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Last week fans were treated to some great golf as we watched The Masters golf tournament. There were lots of incredible shots made over the four days of play, including some spectacular shots from so many of the players. Although they were not winners, Rory McIlroy and Collin Morikawa both holed out their bunker shots on the 18th hole. It was a magical and memorable moment.

A weekend golfer myself, I really enjoyed this year’s Masters tournament. Something I observe when watching professional golfers is the way that they manage the course. And part of the course management is what is referred to as the “swing thoughts” of the golfer before each shot. For some reason, this part of the game really stood out to me this year as I realized that although we are all not professional or even amateur golfers, our thinking most times will determine and drive our actions.

In golf, the swing thought will determine the outcome of the shot. If the thought is positive, they can almost see the ball going into the hole before even swinging the club. Conversely, if it is a negative thought, they can almost visualize the ball going into the pond before they hit the ball. It’s funny because some amateur golfers when faced with a shot where they must clear a creek or a pond, will take out an older ball just in case it goes into the water. They are planting the negative thought in their mind before they even take the shot.

Let’s look at the tasks, projects and conversations that we have on any given day. If we see a task or project as being too difficult, doubts will creep into our mind, and we will continually put it off. The task or project doesn’t go away, it just keeps getting bumped down the list, creating anxiety and stress because we know that at some point, it still must get done. If our pre-task or pre-project “swing thought” is positive, We are more than likely to get after it and get it off the to-do list.

It’s no different with conversations. Whether the conversation will be a disagreement or conflict, or if is just a difficult subject that we must deal with, our pre-conversation swing thoughts are critically important. If our thoughts are nervous, negative, or angry, those thoughts will manifest themselves in the conversation. And we know that the opposite is true as well. If we go into the conversation or challenging topic that we must discuss with a confident and positive outlook, we are more than likely going to have a positive outcome, giving us even greater confidence as we move forward throughout our day.

Is this true 100% of the time? No, there are always exceptions. We could have the greatest positive attitude and still make mistakes. When faced with a difficult conversation, no matter how confident we are and hopeful that the outcome will be what we desire, we still may walk away with no resolution or compromise. But we do know what Zig Ziglar said to be true, “A positive mental attitude alone will not allow you to do anything, but a positive mental attitude will allow you to do everything much better than a negative attitude will.”

We have all heard that we become what we think about. Or if we think about something long enough and powerfully enough, sooner or later it will come to pass. We also know that the most important and most powerful story that we tell is the story we tell ourselves. Those stories show up in our thinking, so why not make them positive, encouraging, and filled with the expectations and outcomes that we desire?

Are your thoughts taking you closer to your goal or further away? Could you use an adjustment in your own “swing thoughts?” I would love to hear your story at mnorton@xinnix.com and when we realize that our thoughts do determine and influence our outcomes, it really will be a better than good year.

Michael Norton is the grateful president of XINNIX, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator to businesses of all sizes.