Before any goal can be reached, it must first be realized, mentally. You must see and feel, with unwavering belief, that it will take shape. Eric Magidson is on a mission to make a dream come true. I'm proud to call him a student, but he is also a friend! He'll do whatever it takes to attain his goals. This is what he sees, and has decided will happen in the future:
My Vision for The 2012 Nationwide Boise Open
It is 6:00am, I just woke up from a really great sleep and have stepped out of my hotel room to welcome the day and assess the weather. The clear sky and rising sun indicate that this will be an average September day in Boise, Idaho. However, as far as I am concerned, today will be everything but typical. As I breathe in the morning air, I feel anxious and a bit nervous, but I have prepared for this day and the moments that are yet to come. At the same time, I recognize that these current emotions are confirmation that all my hard work for the past 12 months has been worth it. You see, today is my day! No matter the results, I have once again proven that I can truly commit and practice with all the intensity, dedication, and belief it takes to truly succeed.
In an instant, I gain a huge sense of confidence by reviewing my work from the past year. I have been able to effectively balance family, full-time work, and all the requirements my team of coaches have set forth to prepare me for today. These coaches definitely put in much more time than the billable hours I have been able to afford. But their dedication has led to countless hours spend on body, mind and swing instruction in preparation to meet my goal. I am quickly reminded of the:
• late night gym sessions, after a full day of work.
• stolen moments doing intense cardio, pushup and sit-up/crunch routines behind the closed door of my office
• countless rounds spent practicing my pre-shot routine and learning to accept that occasional bad shot
• thousands of words written in my blog as a means to discover my mental weaknesses and document their transformation into strengths
• tens of thousands of balls hit during all four seasons (even shoveling snow from the hitting mat when needed)
• short-game and putting sessions that only ended when the range went black.
I again get a bit emotional when I think about all the time, commitment, dedication and sacrifice my supporters have invested, and how Thank You will never be enough. There is no pressure from them however, somehow no matter my performance, today will be reward enough.
The fact is the day has begun and it’s time to GET IT ON! As I head back into the hotel, I am focused on nothing but the present. The nerves are still with me but I accept them as just a reminder, to myself, of how important my goal is to me. These feelings may be with me all day but will NOT affect the outcome. I am in control. As I meet up with my caddie and best friend, Justin Thayer, for a healthy breakfast he asks me how I am feeling. He’s not asking as a question but to let me once again reiterate to myself what he already knows. I am prepared for today, I am confident, and I have the game it takes to compete at this level. Once finished with breakfast, I head into the musty hotel gym to fully stretch and do a bit of cardio to get my heart pumping. This is not the time to shortcut any part of my routine. I have practiced this day in my mind and during previous rounds of golf, so that I am comfortable in the moment.
As we head to the course, I get a final call from Coach Dayne, my mental coach. He reminds me that the work has been done; I am prepared, to have fun, and go through my pre-shot routine on every shot. He can sense I have just one more question, ok the final ‘one more question’ before we make it to the course. I have had just ‘one more question’ for a week now. So I ask it. “What happens if I exceed the goal of shooting 72 and actually have to play on Thursday?” He responds quickly, “We will have that conversation after your round but that has nothing to do with today.” Go through your routine!
Justin and I reach the course and surprisingly a sense of calm and intense focus comes over me. As we make our way to the registration table, I realize my first advantage over the competition. I am not here to make a living or get on tour. I just have to shoot a 72 today to reach my goal. Justin gets the pin sheet and local rules; we make a few notes in our yardage books, and then head to the putting green.
This is the first time I notice that some of my family and friends have come to support me. I get a few hugs and good luck wishes but quickly excuse myself to the job at hand. I drink in the positives of my supporters and remind myself that they are not here to judge the outcome just be involved in the process. As I step onto the green and smell the fresh cut grass, I have entered my favorite place, my world on the putting green. The world where nothing exists but the ball, myself and the hole. Justin throws me a couple of balls and I begin with a short putting drill to instill alignment and increase my confidence. With every putt, I hear that lovely sound as each ball drops one after another into the hole. Justin and I share a private joke about the flat stick as I continue to move further back with each putt, producing more of the same.
We head to the driving range and squeeze in, to claim our space to warm up. Although I notice the other players, my focus has not decreased. I complete a few key stretches and shoulder warm-ups, as the breeze carries forth a unique scent that I have associated with Hillcrest Country Club, from my previous visits over the past few months. It relaxes me and reminds me of the last time I stood on this range, and the successful round that followed. Today will be a good day. I begin my warm-up routine by dialing in a steady tempo through a few dozen swings that are not hindered by the requirement to connect perfectly to a ball. As I work through the bag, my swing is confident, the balls go where expected, and my focus remains steadfast. Toward the end of warm-up, I execute my pre-shot routine and mental strategy while hitting various shots that I will need to accomplish throughout the day. All of which builds additional self-confidence that I will take to the course.
Justin throws me one last ball and asks to see a preview of the drive I will hit off the first tee. I again go through my focused routine; I tee up the ball and step behind it in line with my intended trajectory. I take a deep relaxing breath, and imagine the shot. The vision begins with the ball leaving the clubface; I sense the feeling and hear the sound of a perfectly struck ball. As the ball raises into the air it begins to turn slightly right to left, a perfect draw. The ball finally begins its descent from well above the trees as it heads toward the exact piece of grass I had chosen as its landing spot. It lands and rolls out - a bit further then I had envisioned - that must have been the adrenaline. I open my eyes and initiate the script I have practiced and believed a thousand times before. I will ACCEPT (this shot). I feel the calming sense of acceptance. I will TRUST (myself, my abilities and my swing). I feel the assurance that comes with trusting oneself. I will COMMIT (to attacking the shot, the whole shot)! I am excited like a kid opening a present knowing that what is inside is exactly what he wants (yes I peeked!). I inhale one more deep relaxing breath, confirm my alignment, and step beside the ball. I take my posture, make a couple of very deliberate, short, tempo based practice swings and step in to execute my vision. Before the ball even reaches the pinnacle of flight Justin simply says, “Ya just like that!”
We head back to putting green to keep my mind busy, in an effort to not allow it to question prior outcomes or consider the future. Again laughter ensues as I tell Justin that my mental cue to stay in the present has been hearing Ben Crane say, “I am speaking to you from the now in the middle of the now.” Once again I confirm the speed of the greens and focus on my putting routine as we wait for our tee time. After what seems like just seconds, Justin picks up the bag and says, “Let’s go have some fun.” I eat my favorite protein bar as we walk with a deliberate and consistent pace to the first tee. I am conscious of what is going on around me but not focused on my surroundings. All the work is done, my mind is prepared, my routine is solid, and I am confident. Today is my day! Today, I will demonstrate the result of committing, practicing and living my goal. I AM 1%.
Side note: I got a bit emotional as I wrote this and each time I re-read it. Emotions filled my heart, and I can only image what my competitors or naysayers might think as I admit these facts. Let them think I am soft, let them think I am emotional; let them form the wrong impression. This is the vision of my goal and frankly, I will completely and utterly crush their theories when I succeed in accomplishing it.