Physician Dispensing

Want to hit it farther? Loosen Your Grip

golf-gripThis week, I had the wonderfully humbling experience of starting a golf tournament at the “Beat the Pro” tee on the 14th hole at the lovely Fort Benjamin Harrison Course in Lawrence, Indiana. Coupled with my status as an intermittent golfer (once every few years), the added presence of the pro and her associated gallery made the initial tee exquisitely tense. Not the ideal circumstances for producing my best performance and I managed to hit the ball exactly as I feared – though I was able to find it. As I was walking from the tee-box trying to muster a smile to mask my embarrassment, the pro told me that I would see tremendous improvement if I simply loosened my grip.

I wish I could say that this simple suggestion fixed my entire game and I proceeded to dominate each hole thereafter – alas, that was not the case. However, her words did echo through my mind as I returned to the working world and considered what happens when we grip too tightly in our day to day routines. Though this isn’t a new concept (in 1981, .38 Special told us to “Hold on Loosely”), it is worth remembering.

    • Your Span of Control is Smaller Than You Think – as much as we want to believe that we are in control, there are always variables that sit outside of our small span. All we can do is focus on the smallest elements and roll with everything else. Behaving otherwise is an exercise in frustration. Stephen Covey described this well as our Circle of Control versus our Circle of Concern.
    • No One Enjoys Being Micromanaged – yes, you can do it better than anyone else. So what? There are many ways to get things done and at some point, you have to let go and allow someone else to do it their way. This applies equally to your children not cleaning the kitchen correctly to your staff member who just can’t seem to format that report the way you want it. If you want them to produce for you, ask them, teach them and then get out of the way.


  • You Won’t Get There Any Faster – if I could0f52d80 just “will” those cars in front of me to go faster or simply get out of the way, I could be “there” so much faster! I am guilty of doing this in so many aspects of my life. The reality is that my grip on the steering wheel (or whatever part of my life that I am trying to drive) doesn’t change what’s happening around me. The tighter I grip it, the more tense and frustrated I become – and, guess what, the more tense everyone around me becomes.
  • And relationships… – yep, you guessed it. .38 Special was so very right. The tighter we hold the faster it seems to push those closest away. Though it is always a balance, achieving the best with our partner, child or employee requires that we find a way to “hold on loosely”.

So, you want to hit the “long ball”? In the game of life, those things we grip are the levers that help enhance how we experience, achieve, love etc. Loosen your grip and let the levers of your life do their job. You’ll feel better and so will everyone else around you.

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