Several years ago I read a book written by an author who took his dad on one final golfing trip to some of the greatest courses in America, Ireland and Scotland. It was a fascinating story about a father/son relationship, which had always been good, after the eighty-year old dad was told that he had little time left to live.
One of the things I’ve never forgotten from the autobiographical tale is the dialogue between the two and one reference that the elder frequently made, "NATO, son. Don’t worry about the shot if you’ve done everything right that you can do to hit it."
His version of the acronym ‘NATO’ meant ‘Not Attached To Outcome.’ The dying father reminded his son that as long as he did everything that he could to execute the shot, the ultimate results were no longer in his hands. The inference was that the same could be said of events away from the golf course as well.
When golfing, all sorts of negative things can happen after the swing. The ball might hit a divot and fly off into the rough. A swirling wind might come up at the last second and change the flight of the ball. The greens might be too hard or too soft that day for the shot to end exactly as the golfer had intended.
However, in most cases–as long as the golfer did everything the way that he was taught–the outcome would be favorable.
I’ve considered that phrase many times in my own life since reading the book. When taking on various tasks, Job One for me is to do every thing possible to ensure success. That includes researching and preparing with full expectation that my objective or goal will be achieved.
It is such a freeing experience to accept the fact that if it doesn’t it’s not the end of the world. My process is to examine what happened to make sure that I was diligent in doing everything correctly. If so, I do it the same way the next time and if not, I make appropriate changes to increase my chances of winning in the future.
I urge to you consider your entrepreneurial successes and failures. If you can honestly tell yourself that you did everything right but the results were below your hopes and expectations, move on. I’ve often heard it said that Tiger Woods has a short memory. If his shot isn’t perfect, he forgets about it and concentrates on the next one. Without question, by doing this yourself, you will celebrate more victories than you will mourn defeats. Plan. Prepare. Focus. Execute.
At that point–adopt the NATO philosophy and enjoy the ride.
Bill Sheridan—‘Sheridan Writes’
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