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  • Writer's pictureStephen Williams

A Masters Week #FoxtrotFriday – “Adjust your handicap” for each day.

In golf, serious players keep up with something called their “handicap.” Simply put, it determines what a “good” score is for that player on that course. (*Note: a common misconception is that it is the average score – not true. The formula for establishing a handicap determines a good score – if you’re interested learn more about the USGA handicap system at

I forget which book, but Dr. Bob Rotella, Ph.D., an author and professor at the University of Virginia talks about paying close attention to your handicap not only in a general sense, but on any given day. For example, before your round, if your handicap is “15,” you can literally take out your scorecard, mark out the “Par” on the scorecard with a black marker and add in one more number on the 15 most difficult holes (the scorecard will tell which these are). Thus, you can forget what Par is for the guys on TV and worry about what Par is for you!

Dr. Rotella goes even further to make honest and adjustments for other factors like the course / weather conditions and for how you’re feeling or, in my case, how often you’ve been playing. So like these days, if you’re a “15” but it’s also been raining so the ball is not going as far or rolling out after landing in soft earth, you’ll probably need to add a handful of strokes a side and make your handicap for the day a “25.”

What does this have to do with effective parenting? being effective at work? on the golf course? Glad you asked. As Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal discuss in their writings on “flow” in books such as The Rise of Superman and Stealing Fire, we operate best at just beyond our capability. (What does that sound like? See above paragraph.)

You have got to push yourself in life…but not too much. The examples I’ve read were that you’re not going to enjoy playing tennis with someone you’ll destroy but you won’t enjoy or get anything out of playing Serena Williams either. You will feel your best, play your best, and increase your skills most effectively and efficiently by pushing yourself just enough by playing someone just beyond your skill level.

So, as you plan your day you can do a quick self-assessment of your wellness and energy level. Feeling good and get a good night’s sleep? Awesome! “Go low” today and make some difficult projects or things you’ve been procrasinating on a priority. Not feeling so hot? An extra glass of wine or two last night? Adjust your handicap. If possible, set reasonable expectations and or goals for yourself based on how “on your game” you feel. I say “if possible” because sometimes, especially as a parent, you can’t put something off and shit just has to get done, but the key here is that when you still consider your handicap you’ll be able to give yourself a break when you don’t land that parenting triple axel just right. Another key is that if you do need to put a more difficult project off, make time for it and put that time on your calendar and make sure you are in “game day” mode by the time…ahem…The Masters….arrives.

***Note, this is not an excuse to let yourself of the hook. You should still be challenging yourself each day – challenging yourself, not killing yourself. And, your “handicap” should be improving over time. If not, then that’s a sign that you’re not properly adjusting your handicap and that your either setting the bar too low or high. One way to tell is whether you get that sense of self-worth or achievement or maybe even just the right amount of fear or whether you feel defeated or like you’re in a rut or something similar.

This is in some ways just a calendaring / scheduling discussion. This is in other ways an discussion about getting better and enjoying the process. But, in all ways, you will find peace by effectively allocating your time, energy and talents in such a way as to be effective in the moment and grow to meet future challenges, “on the course” and otherwise.

Disclaimer: We are not your lawyers…yet, and nothing in here should be considered legal advice or as establishing an attorney-client relationship, BUT if you are a committed parent or caring relative that wants to be effective in a Child Custody case in Alabama, we could be… Visit to learn more about our intake process and send us a note at to schedule your consultation. Love & Thanks & Happy Masters! ~SW, Foxtrot

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