My grandpa loved to bowl, so much so that he kept doing it even after he was legally blind.
When my grandpa was in his 80s, he developed macular degeneration. Basically, the center of his field of vision was burnt out. With characteristic understatement, he used to say, “You know, I don’t see so good.”
My grandpa was an accomplished bowler and at some point, my dad had the crazy idea to take my grandpa to the bowling alley. Now, I don’t know about you, but I can find bowling to be pretty frustrating, and I can see just fine. I line up my shot, wait for distractions to clear in the two lanes beside me, breathe, approach the line, swing my arm backward, try to release at the perfect moment and pray the ball doesn’t shank into the gutter. It’s an imperfect technique and I’m always thankful if I crack 100.
And here’s my grandpa, bowling entirely by feel. Operating mostly on faith. My dad would line him up and my grandpa would step forward, bringing the ball back and then bend down and release. Just by the way his body felt, the way the ball sounded on the floor, he’d already have an idea of how he did. He’d await the sound of the ball knocking over the pins. My dad would report how many fell and ask my grandpa what his strategy was for the second ball, if necessary!
My dad would line him up for the shot and he’d do it again: pitching a ball into oblivion.
My grandpa was operating on a kind of pure faith. Relying on muscle memory and borrowing my dad’s eyes to fill in the blanks. There was something pure and poetic about it. A real love of the kinesthetics of the game.
My grandpa is a role model for me. He never sat me down and offered advice. He never said what he thought I should do. Instead, he showed me the way…
He taught me to enjoy the process. Find something that you love doing. Love it so much that you don’t care what the outcome is. Step up to the line, swing your arm back and let that ball rip.
He taught me not to focus on the outcome. Fixating on those ten pins at the end of the alley isn’t going to make them fall down. Focus on the part that you can control. Line up your shot and rely on muscle memory. You’ll know how you did by the way it felt. That’s the most important part anyway. Someone will tell you how it all worked out, but do it for the feel of it.
He taught me to act with faith. Step up to the line like you’ve got this. You’ve done it before. Some part of you knows just what to do. Release into that knowing. Don’t overthink it. Pitch the ball with confidence or else it won’t have enough momentum to knock those pins over.
I got into coaching because I love the core of it. I love to be in conversation with another person and to hold them in their power. That’s coach-speak for seeing the potential in the other person and treating them like I expect nothing less from them.
Lately, though, some of the fun is gone. I have been too caught up in the business aspects of my work, worrying about the bottom line. I’m so petrified of being salesy that I don’t make it easy for people to figure out how to hire me.
I’m gonna follow my grandpa’s example and shift my focus. I’m going to tune into the parts of coaching that I love. I’m going to let the marketing flow as a natural consequence of showing up and providing great service. I’m going to line up my shot, focus on the feeling, and pitch that ball into oblivion, just like the blind man taught me. You can let me know whether my shot landed.
I’m a coach for leaders and entrepreneurs who find that the old ways of bigger, faster, more are no longer satisfying. By leveraging insights from the new sciences and psychology, and tapping the power of their own thinking, I help them find creative and sustainable responses to the increasingly chaotic world around them. If you’re interested in one to one coaching please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out my services at kiraswanson.com/services/.