Tag Archives: mindset

Superhero Powers at the Masters, Part I

There is only one time a year where I am buckled in my seat for almost an entire four days watching a golf tournament.  The Masters is it.  Next to being there in person, which has yet to happen, my virtual seat will have to do. 

I was gripped by the return of Tiger.  Could he really win?  Could he even make it around the course for four days?  What kind of head-shaking, belief-defying show would he put on this time?

I have to admit, if Tiger shot in the hundreds all four days, I would have been just as glued to the tube as when he was slaying the field in past times.  My fascination with his play this time, however, was different.  It wasn’t about his swing, amazing shots, or great putting, as those things eluded him this time around.  It was about his face.

You could tell he was in pain.  He played the entire Masters without cracking a smile.  He limped along. We saw him converting his driver into a cane as he walked down the fairway. We heard him confess, “I am in pain all day, every day.  After my round, I have to take ice-baths to the death to reduce the inflammation…I break it during the day and my team fixes it at night. You have no idea the work I have put in to get here.”

I know what it is like to play in pain as I struggle with a torn meniscus.  You know what pain causes you to do?  It causes you to quit. I did.  I even stopped exercising because I had to, or at least that’s what I told myself.  My self-disciplines suffered.  Let’s face it, pain affects your body, mind, and spirit.  Most of us run from pain. 

How you deal with pain is the great separator between the average person and the superhero.  Tiger ran into the pain.  He made the pain bow to him.  Refusing to surrender to it, he resourced himself to overcome it.  Accept it.  Deal with it. Transcend it.  That’s why they are called superheroes.   It was this superhero power that enabled Tiger to rise and play.

He reminds me of David Goggins, who transformed himself from a loser and perpetual victim to decorated Navy Seal and ultra-marathoner who set all kinds of world-class endurance records.  He is known to be “the toughest man alive” by some.

“The pain you are willing to endure is measured by how bad you want it,” says Goggins.  “Physical and mental suffering is a journey of self-discovery.” Pushing yourself well beyond your comfort zone is all about seeing what you are made of.  Insert Goggins’ philosophy of self-development and mental toughness into Tiger Woods’ brain and you will find the same exact script.

The good news is, dealing with pain as a stepping stone to mental toughness is a superpower not reserved for the elite athlete.  We can develop our own superhero powers if we will push past the limits of our own comfort zone.

 I decided to tap into my own superhero powers a few weeks ago.  In examining my thinking, I realized I stopped exercising and holding to my disciplines because of pain.  “Wait a minute, chicky!” I told myself.  “Just because you are in pain and are having trouble walking doesn’t mean you can’t exercise.  You can adapt and do something!”  The shift in my mentality towards pain was empowering.

My next doctor’s appointment was still weeks away.  What I was doing to relieve the pain was not working.  Getting resourceful, I dove into the internet to research a solution.  I spoke to all kinds of people asking for advice. The answer was so simple: as soon as I switched from Advil to Tylenol, I immediately became better.

I began to push myself to go beyond my comfort zone with my knee every day since.  From golf to doing the twist, today I am pain-free taking no anti-inflammatories! 

If there’s one lesson I will take from watching this year’s Masters, it’s the inspiration I received from Tiger to push through my pain to activate my own superhero powers.  And if I can do it…

Rise and play!

Stay tuned for my next article on Scottie Scheffler’s superhero powers.

If you would like to tap into your superhero powers in golf or life, please contact me for performance coaching. I have been training champions for the last 20 years through my signature system, The Champion’s Way: Core Foundations for Achieving Peak Performance in Sports and Life. Visit: truechampionacademy.com for more info or to set up a free consult.

Finding Total Victory on the Road to Championship

I have been playing competitive golf for 55 years. Through the various stages of my life, my approach to the game has taken on many transformations. My recent championship, the Tennessee Senior Women’s Open, proved to be yet another enlightening experience on my road to championship.

It was so different than the first time I made a road-trip to play in a big championship. I was 15 years old, a young whipper-snapper who was bent on winning. It didn’t matter that it was my first tournament away from home and I should have been satisfied with the experience of playing in a national competition. It didn’t matter that this was my first road trip with my mother and that creating a fun memory with her was a good aim. I just wanted to win!

After I shot a horrifying 100 in my first round, all I wanted to do is leave. Mad that I didn’t win, I made my mom get in the car and make the five-hour drive home from Cincinnati to Pittsburgh immediately after my round. I could not see that there is much victory between a winning and losing score.

Forty-six years later, I have learned that no matter what you score, you can achieve total victory on the road to championship.

While I now help others become champions as a performance coach, I thought it would be good to tee it up myself. Over the years, I have learned and taught that the mental-emotional state in which you play is even more important than your skill level. In order to reach peak performance, you have to create an Ideal Performance State of total positivity and calm concentration.

I’ve also learned and taught that identity is the key missing ingredient in high performance. You are not a champion because you win a trophy. You are a champion based on who you are. Helping others connect their head and their heart with the truest part of themselves, empowers a player to play from victory. They play from a high sense of self-belief in their heart.

As I headed to Tennessee, I packed my bags along with all the dynamics of the inner game that I live, breathe, and teach. While I have not played a lot golf, I had victory in my spirit.

