. 

And so the macros to be able to be on a golf course and just look out in the environment and like you said about nature and just taken this on in a way a 360 degree awareness of, wow, look how beautiful this look at the trees, look at the blue sky, look at the green grass.

Okay. And it’s very macro, very, very general and broad, right? That helps almost reset my brain a little bit because I’m not in my head spinning and thinking. So I like that it is like, wow, this is pretty cool to be here, you know, this is a neat place to be. Wow. It’s so cool that golf is played out here.

It’s not in a stadium inside an indoor gym or like that. So I look at it that way. Big picture on the micro standpoint is when I hit a golf golf shot or when Collin hits a great golf shot in front of me, I am in all like that was pretty damn good. And I’m like, wow, because, yeah, I get to be out on tour.

I get to see the best players in the world. And I don’t take it for granted by any means. I look at a goal that was pretty good, right? And so that micro moment of appreciating what I’m seeing in that moment is part of my micro AR moment. And again, I saw when I work with clients, I do want them to look at the go.

That was pretty good. Wow. Okay, well, that’s awesome. Yeah. And that’s a way of, again, stimulating that childlike part of us. And we’re playful where a lot of these are going to be combined together. 

But so answer your question. I go macro and then sometimes I go micro. I’m just like, Wow, that was really cool. It’s kind of how I look at it.

I love that. And I actually had a few players. The Ladies European Tour was recently played out in Kenya, I believe, and we were talking about an experience. There were zebras in the middle of the fairway. 

There were giraffes that were just in the distance and we were actually saying we stood on the tee box and you might be a little bit concerned about this water on the left, and you’ve got that in your mind.

But if you take a step back actually, and you do step into this mindset, you go, Wow, this just a group is a group of zebras just running across the fairway here. And is it well, all of a sudden and we speak about this, your focus is redirected from a concern of maybe water down the left all of a sudden like this is just incredible.

And actually then you step into that bit of gratitude as well. And I think it’s so powerful. But we speak about the performance loop and I’m sure we’ll do an entire episode on that as well, Rick. 

But we speak about where it all starts, what you focus on. So if you’re focused on the zebra, you’ll focus on the giraffe, you’re focused on this nature in general, then it’s going to impact your thoughts, what you’re thinking about that would impact your state and every other element.

So we know that your state is the biggest determinant then of the execution of the shot. So if you can improve your state by actually focusing on nature, focusing on things to be mesmerized by it, it’s one of the most powerful things. 

So just wanted to add that as well. Exciting. And just real quick, you know, part of these mindsets is and we’ve talked about priming before, priming our emotional state.

We can use these to shift states so quickly. Like you mentioned, I could be on the first tee and be grateful for the opportunity, look out in the distance and be in or understand that I get to play the next shot. I mean, we could start to stack a lot of these mindsets and you hit it right on the head.

You’ve now shifted focus and where your focus goes your energy goes and where your state changes. So we can tap into any of these, but people tend to have their own patterns, unfortunately. 

And some of those do not serve them. And all we’re doing is showing them that there are options. Definitely. And just to just to finally make a final point on your mention of golf and being in awe of golf shots, I think we have to remember sometimes we’re hitting a tiny little golf ball with a small club size.

And for some people, you’re hitting it but Colin, you’re hitting it 200 yards to a foot, less than a foot, sometimes on a consistent basis. And it is after pressure sometimes to go, wow, it’s actually incredible. 

With all these variables. There’s no sports like it. And actually just being in awe of the game of golf, sometimes it can be one of the most frustrating games in the world.

But we have to then re-dive and come back to actually be an incredible game. How lucky are we to play it? 

Like being all mesmerized of the game itself, all of the opportunities, all the experiences it brings so I think are so powerful for any level of golf, whether you are a weekend golfer just playing at your local club all the way up to the top tours and you’re traveling the world and seeing these incredible places it can be implemented by everyone, anywhere.

