Category Archives for Craigs Journey

Stress is killing your scores

I want to wake you up to something that very few golfers and instructors are aware of and even less teach you anything about how to deal with it…

stress kills not only your body, but your game.
I’m always teaching my golfers and other athletes that the way you live is the way you play. The mental attitudes you practice at home and work are what you use at the course. Time after time we watch a great pro at the top of his game suddenly fall off the leaderboard for months or even years. When we read about him/her, we find out about marital problems, substance abuse (can you say John Daly) and other such issues off the course.

Athletes in my office all learn how to use the tools that they will use on the course at home and at work to prepare for that eventual pressure situation in competition. And by the way, competition also means competing with yourself for your best rounds.

This all reminds me of the days when I was a stressed-out manager at Fedex Express. It’s no wonder that I struggled for so long with golf while I was so poor at managing my life, especially with regards to stress. At the course, when I faced pressure, I tensed up and my body created anxiety over the putts I needed to make. That response worked great for work but not for my golf game. I didn’t know any different back then.  The inevitable choke followed that anxiety.

At that time, golf itself was a major stress reliever but I didn’t put two and two together that my stress load was actually part of the problem keeping me from reaching my golf goal of breaking 80. Looking back, I carried that stress in my body from work right on over to the course.

In many surveys, doctors are reporting around 80% of all patient visits are due to stress.
While I was struggling with my game, I was also struggling with marriage, finances, and of course, my career. I was sick a lot, had back pains and drank too much to self-medicate.

It’s no accident that the best rounds of golf that I played during those years came when I was on vacation. Do you remember how you feel when you are totally away from worrying about what goes on at the office or your clients?  You relax, you enjoy, you have more fun…you play better.

My single-digit handicap and best round, a 1 under par, all came after I left that job to do what I’m doing now. Did I practice more? No. It was like my body was rewarding me for finally eliminating all of that stress.

Now, if you’re not so concerned about your scores, then by all means, use golf itself as a stress-reliever.

And when you do that, notice the mechanism you used to switch over to being de-stressed. I want you to realize that it wasn’t the game that de-stressed you.

You did it.

Golf was just a sensory stimulus that you allowed for that mechanism to work for you. You can use that at work and home to better manage your stress…your body will thank you.

A de-stressed golfer plays ten times better. An enjoyable game of golf de-stresses you for better performance at work.

The way you live is the way you play and vice versa.

For those of you that don’t go to a regular job that think I’m not talking about you, think again. Stress is relative for everyone.  A homemaker may not have to write a report and create a spreadsheet under a deadline but it is just as stressful juggling the many responsibilities of caring for a family.

Your unconscious mind IS your body. It’s the collective intelligence of all the cells. You use your body for golf don’t you? It’s time to do something about your stress.

I have a saying about stress…change it, change me, or get sick.

Here’s a few things that you can do right now to reduce or eliminate some unnecessary stress in your life and your game:

1. Get organized. Use lists, your personal organizing software, your cellphone, a spreadsheet, bulletin boards. Get things out of your head and onto some form of organizing tool. Allow that tool or system to take care of the issue so that you can just leave that issue with the paper or the electronic device.  If your home is disorganized and cluttered, there are people in your hometown who are professional organizers that will come to your place and make you very happy.

2.  Learn to say “NO.” Do not take on more things when your plate is full. Ask a friend or partner to remind you that you are strengthening your “NO” muscle.  You cannot be a success in business or golf when you are more worried about what people will think of you. What is it that you want more?  Wake up to the fact that saying YES to everything is not what you really want.

3. Set or clarify your goals. Vague, undefined goals are one of the biggest causes of stress. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?  Use this everywhere in life.

I will write some more about this very soon but for now, WAKE UP! Get out of that stress trance.

I like to say that I do more “de-hypnotizing” than I do “hypnotizing”

Greens and fairways,
Craig

Play golf in the zone

I am working with folks every day in my office for such things as chronic pain relief, weight loss, sports performance and various other such problems. Yes, I use hypnosis, NLP and other unconscious communication techniques. With every client, I teach them how to PLAY or LIVE in the zone over the course of a few sessions. This doesn’t generally happen overnight but the more I do this work, the more I am finding that it takes care of everything!

