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  • Ian Baker

The Power of Self Awareness for Success

As per previous articles and posts, I am known for being a golf nut have been playing for over 80% of my life. Over the last couple of years, I have been struggling to hit the ball off the tee (apologies non-golfers, but stay with me) and although I have been for many skills lessons and finding hitting the ball at a driving range easy, translating this to the golf course has been the issue.

I did some research and decided to look at the mental side of the game and started to read a couple of books. The books again focussed on the mechanics, but I located one book that really resonated with me. Written in 1981 by Tim Gallwey, the Inner Game of Golf has now become my go to read.


What has been most interesting about this book, is not how its helped my golf, but how its theories and strategies are translatable into business.

As a #coach, that works across multiple industries, I cannot be an expert in your business and what is interesting about the Inner Game of Golf book, is that Tim isn’t a golf professional, he was actually a tennis coach. What Tim realised, is that some of the techniques used with his tennis students was transferable, because it wasn’t about specific skills ie, backhand stroke or serve, but the mental approach to every shot. His goal was to score less than 80 in less than 2 years from starting as a newbie by using a combination of golf lessons but primarily the power of his mindset.

I won’t divulge the whole content of the book, as each person reading it will take away something different, however, the take-away for me personally was AWARENESS. As a #coach we try and bring this to the forefront when working with clients, so in theory the use of awareness should not have been a surprise to me. However, it took the reading of a book, an external media, to remind of what I was missing in my golf.

We become so focused on the results (my score) or the methodology (my swing), we actually forget to reflect on the feeling when something goes well (or when it goes wrong). Our subconscious mind is an amazing thing, we don’t have to consciously think about sitting on a chair, or walking up stairs, we don’t read instructions prior, we just do it. How often have you driven somewhere and can’t remember the journey – however you arrived safely? This is not a lack of awareness, but actually a powerful awareness that your brain has TRUSTED your subconscious to get you to your destination.

What great businesses have in common and great sportspeople is that they know what they want to achieve (a clear goal) and in addition have developed an awareness or a trust, either individually or as a collective, of what feels right in relation to that goal and the peak performance just happens – often you hear it referred to as “playing out of one’s mind”. They will have removed the external blockers and self-doubt to help them focus on the task at hand. Nobody questions the skills, these are now inherent and have been developed through training, practice and experience.


When talking to Managing Directors or HR directors the hardest part of justifying the role of a #coach is the return on investment – with skills training, people can pass a test or learn on a new piece of machinery – this is measurable. It is no coincidence that the best sports teams and players in the world and many of the top business leaders have coaches, they realise that skills can only take you so far, but creating that powerful inner awareness that you are capable of delivering any action without conscious thought allows focus on the goal and therefore the success.

Thank you for bearing with me, and I know the burning question you all have, is what about my golf game?? That my friends, will need to be the subject of another post..

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