And I think that’s exactly, exactly the next one. Limerick is the transpersonal mindset, the transpersonal mindset basically suggests that we are impacted by our environment. We are all social beings, we’re impacted by the people around us. We’re impacted by the environment itself. And I think we have to take that into consideration and we have to appreciate that.

I often say that because a lot of people think that sometimes like statements, you should ignore what other people think about. You should just completely forget what other people think about you. I actually think there’s some leverage in what other people think about you if used correctly. So I often say if I innately know that I’m quite good at something and someone reinforces that to make someone say, you know what your fantastic, your short game’s fantastic.

If I might not sugar pretty well I’ll go yeah. You know what? My short game is good. I actually step into that identity even further. However, where you have to be careful on this is we’re also impacted by our environment and what people reinforce on the negative side. 

So if I know innately, you know, I’ve got a bit of weakness when it comes to my take shots, I’m a little bit not so certain that and some of those you know what you’re a little bit away with today.

You’re a little bit I actually start things again and I absorb that more. So that’s why we need to work on it, be aware of it and make sure we leverage the components that are going to benefit us, but then have strategies to definitely lessen the effects of the ones or reframe the ones where people are reinforcing negative things.

But again, just be around people with positive energy. We speak about social flow and how impactful that is on our experience of life. Make sure you’re around people that are going to bring the best out of you that have similar goals, that have similar communication skills, that have some competitiveness. You spoke about that earlier, the competitiveness, call it.

I think that’s so important to understand how your environment, both people, but also just the environment in general impacts you, your state, your performance and all those different components. Yeah, I mean, this is for a separate podcast, but that big statement of the environment affects us is a true statement. Yet we also get to choose how it affects us.

And so many people just want to react to the stimulus in our environment. Said, Oh, I don’t like playing with these two people. They’re slow, they’re blah, blah, blah, and they’re already putting themselves in a very negative fixed mindset. And sometimes it’s out of your control. But you and I talk certainly about what’s in our control, what’s out of our control.

Yet, you know, like you say, who were going to tee it up this Saturday with might be friends. Great. You know, that would be something that would be positive. But sometimes we’re in competitive environments. We don’t get to choose who we play with. We don’t get to choose what the weather is. We don’t get to choose if the greens are cut, how they want to be.

But I do really, really encourage everyone out there. You know, golf is a challenging sport. We don’t need people, you know, negatively impacting us with their attitudes and stuff like that. So I think that’s really important. Definitely. So moving on to the next one then, Rick and the observer mindset, from my standpoint, I think it’s one of the most important.

It’s absolutely vital we speak so much about self awareness. And the observer mindset basically implies that we need to be aware and we need to observe our thoughts, breathing, sometimes our emotions, all these different components and be able to look at them almost from a third person perspective. So can you share just some ideas on how they can do that?

We spoke a lot about this in other episodes. We spoke about post round assessments, we spoke about self awareness in a whole episode, but can you just reinforce how again people can apply this to their golf game and also to their life? 

Sure. I’m going to answer it a little differently than I think where it’s posed. People ask me about visualization all the time, okay, now I’m not going to get too much into visualization other than we can visualize what we call associative visualization.

Which is seeing the environment through our own eyes, or we can see it disassociated, which I can see myself experiencing. What we’re talking about with an observer mindset is almost seeing yourself on a movie screen and how you’re behaving and how you’re hitting the shot and so on and so forth. 

And I think it’s very powerful because it detaches a little bit more from the emotional reaction.

You can observe it again, it’s called Observer. Observe it now in its entirety, not just through your own eyes, and you will learn things that you wouldn’t if you were just stuck looking at it from your own eyes. Okay. 

So I know it’s slightly different than we’re talking about self-awareness tools, but I’m trying to bring somebody back, look at themselves on the movie screen, observe what they’re seeing and I think it can, again, detach us from being so emotional about the observation about that.

