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SFT: A Simple Reminder for Leadership Performance

Dr. David L. Cook is a sports performance coach and business consultant who has made the phrase “SFT” famous. Leadership performance can be reduced to these three little ideas.

You might know Dr. Cook’s name from a little book titled “Seven Days in Utopia”. The book was made into a movie starring Robert Duvall and Lucas Black. The story is a fictional journey of a young aspiring golf superstar (Black) who has a colossal meltdown on the world stage of golf, suffering a series of bad choices and shots that take him to a score of 15 on the final hole of a big tournament.


Angry and frustrated at the game that seems to have betrayed him, he wrecks his car while driving thru the scrub brush of the Texas Hill Country northwest of San Antonio. Destiny introduces him to an old cowboy (Duvall) who himself was once an aspiring golfer with a lot of growing up to do. For the next seven days, Duvall takes Black under his wing to teach him a few things about golf and, more importantly, life.

SFT is the acronym for “See it. Feel it. Trust it.” In the Utopia story, it was the catchphrase that turned around the golf legacy for this young man. But it changed his life even more.


As Dr. Cook teaches it, SFT means something to business leaders everywhere. Anyone faced with having a game day each and every day of their life needs to understand the value of SFT. You see game day is where everything has to come together.

For sports celebrities and professional athletes, game days may be few and far between. The NBA usually plays 3 games a week while in season. NFL only once a week for 16 weeks. The PGA has 4 days per week for tournaments.

We as business professionals must show up and suit up every day. Managers and leaders have no excuse for missing a game day. SFT helps you be ready for those key moments.

Here is SFT

See it –  See the situation in front of you. Forget what is behind. Look at it for all its true significance. Don’t assume anything. Take a hard look. Be sure you have taken it all in. For golfers, this is the next shot. For football and basketball, it’s the next play.

In business, it can be our next meeting, phone call, or interview.

Feel it –  We are nothing as human beings without our ability to feel the moment. Feel the intensity or the gravity of the situation. Take this in too. Get a mental and emotional connection with the moment through our sense of feeling.

Some managers I know take pride in professing to not be impacted by any ‘feelings.’ That’s too bad. The feel of the moment may be your best indicator of what choice you have to make.

Trust it –  When you have put the first two together and made a decision about the way you might deal with the moment, trust your preparation and your instincts. Then execute the choice you made. Trust that the outcome will be the best one for the moment. Never execute with a degree of doubt in the back of your mind. Trust.

When I went through flight school, we were drilled on getting the steps and procedures right for each moment. Then when I started flying and faced a challenge, the training preparation kicked in almost like muscle memory. It allowed for safe, danger-free flying.

Deeper Meaning

SFT actually has a deeper meaning that is based on our faith. See it means being able to see the presence of your God in your life. Feel it is experiencing that Godly presence. And Trust it is giving your soul to trusting God in what you need to be doing.

Anyone who lives by these three principles will be able to overcome great odds while maintaining a solid balance each and every day.

Letting this simple phrase, SFT become your on-the-spot coaching reminder can carry great weight and power for successful endings.

Enjoy this video recap of the story.

Introducing the WHY.os. Learn YOUR why, how, and what that drives your passion and motivation.


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