In other words, we can do specific interventions to solve specific problems but guess what, the unconscious mind (ucm) finds other ways to manifest the greater problem…and the client just trades one problem for another.

I received a question from one of the members who has gone through my CD program and has a serious golf problem that he hasn’t been able to solve with any amount of practicing.  Here’s the part of my answer that teaches him some basics of how to PLAY and LIVE in the zone.  It’s really quite simple folks…most of you over-analyze everything (so do I at times).

…stop trying to “fix the problem” that obviously hasn’t worked for awhile. Time to do something different. You’ve been giving a lot of thought energy to this problem for awhile I’m guessing and that actually makes it worse. Put it aside and watch it go away from the following steps.  Believe that it will and that you have the keys to make that happen…

Step 1. Set an intention.
Your intention is not to fix this problem. It is to establish communication with your ucm and play in the zone all of the time.
Sit down one day quietly in your easy chair and relax. Talk to yourself as you understand the paradigm I’ve explained here and in the program.  Make friends with your ucm, call him (Name) #2 if you want.  You must put all of your heart into this while in a completely easy, relaxed state. Believe that what you are doing is as REAL as anything else you’ve done in your life…because it is. It’s at least as REAL as your problem is now isn’t it?  Make a big deal afterward about what you did. Be happy about it.

Step 2. Repetition
Every night before you go to bed, go over what you did in step 1. Continue the conversation and make friends and ask your ucm to support you in your golf game. Tell it that the game makes you happy, relieves stress (it better or your ucm won’t help you out. If it doesn’t, that may be why it is causing the problem so that you quit the game.), improves your health with the exercise, movement, and fresh air and is
all good for the body.  If golf isn’t good for your body, then your ucm will do things to make you quit.

Step 3. Let it all go.
You need to do a ceremony for yourself about forgiving yourself for all the misses. Do this like in step 1 in your easy chair. Go over all the misses of this problem that you can remember and state something about those that you can’t. Forgive yourself with all the love you can conjur up.
Clear all that out and then fall asleep to a nice little nap.

Step 4. Play the game for fun
Go out and play some rounds ONLY with the idea that you are going to have fun this time. You don’t care about your score. Notice how your body feels and what you are thinking about as you play this way. When you make mistakes (and you will), remember that you forgive yourself easily for them and laugh about them.  Open your senses to the sights, sounds, smells, feel, even tastes of the golf course. Pay
very close attention to what your senses take in and nothing else while having fun on the course.  Really enjoy everything about being on a golf course and doing your favorite activity.  See how much fun you really can have. Laugh and smile a lot!
Step 5. Repeat and reinforce on and off the course.
Do all the steps above in your mind any time you have spare moments to think or daydream. Smile and laugh at how easy this all becomes.
Think about the reasons why you play golf in the first place. On the course, smile a heck of a lot more while thinking of these things.
Know that you are in the process of not only playing IN THE ZONE…but LIVING IN THE ZONE.

Let me know how it goes.

Greens and fairways,

Craig

Scoring Barriers

So many golfers get stuck at a certain scoring level. Why can’t I break 80 or 90 or whatever?  This is why I named this break 80 golf because I was in the same boat for years. I tried everything…lessons, range practice, I read all the best magazine articles, I bought products, etc. etc.

I had never been a failure at anything! And for 20 years, this golf thing had me beat. I couldn’t “figure” my way out of it. I couldn’t “will” my way to making it happen. Then, one day, I give up the game. I throw in the towel. I put the clubs in that corner of the garage that you know you don’t see very often.

And then…a few months later, one fine day, it happened on a weekend trip to Central Oregon. I not only finally broke 80, but I shot a 77! It was unbelievable to me…and so easy it was surreal.

Looking back and knowing what I know now I believe I have the answers as to how I really did it.

The most important thing is…I stopped “trying.”

Yep. Now, I’m not saying that I gave up my idea of breaking 80. But I did stop practicing and grinding about the whole thing.

I want you to think about the word “try” or “trying” for a moment here now. In my therapy office, whenever a client says the word “try” like in: “I really want to try this hypnotherapy” to see if it works.  I then, stop them right there and ask them to to “try” to grab a pen I hold in my hand. They are always successful at grabbing the pen because I just hold my hand there open and they grab it. I then tell them that they didn’t follow my instructions.

