“Don’t be afraid of doing something. Be afraid of not doing it at all!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
Let’s talk about the “Bench of Shame.”
It’s over on #12.
One must go and sit there when, on #11, they curve their first ball into the river, and then in a fit of pique or anger, hit their second one from the Drop Zone into the same river. By that point, the hole is pretty much over for you since you’ve hit your max.
The “Bench of Shame” is a place for quiet reflection on your inability to confront your emotions, deal with your fears, or reflect on your lack of progress. Once you’ve calmed down or can display some emotional maturity, you are allowed to return to your group. There is a bit of time for you to do that since they will cross the bridge, finish their shots on #11, and proceed to the tee box for #12.
They’ll catch up with you soon enough.
The “Bench of Shame” was inaugurated by my good friend and fellow golfer, Ian Bates. Being a Grade 5 teacher, he knew exactly what to do to deal with my ridiculous challenge on this hole of my home course, Credit Valley Golf and Country Club. In our early years together, I spent a bit of time hanging my head in shame and going to the Bench.
Today, it’s become far less frequent – primarily, because rather than facing the river with fear, I have faced it with a newfound sense of determination. (Moving up a tee box and playing to my abilities certainly didn’t hurt!) I’ve shifted it from a place of fear to a moment of determined opportunity. I am aware of the ever-present Bench off to my side vision to the right and have developed a fair bit of confidence that I won’t have to visit it. If golf is a mental game, the Bench of Shame defines its’ essence.
We do the same thing in our business and professional lives. We avoid difficult things because it is the easiest thing to do. We don’t take on the real challenges we face because we fear abandoning our complacency. WEe refuse to motivate ourselves to move forward because we are scared of leaving the place where we currently. The result is that we don’t adapt, innovate, disrupt, or change – we end up on our own business-oriented Bench of Shame.
Sometimes golf metaphors run deep, particularly in the summer months. As a late-in-life-golfer – I only became crazy passionate about the game around the age of 50. In the early years, I’ve had to spend some time on the Bench of Shame – until I turned around my attitude thanks to the intervention of my good buddy Ian.
I’m out for an early morning round. I know the Bench is there – but it’s not dominating my mindset through the first 10 holes as it has in the past.