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Transforming Your Golf Mindset: Overcoming Self-Sabotage

I’ve been chatting with my friend Lana Kinberg over the past several months.  Lana is the founder of LMK Coaching and Consulting.  She has an impressive track record of over 25 years in corporate sales leadership, mentoring and facilitating.  Lana has gained profound insights into the challenges organizations face when individuals lack confidence or inspiration to create choices for themselves, which led me to me wonder how she might be able to help us as golfers, change our mindset and overcome obstacles.

The chatter in our minds can lead to self-sabotage and hinder not only our scores but the overall enjoyment we derive from golf.  In this guest article, we discuss how mental patterns can become self-fulfilling prophecies on the golf course and ways we can minimize the impact of our inner critic by using techniques developed by Shirzad Chamine in Positive Intelligence®* are outlined.

Golf is a game of physical precision, strategy and equally important, mental resilience, Lana writes.  For women, the journey to mastering the sport is not only physical but also deeply influenced by the psychological aspects of the game as Lana outlines below.  Once you’ve read this article, there is an assessment you can take to learn how to best approach mental improvement. 

The Judge

The most common form of self-sabotage in women’s golf is the relentless inner critic, or what we refer to in Positive Intelligence® as The Judge.  We all have a Judge, and it seems to rear its ugly head to challenge us when we are most vulnerable.  The Judge finds fault in ourselves, others and circumstances and erodes our confidence hindering our ability to focus on the task at hand. Whether it’s questioning one’s skills, doubting shot choices, or dwelling on past mistakes, The Judge can be our most formidable opponent on the golf course.

Positive Intelligence® Approach:

Developing self-awareness is the first step towards minimizing the impact our Judge has on our game. Women golfers can benefit from recognizing negative thoughts as they arise and using their self-command to reinforce confidence and shift the focus from perceived limitations to strengths.

Fear of Failure

Many women golfers struggle with the fear of failure, which can manifest as anxiety, tension, and a fear of taking risks. This fear can lead to cautious play, inhibiting a player’s ability to unleash their full potential on the course. Understanding that all fear is based within us allows us to shift to the cause of the fear, thereby minimizing its impact.

Positive Intelligence® Approach:

Positive Intelligence® encourages reframing failures as opportunities for growth. Women golfers can cultivate a growth mindset, viewing each ball strike or hole as a chance to learn and improve. Embracing challenges and setbacks as part of the learning process can help shift the focus from avoiding failure to embracing it as a natural part of the journey to mastery.

Comparison Trap

In the world of golf, comparisons to others’ skills or achievements can be a significant source of self-sabotage. Constantly measuring one’s game against others can breed feelings of inadequacy and hinder the development of a strong, positive mindset.

Positive Intelligence® Approach:

Focusing on personal progress and celebrating individual achievements is crucial. By recognizing that your experience and journey with golf is unique, and improvement is a personal and continuous process, players can foster a positive mindset that encourages growth and development. 

Mastering the mental game in golf is just as essential as honing physical skills. By integrating the principles of Positive Intelligence®, women golfers can break free from self-sabotaging behaviors and unlock their full potential on the course. Cultivating a positive mindset, embracing failure as an opportunity, and developing powerful strategies to overcome mental obstacles will enhance your overall performance and enjoyment of golf.   


Curious about what is sabotaging your game?  Take the Positive Intelligence Assessment

Lana M. Kinberg

If you are interested in learning more and would like to explore the results of your Assessment and learn how to navigate your own self command, reach out to Lana Kinberg – PQ Coach for details about upcoming programs! 

*Positive Intelligence®, developed by Shirzad Chamine, emphasizes the power of a positive mindset and how it can significantly impact performance.

Once we recognize the synergy between the part of our mind that is our worst enemy and the part that is our best friend, you can harness your mental fitness to experience immediate and sustained improvements in both your wellbeing and performance.

Shirzad Chamine is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, Positive Intelligence. Shirzad has lectured on Positive Intelligence®️ at Stanford University and has trained faculty at Stanford and Yale business schools.

Shirzad has been the CEO of the largest coach training organization in the world. A preeminent C-suite advisor, Shirzad has coached hundreds of CEOs and their executive teams. His background includes a BA in psychology, an MS in electrical engineering, and an MBA from Stanford.

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