If they had followed my instructions, they would have made  attempts at grabbing the pen and then not succeeded. I then explain that if I would have said to “grab the pen” then that would have followed my instructions.

What’s the point here? First of all, we do not use the word “try” in my office except when talking about “trying” a new food that is healthy to see if the client likes it or not (for my weight loss clients).

Language is important. Sometimes your unconscious mind is listening…and sometimes it is doing the speaking.

The word “try” implies that you CAN POSSIBLY FAIL.  This is not tolerated in my office and my teachings.

Next, and getting back to breaking the scoring barrier…Yes, you need to have your golf goal declared and on paper…and then…let it go.

Do not dwell on that scoring barrier. The more thought and energy you give to that scoring barrier goal, the stronger and more resistant it becomes in your mind. The more your unconscious mind makes a big deal out of it and gets the message that this “barrier” is a “thing”…a “force” or an “entity.”

Your daily goal out on the course will not be to “break that scoring barrier.” It will be to ENTER THE ZONE…

When you play in the zone, that’s when you break your scoring barrier. Trying to break your scoring barrier prevents you from entering the zone which stops you from breaking your scoring barrier.

Next time, I will talk more about the zone….

These days, I not only play in the zone, I LIVE in it. And I teach all my clients how to get there.

Greens and fairways,

Craig

The Golf Magazines Have it All Wrong

I’ve canceled my golf magazines! I’ve decided that in today’s post, I’m going to go off on a little rant. Now, I’ve been calling myself the Golf Anti-practice expert for awhile. What does that really mean? It means that I am against the constant drum beating into our heads about the only way to get better at golf. That you have to strive to get a “pro” swing blah, blah, blah. Yeah, I know, you’ve heard me say it before in my articles and such. Well, I’m taking it to a new level. I’m getting po’d. (Pissed Off) about the whole thing. So I started by stopping my golf magazine subscriptions. You know, it’s really quite funny. When I first started doing all of this about 3 years ago, I was getting 4 different magazines and reading them all cover to cover when they came. I would write on the covers the pages and titles of important articles I’d read. I would dog ear some other pages.

When they’ve come in the mail the last few months, I’ve thrown them over into a corner where I say that I will “look at them later.”
And the darn things started stacking up! Now I have this huge pile that I actually brought with me to Seattle in this move. And I can’t really justify to myself why.
And later never comes. How did I get this way? Well, don’t get me wrong, I think the humor and the covering of what goes on inside the pros minds on Tour is entertaining. I used to pull out some great quotes and thoughts that I actually have in my articles and products today. But after awhile, the articles, the great sayings, the instructions…they all repeat like a radio station with a song playlist.

Whenever I read an instruction article in a brand new magazine, I laugh to myself as I remember reading the exact same thing in at least one book in the Online classics library that was written 40 years ago!

I’ve been telling you all in my articles and posts all about that I’m the golf anti-practice expert right? Well, really, I’m anti-establishment when it comes to the “NORMAL” way of doing anything! My first thoughts when it comes to do anything these days is: “If everyone is doing it this way, then I’m going to find a better way.”

Look, I know it’s “comforting” to go to McDonalds instead of Joe’s Hamburger house. I know most folks would rather be assured of mediocrity than taking even a small risk that something could be so much better. I know that most folks cultural and environmental programming is so strong that they would rather stay where they’re at than try something new. I know all about the huge magnetic pull there is to “conform.”
I encourage you to not be “most folks”

Greens and fairways,

Craig

p.s. Here’s a picture of how I putt. Definitely not normal!

Big city golf and opportunities

I feel sort of like a farmer in the 1930’s during the depression. You know, times are tough, the crops are low and ya’ gotta go to town to get some work. Well, I’m not exactly in that position but I did move to Seattle the first of the year. For those that don’t know, I was living in a small town, Richland WA in the Eastern part of the state. It was o.k. for while I was there living with my kids in a leave-it-to-beaver neighborhood. But now that I’m divorced and the boys live with their mother and she is remarried, it was time for me to get out into the big world! And I’ve got big plans!

The Seattle golf scene is wonderful and full of opportunity. I can hardly stand myself with all the potential I have here. Right off the bat, I lined up teaching and speaking at the Seattle golf show March 16th -18th.

