The Three-Foot Putt

Yesterday, I listened to an old episode of the Ideasicle podcast, a conversation with advertising legend Jon Steel. At one point, host Will Burns made an interesting analogy in regard to cultivating an idea. "It's kind of like a three-foot putt in golf. The more you need to make that putt the less likely you are when you make it." The solution to working through the block, he suggested, is to pretend you're on the practice tee.

In a finite game like golf, we either succeed or fail. That three-foot putt either goes in, or our putter goes flying into the lake. I've been there too many times. Great drive. Good approach. Decent put to within three feet. Then my arms turn to rubber. I didn't want all my prior work to be for naught.  

Some people learn to channel fear of failure in high-pressure situations and use it to their advantage. Others crumble time and time again. In a creative sense, and it was something I touched on during last week's Your Turn Challenge, practice is an essential part of doing something well. And the only way to pretend you're on the practice tee is to know the practice tee very well.