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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Annika Sorenstam Talks About Breaking Through

I don't have to tell you who Annika is. When people who have never met you know who you are just by hearing your first name... well, nothing else need be said.

These quotes come from Annika's book Golf Annika's Way, and I had a lot of trouble choosing them. The reason might surprise you: The book is just so darn practical! Most authors take a lot of time sharing their thoughts about the game (yeah, have to include myself there)... but not Annika. Her book is basically "I do this" and "I do that." Great for learning the game quickly, horrible when you're looking for a blog quote.

In the end I chose these two related quotes from her chapter about Vision54™ (the belief that it's possible to birdie every hole):
The key to achieving excellence is to be unafraid of it. If you dare to be the best, you need to have the courage to do whatever is necessary to see your vision through, even if it means doing things differently than others. (p.235)

The more time you spend thinking about the negative consequences of your actions, the more likely you are to make those thoughts real. If your last thought before taking the club back is, Don't hit it in the water, then then your brain will focus on the water, not your target. Instead of stressing about the water, try carrying a single positive thought or image into your swing, such as, follow through to a complete finish. You'll be surprised how easy it is to be brave. (p.237)
Sometimes you hear psychologists talk about fear of success, but I think that's just a misnomer. Rather, people often sabotage their attempts at success because they fear something that may happen as a result of their success. I think Annika gets at that here. She talks about fear of excellence, but all the examples of fear she gives are of what she calls "negative consequences." She urges us to ignore the possible negative consequences and choose instead to think of a positive thought.

In other words, don't think about possible failure. Instead, choose to think of something that will help you succeed. If you do, perhaps someday people who have never met you will know who you are just by hearing your first name.

5 comments:

  1. Those are great quotes Mike. I'm a big Annika fan.

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  2. "you'll find how easy it is to be brave" ???

    Was the book ghost written ? It was Annika Sorenstam who intentionally threw away leads the first two years of her professional career because she was afraid of speaking in public and post tournament interviews. I haven't picked up the book yet, so I hope she addresses those years.

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  3. Court, you'll be pleased to know that Annika did mention her fear of public speaking. She mentioned it just a couple of paragraphs before the first quote. The shadow in this quote refers to a distraction she had when swinging in full sun:

    "That shadow was my nemesis, and instead of turning my back on it I had to learn to deal with it. It was similar to the nervousness I felt making speeches back in my junior playing days. I would three-putt the final hole of a tournament on purpose, just to avoid giving a victory speech. Obviously, I overcame that fear, and the more speeches I gave, the more comfortable I became in front of a microphone." (p.235)

    She actually spends quite a bit of time in that chapter telling some of the problems she had to deal with, as well as some of the solutions she found. She makes a point of saying that the more often you attack your problems rather than shying away, the easier "bravery" gets. But I didn't want to quote a huge section of the chapter and get into problems with copyrights.

    And Apryl, I have only two words: Who isn't?

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  4. Good to hear, though I'm surprised she limited it to her amateur days.

    Kind of doubt you'd have a problem with copyright when your mention will only help their sales. :-)

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  5. I worked in a bookstore for a number of years, Court. Trust me, publishers get ticked off over seemingly small things.

    Maybe she figured she had talked enough about it on TV and didn't want to remember it anymore than she had to. I know I wouldn't! ;-D

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