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Last year, when visiting my cousin, he invited me into his den where he had a fabulous collection of books. An entire section was filled with books about golf. While it had been a number of years since I had played golf with him, my recollection was that he wasn’t particularly good. However, I thought that with all the self-help books, he must have improved. When I questioned him, he laughed and said that he was just as lousy as ever. I suggested that while reading about how to improve your golf game is enviable, maybe it would be worthwhile to invest in some actual golf lessons.

Fast forward three months – out of the clear blue, my cousin called to thank me, proudly announcing that he came in number two in a tournament at his club. I congratulated him and when I asked him why he was thanking me, he simply replied that it was because of me that he hired a golf coach.

I kind of shrugged off his compliment because, to me, it wasn’t exactly rocket science. Later, I began thinking about how this relates to business. I’ve spoken to so many people who have invested in books about business. Assuming that most people read the books at least once before they begin gathering dust on the shelf, I have learned that most of the great advice is never acted upon or the execution is short lived.
I am not suggesting that people stop reading. Knowledge is power. However, just like my cousin knew the theories of being a better golfer, he wasn’t executing what he read. And, he wasn’t holding himself accountable.

We all have “blind spots” and can’t see things on ourselves. In golf, one of the most common mistakes is to look up before you hit the ball. If you tell a golfer he picked up his head to peek at the shot, he‘ll usually deny it. Get someone to video the shot and the evidence becomes clear. You simply can’t see things on yourself. That’s why you need a neutral party to point out where you’re going wrong so that you can correct yourself.

I called my cousin a few days ago and congratulated him again, recommending that even though he had improved his game, he should continue to work with his golf pro.

To you, as a business person, I make the same suggestion. Find a coach that you are comfortable with, don’t expect overnight miracles, and even when he or she gets you on the right track, just remember, you can still get run over if you’re standing still. Make a long-term investment in yourself and your business

– Stephen