elite competition goal setting mental preparation mindset mini-goals peak performance personal growth sports psychology success wyndham clark Jun 26, 2023
Wyndham Clark wins 2023 US Open Golf Championship

Welcome to Whisper #107.

A Clark wins the US Open golf championship!

No, not me sadly. Wyndham Clark from Denver won the US Open golf championship last week beating Rory McIlroy by one shot. To put that into perspective he was less than 0.4% better than McIlroy over 4 rounds over 4 separate days. Incredible to think that one shot could be a two-inch tap in or a 300m drive. The margin for success is micro at the highest level.

He's been on the PGA pro tour for 4 years and only won his first tournament last month. His best major finish was tied for 75th so he had no known experience of what it would be like to go head-to-head with McIlroy (ranked 3rd in the world) down the last few holes.

For me, his back story and how he prepared mentally is fascinating.

Apparently, he had 3 mini goals for the week.

1. Enjoy himself in beautiful surroundings

2. Play ‘cocky’

3. Remind himself of No.1 & 2

Let’s break it down a little.

Mini Goals – you might notice the goals were nothing about the achievement of results but more about ‘how’ he was going to show up. I’m sure he’d also have set the goal of winning a major and possibly meditated on or visualised winning the tournament but his mini goals for the duration of the competition were all about how he was going to allow himself to get the best from the talent and practice he’d already banked.

Enjoy himself – there’s plenty of evidence that being playful and having fun are a key contributor to optimal performance. Having fun and being playful helps us to relax a bit more and allows our talent and practice to show up under pressure.

ARTICLE: Catherine Price's Authur Interview on the Power of Fun: How to Feel Alive Again

Play ‘cocky’ – the term has potentially negative connotations but I think in this case Clark was using it as a reminder of his talent and skill. Under pressure, our skill and talent can desert us. I reckon Clark was using this mantra as an example of ‘acting as if’. A reminder to himself that he had the talent and skill necessary and to play with certainty.

Remind himself of 1 & 2 – no need to make it too complicated. Often a reminder is all we need. But the reminder might need to be consistent, especially if we are performing under pressure. Simple is best for the performing brain. Apparently, Clark reminded himself of these goals over 100 times during the final round.

So what about you?

Do you set mini goals about how you are going to show up?

Can you get out of your own way when performing?

Are you able to make it simple and repeat, repeat, repeat?

Quote of the week:
What if previous losses are saving me for something greater - Wyndham Clark

How do you feel about previous losses? Have they saved something better for you later? Something different? Something greater?

What would happen if you were to see your losses as 'for you' instead of 'happening to you'?

Yes, you’d probably still experience losses but you might take them more in your stride. You might appreciate them as part of the growth journey and double down for next time.

Question of the week:
What’s your definition of ‘playing cocky’?

I’m not referring to the outward expression of cockiness but the inward expression of certainty and self-belief.

What word might you use instead?

Have you listed to Episode 73 Featuring Dr Kristy Goodwin? Catch up now before Friday's new release

In Episode #73 we have returned guest, Dr. Kristy Goodwin joining Pete to chat about her new book ‘Dear Digital, We Need To Talk'. Dr. Kristy Goodwin is an award-winning digital wellbeing and productivity expert, researcher, author, speaker, and media commentator who provides science-backed solutions to optimise wellbeing and productivity in a digital world.

Pete and Kristy chat about the digital pull impacting not only our kids and teens, but all of us, the high rate of burnout, the rise of Chat GBT, and the top three tech-based micro habits that will make the biggest difference to small business owners.



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