Wait ’til they get a load of me!

I am going to do my “How to improve your game without practice” presentation for about an hour and I can’t wait.

Of course I will also have a booth and be selling my “Without Practice” and “Mind Links” products. But more than that, I am very hungry to get my personal NLP/Hypnosis personal practice built over here. I have decided to specialize my techniques for:

Pain Relief

I am absolutely fascinated and drawn to all there is to how the mind creates pain in the body to distract the conscious from dealing with emotional and traumatic issues in memory that are repressed. There are countless studies out there that now have proven that Hypnosis works for pain relief. It was always the claim but now with brain scanning and imaging technology, scientists and doctors are beginning to understand how. I want to learn more about this too!

Don’t worry golfers, I won’t leave you behind. In fact, this all goes right along with golf. How many of you have to adjust your swing to compensate for various aches and pains you have?

As of this week, I am set up to operate in a very nice office:  Advanced Health Therapy in Kirkland (a Seattle suburb) I have joined a business networking group and am working on my promotional materials this week. It’s all good!

Have to tell you this and it is verrry interesting. I left Richland knowing that for awhile, I wouldn’t be able to see my boys as much. It was a very tough decision. A few days ago, I talked to the boys mother and she said that her husband is going to be transferred over to this area! I struggled and struggled with making that decision and then out of the blue, it turns out that it was absolutely the correct choice. So I’m thinking this is a lesson for me…and what is it?

I’m thinking that it is to keep yourself open to ideas. Discount nothing. Do your homework before making rash decisions but when you’re done….DO IT! Which is what I did. In fact, from the day I got the idea to move until I actually moved was about 2 weeks. I ended up throwing away a lot of printed promotional materials for my hypnosis practice but again, it was the right choice.

2007 is starting off with a bang for me and I wish the same for you. Hold your dreams, imagine them completed, and then direct MASSIVE action toward making them happen. And don’t quit for anything…Persistence.

My big dream, and I will spell it out right here right now, is to hold a weekend GOLF training/entertainment/travel event for 200 golfers.

It will be called:   “Craig’s Big Golf Event”  or something like that.   It will be held at a wonderful resort facility with pro instructors, myself and Doc Kubistant and other golf trainers, a band playing songs from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, a comedian who specializes in golf jokes. I will be on The Golf Channel promoting it.

I’m going to make it happen. What will you make happen?

Greens and fairways,

Craig

Feeling Bad? Here’s an Instant Change Tool

I am making it my life’s work to help folks feel good.

I absolutely love it when a client or a friend tells me that they just “feel better” after talking to me. I live for that!! I can’t think of anything more satisfying (well, a hole-in-one and breaking 80 for the first time were close!).

Anyway, I have all this knowledge now on what makes us tick and how to get what we want in life…and still….occasionally, I find myself feeling down.

This happened to me a couple weeks ago. A business project went sour and a personal relationship was not going well at the same time. I called my best friend up. She helped me out tremendously. I tried to stay focused on my work but found it difficult throughout the day. My thoughts swirled. I kept talking myself out of it. I started losing my direction and objectivity about my situation. The feelings got worse throughout the day.

I knew I had to do something..”c’mon Craig, you’re an NLP Master, you have the tools” I told myself.

I called up 6 people one after another to help me get out of this funk I was in. Nobody was home. I left messages on 6 answering machines and nobody called me back. That was a message in itself I think as I look back.
Anyway, It was getting worse….I was spiralling more and more negatively…Time to do something now.

I remembered a learning I got from a movie called “The Secret” (I could write a book on that alone. Email me if you want to discuss or post a comment here)
I got out a piece of paper and began to hand write all the things that I am grateful for. Things like:

  • I have 2 healthy, happy boys (ages 8 and 12)
  • My health is excellent, almost perfect. And I am in awesome shape.
  • I have a car that is paid off and runs well (98 Honda Accord)
  • I have a fully furnished apartment and office for my hypnosis practice
  • I can write and I have internet marketing skills
  • I have friends and a wonderful supportive mother and family
  • I have some exciting new developing relationships
  • I have excellent presentation and public speaking skills

And a few more things like that.