One of the challenges of playing golf in Tennessee in the summer is the high probability of rain. This time around, the rain and thunderstorms were constant. The first day we had a four-hour rain delay. I didn’t tee off until after 4 pm! Come the 16th hole, we were playing with the fire flies and all the chirping night sounds. My focus and ability to read the greens was stellar. My ball had a little GPS system on it—I made putts from everywhere! I was leading the TN Senior Women’s Open by 5 shots after the first round!

The next day I had to get up at 4:45 to finish my round. Due to three bad nights of sleep from a noisy hotel, I was very tired. My mind was so tired I could not focus. A total turn-around from the day before, the wheels came off. I topped 3 balls into the water on my drive on one hole, ending up with an 11! I ended up losing 14 shots to the eventual winner.

While my emotions felt a letdown for about fifteen minutes, my spirit rose up. I thought, “It’s just a score and nothing more.” It came again, this time with a little melody, “It’s just a score, and nothing more. I play free. I have the victory.”

Unlike my 15 year old self, I did not feel the sting of defeat for more than a moment. All I felt was victory. Victory in winning the first day. Victory in defeat my second day—why? Because my worth has NOTHING to do with my score.

Neither does yours. Whether you are playing in the US Kids, the National High School Team Championship, or any other competition, my encouragement to you is to PLAY FREE. You don’t have to wait 46 years to discover this reality. You can discover it on the road to championship today.

Enjoy your entire experience. Embrace your family and friends—all the relationships that come your way. “To enter” is to win. And most of all, know that your priceless worth as a person has nothing to do with your score! That’s total victory.

If you would like some help for yourself or your competitive junior golfer and are in the Orlando area, please join me on Friday, August 21st, for a one day Breakthrough to Your ‘A’ Game workshop at Red Tail Golf Club in Sorrento, Florida.

More info here: redtailgc.com/instruction.

Hope to see you there!

Veronica Karaman is the founder of truechampionacademy.com, a performance coaching practice on-line and in person and the author of The Champion’s Way: Core Foundations to Achieving Peak Performance in Sports and Life, available on Amazon.com. You can contact her at: veronicakaraman@gmail.com

The Championship Mentality

“I have to be realistic,” my champion wanna-be client confessed to me.  She made this comment as we were winding down a coaching session in which I was helping to prepare her for an upcoming big golf championship.

She had just won her club championship by a milestone.  Hitting the ball the best ever in a long time, her confidence was sky high.  For the first time, she was learning to focus on the target and not her swing during competition.  The result was a quieter mind and more focused concentration.  Fitness-wise, she was very strong, having committed to a regular exercise routine.  I could tell that she was now in a position to open up her mind to a whole new possibility—one of winning the national championship she was about to enter.

“But I have to be realistic,” she said again when I confronted her limiting belief.  “Realistic?” I said.  “Champions don’t focus on what is realistic, which is all about staying in the box of what already is.  Champions focus on creating a new reality by breaking through the limits of possibility.  That’s why they are called champions. They open their minds to new possibilities. They go to the edge of their capacities. They push through what is to create what can be. Do you want to be a champion?”  “Yes.”  “Then let’s spend some time writing down what is MOST TRUE for you and 25 reasons why you believe you now deserve to be in the winner’s circle. The idea is to expand what is possible for you based on what is most true right now.”

This one exercise of connecting the head and the heart fuses a person’s belief system and leverages her identity it to a whole new level.  The focus is not on what is realistic, but on what is MOST TRUE. It took her some time to identify her most true reasons. When the list was completed, she was pleasantly shocked on what she read.  A few of her “why I deserve to be in the winners’ circle” reasons are as follows:

  1. My limiting beliefs are dissolving.
  2. I am strong.
  3. I just slayed the field in my club championship.
  4. I’m learning how to successfully focus on target and not my swing while in competition.
  5. I’m opening up my life to the fullness of experience and enjoyment that is awaiting me.
  6. My confidence is sky high.
  7. I discovered an effective swing thought that is empowering my swing.
  8. The timing is perfect for a peak performance.

When we finished with all 25, I had her declare them out loud.  The power that came out of her as she read them was remarkable.  When done, all I could exclaim was “Praise the Lord!”  She agreed, joining me with her own, “Praise the Lord!”  We laughed.  Now she was in her upcoming championship at the cellular level.  All her energy—her mind, her body, her emotions and her spirit—were in “go’ mode.  She is now “all in” her championship well before it happens. I further encouraged her to declare her reasons out loud several times a day to get them into her subconscious mind with even more certainty.

“You just upgraded your champion identity based on what is most true for you,” I summed up for her.  “Now you will go play in that championship from the CENTER of who you are as a champion. This is your most powerful self—and when you play from this “inside-out” place—you have already won.  Now go give it your all and let the chips fall where they may.  You are now playing from victory. Regardless of the result, you have positioned yourself for a peak performance and it is going to happen.”

The coaching conversation itself was a peak performance experience.  I, too, left feeling like I was doing what I was created to do—empowering people to tap into their championship mentality—to position themselves to perform from their highest self. I wish to reach more with this empowering training.

To learn more, visit jointhechampionsway.com.  Reach out to me at veronica@truechampioncoaching.com to set up a strategy session.