Really powerful, really powerful. So then moving into one of the second final ones, they create a mindset. I think we would say and you mentioned this earlier, but we create our own reality. Essentially, we’re in control of that. 

And that ultimately comes down to our perception, our perception of what’s going on. The same thing can happen to two people, but they perceive it very differently.

But we have to understand that we create our own reality through our thoughts or perceptions or actions or behaviors, how we see ourselves, all these different components. So again, can you share a little bit of information on how people can apply the creative mindset to their golf game and also to their life?

Yeah, I think I mean, this is just a mindset I personally bring every single day, whether it’s golf, whether it’s business, whether it’s in my social situations. This is now taking ownership and empowering yourself that you are the one who is creating eating. A lot of people will tell me I played badly because a blank happened. I was paired with this person.

The win was this slow play and they’re not taking any ownership for it. And it’s you’re being what we are at a fact. You know, I want to cause something. I don’t want it to be just affected by things. 

And so that’s just a framework that I live by. I would think I live by that most of my day and so when we do that, we are now empowering ourselves that what I focus on, my choices are up to me now.

Sometimes they may play out in the world differently than I expect, but at least I have an intention that this is what I do because I get to choose it. I think just within that, that is a very very powerful way to look at things. Unfortunately, again, and we’re talking golf here, I have a lot of golfers that go to the first tee and there I hope I play well.

It’s going to depend on blank, blank, blank. And they’re using, again, excuses already built in and setting. I’m going to create the best version of myself on the first tee. I’m going to be somebody who’s grateful. I’m somebody who’s going to focus on each shot. I can’t wait to hit the shot. Now I’m getting in the mindset that I am going to have something to say about my performance.

So that’s how I look at the creator mindset. You know, we can take it a step further about being creative. I’m being creative on a shot by shot basis, and I get to paint a picture out there and I get to hit whatever shot I want. To me, there’s some freedom in that and there’s some empowering mindset that goes also with that creator mindset.

Definitely. I love that. I think taking ownership is so, so important. And some simple questions I ask some of my players and some of my clients are just asking them Why have you not yet achieved your goals? And it’s so interesting to see the answer to that question. To see whether they go down and blame other situations.

Even if it’s recent situations with Kobe, it’s a very viable excuse or a viable reason. But I ask them, why have you not yet achieved your goals? What would prevent you from achieving your goals? I ask them, Are you often early on time or late for things? 

If so, why and I’m basically setting them up to just determine and see how many times do I hear the letter I or hear the words me and I think is so powerful and so important when a lot of people don’t realize that they are blaming all these external things and the story is or the lesson is that that’s fine.

You can blame those things as much as you want. Absolutely fine. But the issue is if you’re blaming them, they have control over the solution. If you take ownership of the problem or if you take ownership of the challenge, if we reframe it, you now have ownership also of the solution and now you’re the one in control. And I think that’s so important for people to remember.

It might not be nice sometimes to take ownership of that challenge. It may not always be enjoyable, but once you take ownership of that challenge now, you can also take ownership of the solution and you can move forward. 

I see that exactly one of life’s biggest skills that you can develop is problem solving. Problem solving skills or being able to embrace challenges in your life.

They’ll always come, especially if you’re pushing yourself to your limits. And it’s your ability to overcome those challenges, your ability to solve those problems and move on to the next one that ultimately is going to determine your success. So take ownership of it because then you take ownership of the solution. So I love that. Definitely the final one.

Then, Rick, and again, probably one of the most important, they’re all important. I’ve said that about every single one. But growth mindset, we know, you know, we reinforce this all the time. Being a learner is absolutely vital. Being antifragile, which I can touch on in a bay, is so key to long term success. 

I think this is one that obviously with your journey with calling from eight years old to now 25 and all of the accomplishments in that is one that you’ve had to reinforce so, so deeply into all of your players’ growth, growth, growth, growth, always learning from every single opportunity.

