So you’re back at work. Not yet? Well lucky you, most of us are already on our posts, starting the new work year with an underwhelming pace. Since 2016 is the year of change, you may be apprehensive for the road ahead, and yet eager to set the pace for reaching your professional aspirations.

Whether you’re already whacking at the ball or still practicing your swing, we’ve got a few tips (and helpful golfing analogies) for ensuring you start your new year off on the right foot and get your a-game on for the rest of the year…

Trim the green and comb the bunker

No one wants to operate in chaos, well, not unless you are a fractal mathematician concerned with chaos theory, neuroscience and the continuity of time and space… but we’re guessing you’re not. So if you want to start the new year off on the right foot, be sure to declutter and tidy up your work and living spaces. Make a point of rearranging your office space every now and then – this gives a fresh perspective on life and business. Give others the opportunity to advise on a recreated space which would better suit them – consider the introverts and extroverts, creatives and perfectionists among you and create a space which suits everyone.

Score-keeping and pep talks

Diaries may be for teenage girls and dieters, but nothing keeps you on track and motivated like a good old journal. Look for inspirational quotes and motivational messages throughout your day and write these down. Be sure to focus on the positive to make it a habit – remember that you become what you repeatedly do and associate yourself with, so don’t dwell on the negative. Try to instil this spirit of constant motivation and positivity in your team as well. Send them regular communications to tell them what’s going on in the business, keep them engaged and occupied, ask for their positive feedback and ideas to grow the business and just see how your company lights up.

Invest in proper gear and training

There’s that old saying: you can’t putt with a driver and you can’t drive in your slacks. As the saying goes, you need to ensure that you are geared and prepared for what lies ahead. Make sure you invest in the right tools and resources to help and your team reach your goals. Whether you need a financial adviser to assist with the correct investment, credit or policies, or need someone to help you with a professional makeover, time-management or skills acquisition – don’t waste your money on trivialities, make sure that every cent spent is an investment in your future. This does not mean that trivialities can’t be investments, but ensure that your funds are spent growing your team, business and personal life in every possible way.

Practice your swing

Whether you need to focus on your interpersonal skills, presentation skills, professional jargon or time management – remember that practice makes perfect. A holiday is, of course, perfect for a little R&R, but now that you’re back you’ll want to stay get back your game. Put in a few extra hours focusing on your weaknesses and practicing your strengths. Set aside some team-building time for collective strategising. Allocate funds and time towards training and skills development and pair up the right people who can learn from each other.

Play the course as you find it

You may be all positive and enthusiastic to get the ball rolling this year, but remember to be cognisant and prepared for all eventualities. Life will not always place you on an expected course, and you will find tricky terrain. But resilience is all about facing adversities head-on and employing the right resources to reach your desired outcome. Don’t get anxious when things don’t go your way. Remember to keep your eye on that flag in the distance, change tactics when needed and don’t miss a chance to innovate if your obstacles aren’t what you expected.

Call on your caddie

Being proud has rarely gotten anyone anywhere. In fact, some may see pride as an extreme emotional handicap. So let go of your hangups and learn to delegate and utilise the resources available to you. Trust your colleagues to do what they’d been employed to do, let go your fear of their (or your own) inadequacy and learn to focus on the machine which is your business. It’s hard to let go and allow others to contribute to your personal successes, but great businessmen know to step back, take advice and hand their clubs over to the caddie. Great leaders know how to follow.

We hope you’re ready to get on course and have your mind on the right trajectory. In the words of Ben Hogan: “The most important shot in golf is the next one”.

May 2016 be a prosperous year for you and yours.

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