It has been said many times that golf is a great metaphor for life. Where else can you put yourself under the microscope and within four hours find out how well you handle success, failure and all the little voices in your head?
One of the interesting parallels is how golf reveals a person’s issues with ego. It is amazing how we put our self worth into the approval of others. We do this so much that golfers routinely lie about their scores to save face as they enter the clubhouse. If they don’t lie, they will often devalue the experience with statements like, “If I could only putt,” or “At least I’m not dead,” or “Where’s the bar?” This pattern is so predictable you can find the same boring, recycled conversations occurring on every golf course on the planet!
Feeling like less of a human because you didn’t play your best is ridiculous. Filtering your performance with lies is an indication you may have some work to do in other parts of your life as well. Your golf score is not who you are. But, how you respond to it is.
This idea of authenticity has way more impact than just how other people view your golf game. It is the key to enjoying successful, loving, effortless relationships. Fortune 500 Leadership Coach, Austin Vickers says, “Our choices in how we communicate set up a cycle, which will lead us down either a circle of pain or a circle of gain.” According to Vickers, “No matter who we are, there is a segment of the population who will love us, while at the same time, there will be another segment who will not. This is the law of attraction and repulsion.” At its most severe level one can wonder how in the world someone who is imprisoned for a heinous crime can actually be married and find love. Prisoners repulse many, while still attracting some. Conversely, we can find people revered for their compassion and loved by many who still have enemies as well.
At the beginning of each cycle is personal choice or how you choose to communicate and respond to the people around you. Doubt and fear often cause us to communicate in an “unauthentic” manner. We don’t speak truthfully about who we are and how we really feel. Once our choice of communication is sent, we are either attracting or pushing away others. Communicating unauthentically attracts those who we would normally be repulsed by and pushes away those who we would be genuinely attracted to. As the toxic cycle continues, we become insecure about our relationships because they are operating out of fear. Fear of approval, fear of acceptance and the fear we can never reveal our true selves.
If our choice is to communicate in an “authentic” manner, then we are revealing our true self to the world. Here we are saying, “This is who I am and this is what I am all about.” Now we know the people who will be attracted to us are the ones who are genuinely cool with who we are. Communication based on truth means we have nothing to hide. We are then able to have secure and stable relationships. We can now operate freely from a place of love versus fear. Living confidently and without fear is an especially great way to feel on the golf course. Make it your goal to approach your life and golf game with a higher level of authenticity. Give each shot your best, enjoy the challenge and let the chips fall where they may. After your round, smile, state your score and make no excuses. You’ll find the truth, will indeed, set you free!
This lesson is an excerpt from Jeff Ritter’s bestselling book, “Your Kid Ate a Divot! Eighteen Life Lessons From the Links”
Jeff Ritter is National Director of Instruction for Nike Golf Schools and Junior Camps. In 2010 he was named one of Golf Digest’s “Best Young Teachers in America” Click Here For more information on coaching with Jeff and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff!