Note – this may or may not apply to you. If it does, great! If not, sorry, but perhaps you can pass it along to someone for whom it does…

Professionally speaking, are you ready to get serious – commit to leadership – take on the responsibility of the bottom line? Excellent! Tune up your putting and hit the batting cage to practice your swing; use company golf and coed softball to showcase your leadership capacity.

I can hear your ugh’s! This is meant to help not be painful. Read on…

Golf is five hours of being ‘on’ and dealing with the unpredictable; making conversation while intimately traversing the course in a tiny cart, contending with bugs and the weather, needing to use the restroom but realizing there doesn’t seem to be one…anywhere. Oh, and taking shots with everyone and their mother looking on, often with side-bets weighting an already charged situation.

Softball is less time-intensive but no less ‘exposing.’ Technically, it’s a team sport but when the ball is hit to you catching it has nothing to do with anyone else, nor does being up to bat late in the game with two outs and needing to get a hit to tie the score. Oh, and you are up to bat because the man batting before you was intentionally walked so to get to you ‘the girl!’ ‘Team’ is loosely relative; it’s only by virtue of everyone wearing the same shirt.

All this with people you want to WOW, but what could be better? And why wouldn’t you want to have the opportunity to shine when it’s a matter of accountability or the bottom line? There’s not a better stage to show your readiness for IT than on the course or field! Here are a few reasons why:

First, corporate leadership (broadly considered) requires dealing with the gamete of emotion that is part and parcel to performance and accountability. Immersing yourself into contexts where it’s all about performance provides an optimal opportunity to first-hand experience its spectrum of reaction, and develop competence in how best to respond to how others react. The frustration, success, discouragement, elation, etc., displayed during golf or softball parallels winning new business, dealing with a chronically difficult client, losing an account or closing a sale. How you respond to employee’s emotions can ultimately determine the bottom line, for it’s your encouragement, support, empathy, etc., that can lessen distractions and keep them focused on the task at hand. This competency is best learned through experience. You can’t gain insight about how to respond to performance emotions unless you spend time in a context that induces performance emotions.

Second, golf and softball offer the opportunity for you to display who you are when an outcome is on the line, meaning directly impacted by your action or decision. In golf or softball it might be facing a 4-ft putt to win a hole or batting late in the game with 2 outs needing to get a hit or otherwise lose the game. At the office it might be taking a client meeting to win back the account, or deciding which campaign to show the client. Important to realize is in corporate-level golf or softball you can develop this presence even if you miss the putt or don’t get the hit. None of us hits a home run each time at bat but each of us can show we have fire in our belly by communicating we WANT to be the one up to bat late in the game or facing the putt to win a match. It’s how we carry ourselves and manage the distractions that arise. A purposeful stride to the plate with shoulders back, then tuning out the catcher’s negative chatter shows steely confidence. It also sends a message to the pitcher, which might be strong enough to rattle them into walking you. The sentiment and attributes directly transfer to the office. Saving an account that is at risk usually comes down to communicating undeniable belief that you ARE right for the job. Or, when it’s a meeting to attract new business the sway factor is often HOW the presentation is made, less the content. In softball terms, it’s communicating that you want the hit more than the pitcher wants the out. From softball or golf you can show that have the capacity to rise to the occasion when an outcome is on the line.

Last, playing corporate sports provides the opportunity to show your self-improvement initiative. Taking lessons, going to the batting cage or driving range, or weight training to strengthen your throwing arm will show on the course or field. It also makes a statement that you want to improve and are willing to take the necessary steps. Most of us CAN get up at 5am to get to the gym before work – not all of us do. Considering evolving technology, business is transforming more and faster now than in previous eras. Life-long learning isn’t a cliché rather an absolute. Leaders need to take steps to stay abreast of emerging trends to best service and advise clients. This means proactively seeking professional development–with more bite than joining an online support network – which typically requires attending seminars, workshops or taking courses. Playing sports occurs in proverbial public fishbowls. There are no secrets about your skill capacity, so any improvement will be noticed. It says something about you that you care enough to take steps to improve!

Realize corporate golf and softball for what they can be – unique, serendipitous gifts to display the intangibles that catalyze your corporate relationship to the next level.

It’s NEVER too late to take up sports or hone your skills!! Iron Footprint Fitness is an approach to physical activity that can help you grow your ‘Iron Footprint’, your physical activity portfolio, by fostering resilient motivation. We reveal all the ways you CAN achieve in activity and how to display all the ways you DO achieve as a solution to low/inconsistent motivation. We help you STICK to your routine and help you grow your routine by structuring motor skill practice. I know! how fun to be able to look forward to the treadmill everyday and then practice your throwing. Our book is on sale at www.amazon.zqdboy and the companion website is www.ironfootprintfitness.com. We care, and the approach works!!