Then, I began to write down nice things that I could remember other people saying to me in their exact words:

  • “You have so much to give”
  • “You have such a big heart”
  • “…they are around you because they trust you”
  • “You are a natural leader”
  • “I just always feel better after talking to you”

And some other more personal stuff that hit me
I sat in my easy chair and just looked at the lists I had written. The negative feelings began to fade. I focused on the scenes the words represented and let my body change the chemistry and energy. It was working!

Now, I’m not going to say that I immediately jumped up and down for joy and went out and conquered the world right then and there. What happened though, was it got me back to neutral. I was back on “Even Keel” so that I could get busy living again.

I picked up a book I was in the middle of reading: “The Power of Intention” by Wayne Dyer. I could focus again!! That was major.

I woke up the next moring saying this over and over to myself “There is no failure, only feedback”

and a quote from one of the greatest basketball coaches of all time, John Wooden:

“We will always win…given enough time”

I’ve since typed up that handwritten page of what I am grateful for and added to it achievements I’ve accomplished in my life. I look at it often. It works, it shifts your energy. It connects you with the Power of Intention and what you really want.

Do this when you find yourself down.

I’m feeling fantastic!
Craig

Thanksgiving thoughts

Hello golfers and friends,

It’s Thanksgiving day here in the U.S. I’m thinking about what it means to be thankful, and of course, where is the lesson to be applied to sports and transformational change of any kind. As usual, my mind has come up with something. I don’t know where it comes from but I seem to be able to turn any event or idea into a metaphor for achievement.

This idea of being thankful comes from my latest book readings. Let me tell you about applied kinesiology. This is where you can test a person’s strength while they are saying positive and negative comments. You can actually measure a person’s strength drop significantly when negative versus positive self-talk.

One of the most powerful self-talk ideas you can do is to be grateful! Thankful! Yep, I tried this out on myself lately after doing demos in my speeches with athletes.

Let me explain: I love to workout at the gym. And lateley, just for kicks and the challenge, I am trying to put on some muscle on this small-framed 43 year old body. By the way, another book I read “Quantum Healing” says that there is no scientific reason to lose your muscle tone as you get older. You will lose stamina, but you don’t have to lose muscles.

Anyway, back to the subject. I had always liked to listen to hard rock while working out. It felt like I was “pumping up” my energy. Now, I still do that on the way to the gym just to get the energetic feelings to be motivated to work out. Except when I actually am lifting the weights, I don’t listen anymore. I leave the music in the car. I think about what I’m grateful for. I say the words “grateful, grace, thank you, etc.” while lifting!

In trying to increase my strength, I write down exactly how much and how many lifts I do for each exercise as I was taught to do by a coach.
I cannot believe how much faster I am progressing in increasing my weights since I use “grateful” instead of rock music while exercising!

Yes, this is anecdotal about one guy and his experience. AND, I challenge you to bring this tool into your life and to your golf. I have yet to do this on the golf course since I just came into these learnings and now it’s pretty much too cold for me to want to golf.

I was originally turned to this idea of gratitude by the movie “The Secret”
and thought it was a nice concept but didn’t really implement it until now. All of a sudden, I am reading about this everywhere! I can’t escape it, and I don’t want to. I’m working it into everything.

Thoughts create feelings. Feelings create actions. Actions make results.

Greens and fairways,
Craig

New certifications

Well, I just got back from spending the summer in Southern California. Yes, I know, it was a tough gig but somebody had to do it right?
Some of you have been wondering why I’ve been so quiet online for the last few months.

I went down there to complete advanced trainings in NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming), Hypnosis and Timeline techniques.
So now, I’m a certified trainer of those therapies. I am qualified to set up my own company training others to become practitioners and master practitioners as I have been.

Although I don’t plan on doing fulll-fledged training courses like that, I do plan on using this knowledge to train folks in specific applications of those techniques in resolving different human issues such as golf, sport, pain, etc.

Right now, however, my first priority is to redo my golf websites and set up my office to do more one-on-one work to help folks achieve their greatness. This I love and will be writing about it as I get into it more. These technologies are so powerful and center around the concept of “The Breakthrough”

You see, there’s 3 requisites for change:

1. Clear negative emotions, beliefs, decisions, integrate parts, align values and generally get rid of all the old baggage in a person’s history.

