One day, I was playing golf with Kevin, a good friend of mine. Now Kevin and I have been golfing buddies for a long time. So I don't coach him the way I might coach somebody else. On this particular day, I saw him do something I hadn't seen him do before. We came to a par 3 hole about 150 yards over water. For those of you who don't play golf, that means you have to stand on a tee box, then hit the ball up in the air and get it to land on the green without falling into the water. Otherwise, there will be a penalty.
As soon as I saw Kevin reach into his bag, I said, "Hey, Kevin! Looks like you're going to hit the ball in the water." I wasn't trying to give him negative coaching. I was just stating a fact.
"No, I'm not," Kevin said, getting into position on the tee box. "Oh, yes, you are," I said. "No, I'm not," he muttered. But by this time, he was mad and he said, "Jackson, you travel all around the world coaching people to be positive. Why would you tell me I'm going to hit the ball in the water?"
"It's simple," I told him. "When you walked up on the tee box, you reached into your bag and you pulled out your bad ball. You pulled out your water ball. You didn't want to hit your good ball in the water, so you were thinking about going in the water before I even said anything. You were coaching yourself to fail before I said a word."
A lot of us do this every day. We coach ourselves to lose! Whether we're going on a sales call or talking to our spouse, we pull out our bad ball, because we've already convinced ourselves it's not going to work.
Pulling out your bad ball means you're playing it safe – and playing to lose the game. Like Kevin, you don't want your good ball to get wet, so you use the bad ball - just in case. And you tip the scales toward failure.
You always have a choice. The next time you're tempted to take out your bad ball, stop and ask yourself: why not choose to win?
Learn how you can coach yourself to win with Jim Jackson’s top-selling ‘Coaching Yourself to High Performance’ CD.