So can you just share some information, some stories around growth mindset and why you feel it’s so vital to long term success? Yeah, you just said the key thing, long term success golf inherently is for some is about quick fixes. Band-Aid approaches. 

I need to play well today. And I think that gets us in kind of the scarcity mentality of constantly searching for something to fix something.

Instead of saying I want to develop myself as a player, that I’m going to just be better tomorrow than I was today. May not in this moment lead to a lower score. Now, that’s really difficult for a lot of people. So that’s one concept, as you and I talk a lot about long term development over short term fixes.

But then there’s just the mindset in and of itself that you actually believe you can get better and you can believe that you have options at your disposal that you can at least experiment with just because you have a very, very good coach. And they say, oh, you hit the ball to the right, do this drill and that drill doesn’t work.

Okay? That’s one of many ways that could help you. So not get stuck in the loop. Well, that didn’t work. Nothing’s going to work, right? And so often in golf, because people want instant gratification, they’re not open to many options that might be on the display. 

So I look at the growth mindset as both a something that we inherently want to just be looking at life of how can I learn, what can I get from that?

And, you know, you and I have talked about on another podcast about assessing around, assessing a shot or assessing a tournament and having the questions you pose are already growth mindset based. Right. And I think most people unfortunately it’s a little bit too much fixed. How did I hit the ball? Hit the ball poorly. I always do that.

See, I can’t get any better. Okay. Well, good luck with that instead. Hey, today. Wow. I missed eight fairways to the left, huh? I wonder why it went left. Was that mental? I think it was physical. 

What my swing coach sometimes tells us right now is that you’re at least learning from that. You may not have the exact answer yet.

Everybody but at least you’re again in that growth learning mindset that Stephanie and I’re going to I’m going to steal this a little bit from the growth mindset. Queen Carol Dweck. I recommend people want to dive more into this topic growth mindset. 

Go and read cowboy expert mindset. But the power of yet the power of that three letter word I think that’s so important for people to add to the end of their sentences.

I catch myself so many times, I can’t do this. I can’t do that. I can’t do it. I am unable to do that. And if you just add the word yet at the end. So if you say I’m unable to hit my drive up to 80 minutes call, that’s a good statement, but what are you going to do about it?

I’m unable to hit my driver to 80 yet that can be really powerful because now you’re suggesting that it’s not that you’re not able to do it in the future, you just currently can’t do it. So it suggests that if you want to implement a plan, if you were to take ownership of that solution that we were speaking about in the creative mind, now you can actually get to that point where it’s achievable.

So really, really key there and something that all listeners can take away is an actionable task is just get really good at capturing yourself. Whenever you say you can’t do something at that important three letter word to the end, really key that no question. 

Love it. Good stuff. So we’ve covered 7 different mindsets that are fundamental to building a flow personality and these are fundamental to your golf performance, but also just generally in life.

And that’s something that we repeat over and over and over again is that we believe life and golf are so closely connected. I’m sure that will be a future conversation that we have, Rick, and that we bring onto the episode. But again, I know so much value for all of our listeners, whether you’re a weekend golfer and you just want to improve and beat your mates on the weekend.

Or if you are an elite athlete and you’re looking to get to the top level, these mindsets, if you can really take ownership of them, if you can really get clarity on how you can live these out on a regular basis, you will be a better human. You will be a better athlete. And that’s one of the most important things.

And one of our biggest drivers, right, one of our biggest missions is to create better humans, better athletes. And these mindsets are a great way to do that. Wonderful. And again, just the last thing is you get to choose your mindset. You get to choose your perception of reality. You get to bring your own values and beliefs to every single experience.

That’s your mindset. So, you know, after listening to this, I want people to challenge what their mindsets are now. And add one of these experiments with one of these. And the next time they’re on the golf course and you will see a shift in your focus, you’ll see a shift in your emotions and your state. And so let’s be open to trying these different mindsets.

Absolutely. Thanks very much, Rick. And we will see you in the next episode.

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