I love playing golf. Unfortunately for me, I just don’t get out nearly as often as I ’d like . I’ve been on the course twice this year, but during my last pass, along with two of my friends, I played one of the best rounds of my life.
For those who have had the unfortunate experience of playing with me know, I have a ridiculous slice out of the tee box. Let’s put it this way- if every hole was a dog leg to the right, my slice would look intentional.
Anyway, on the second hole, after double-bogeying the first because of a “rare” lost ball, I entered the tee box, but for some reason I lined up a bit different. Because of our casual nature on the course, we were laughing and joking as I got ready to hit. To keep our tempo, I didn’t want to take the time to re-adjust and get into my comfortable (usual) stance. Subconsciously, I acknowledged this position was a bit uncomfortable, but decided to proceed.
Even as I started my back-swing, doubts kept running through my mind. It felt like an eternity as I kept telling myself, “wow Jim, you’re really gonna mess this up”. In what was probably no more than two seconds, I thought about the complete physiology of my swing and doubted the entire process. I thought nothing was going to line up as I hit the ball. Fore!
But on the downswing, my mind went blank and I gave it the old college try.
I could have not been more shocked at the results. I nailed the ball, and it went surprisingly straight. It was amazing.
For the remaining 15 holes, I continued using this “uncomfortable” approach with impressive results. My tee shots were relatively straight, and I added around 20 yards to my drive. Finally, I gained a bit of control out of the tee box. It felt great.
But the best part is, my overall game completely changed. This small change at the beginning created a trickle effect throughout the day. Now, I was taking my second shot from the fairway, which was 20 yards closer to the pin. I was no longer dropping a ball or shooting from awkward positions. Instead of trying to work my way out of trouble, I was now building on my initial success out of the tee box. Navigating the course became easier and my score reflected this.
So, how does this relate to personal finance? Sometimes, making a change feels uncomfortable, but it often yields good results. Not only will the initial change provide benefits, but it often has a ripple effect and positively impacts future events.
I know my new golf swing will become comfortable over time. Making a change, whether it’s a golf swing or trying to improve your financial situation, will feel uncomfortable at first. It takes effort and discipline to make continuous change.
My initial drop of success was infectious. I cannot wait to get back on the course and play again. With personal finance, I see it happen all the time. A new client normally comes in feeling a little uncomfortable and has some apprehension. However, once they experience a few successes, and understand the results, they begin to feel empowered to make changes and continue to improve their situation.