2. Action

3. Focus

The Breakthrough process deals with #1 and begins #2 with tasks assigned to jumpstart that. Then, if the client wants to, can transition into a Coaching relationship to help with #2 and #3.

It’s all well and good to have affirmations and positive suggestions with or without hypnosis for #2 and #3, but if you haven’t dealt with #1, then the same issues are always going to come bubbling up under the surface of your temporarily happy face.

I went through my own breakthrough in my trainings and I cannot believe how powerful it was and motivating. I wish this for everyone so that they too can break through their barriers as I have.
Greens and fairways,
Craig

Scary golf

Those of you on my list for awhile have probably noticed some changes of late. There will be even more on the way as I continue to work on upgrading all my sites. My webskills and marketing skills keep getting better and better and I spend many hours on these sites making them useful and informative. Unfortunately, it has meant that this year, 2006, I haven’t golfed near as much as I did in 2005. In fact, as of today, I’ve only put in about 6 rounds since starting up.
Now, having said that, I would have thought my game would deteriorate from last season. It gets too cold for me around December and I pick up the clubs again in March. I have, however, been working on my mental game and of course spending a lot of time researching how our mind works for golf and other things.
But it was still a big surprise to me that my game has actually improved!! I thought that maybe I would be able to barely break 80 not having played much. About 6 weeks ago, I played a round with a local Break 80 member, Ed. It was on a Sunday morning at 7:30. I show up, putt a few to test the greens and then walk over to the first tee. No warmup, no balls on the range, just some good stretching.
I mentally regress myself to some great shots I’ve had and the feelings of playing in the zone and to make it short, I end up shooting a 74 on this course. Now it’s not a terribly difficult course at a rating of 67.1 but I played about as well as I ever had in the past.

And before this round, I hadn’t played in 3 weeks! That’s what was scary.

2 weeks later, last week, I went to Klamath Falls, Oregon with my boys for a vacation. I took them golfing at a local course there.
On an unfamiliar course and with my 8 year old (who doesn’t play) climbing on and over me and generally making it tough to concentrate, I shot a 77.
It just seemed so easy! Last year, my biggest problem was putting. This year so far, not a problem at all as I had 3 birdies drop from over 10 feet. That’s where I put the most intention during the offseason.

Look, I’m not saying this to brag. I just want you to know what is possible. I haven’t gone to the range at all this year. I haven’t hit any chips in my backyard. I haven’t had any lessons.
All I’ve done is use the techniques I teach and pound them into my head whenever I think about it.
The biggest thing though, is that I have really started to get in touch with my unconscious mind and it’s automatic processes through regular hypnosis and meditation.
Tell ya more later on that..
Greens and fairways,
Craig

Intuition


A funny thing has happened to me over the course of the last year. I’ve developed some intuition! 2 years ago, if you’d asked me about the word intuition, I would say that it is a word that only goes after the word “women’s”
Ever since I began my studies of hypnosis and NLP, strange things have been happening. Good things that I now believe are well within all of our capability.
I recently had a phone call with a professional life coach for his guidance as I am desiring to move into that field. I began to tell him about my experiences in this area and he just sort of chuckled like he was telling me…”no duh” as my boys would say.
I will just be sitting here at the computer typing away or building a webpage or something and then I’ll have an idea that I haven’t contacted a friend in a while and I’m wondering what they are up to.
So I send them an email. 5 minutes later, the phone rings and it’s the person I sent the email to except that they are nowhere near a computer or their email.
Now, the first couple times this happened, I brushed it off as coincidence.
But it keeps on happening!
My coaching mentor says that we just have to tuned into the little urges and voices that are sometimes very subtle. He also said that most men not only aren’t tuned in as many women are, but that they actively block these messages.
Big mistake. The power here is in listening to this inner guidance.
Haven’t you heard of stories of some folks who refuse to get on a plane or train or car because they are certain that there will be an accident, and then it happens?
One of the world’s top tennis coaches, Vic Braden, had the ability to say when a player was going to double-fault on a serve right at the point when the player had thrown the ball in the air on the second serve. He said of his ability “It literally scared me. I was getting twenty out of twenty right, and we’re talking about guys who almost never double-fault”
I have a great book recommendation for you that talks about this and other valuable points:
“Excuse me your life is waiting”

This is the power of the unconscious mind that I study.

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