Daily Inspiration: Golf & Initiative -“Every challenge is an opportunity wrapped in the cloak of intimidation!”

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“Every challenge is an opportunity wrapped in the cloak of intimidation!” – Futurist Jim Carroll

I’m going in.

I might come to regret the decision, but I’m going in.

The Seniors Club Championships, that is.

Since it’s summertime and I’ve got a bit of downtime, there’s a lot of golf time. Given that’s the case, my days are full of chasing a little white ball around a few acres, constantly chasing the small incremental improvements to be found in my game.

Many golf clubs have an annual club championship – one each for Men & Ladies, and another for Juniors and Seniors. They are a test of the golfer’s skill and are both fun and competitive.

I’ve also always been deathly afraid of competing in one.

It’s time to get over that mindset.

To be honest, I’ve always avoided the thought of participating in a real competitive event. As a late-in-life golfer who had absolutely no competitive sports in his background, I’ve always been terrified of putting my game to the test by participating. After, while most sports-minded teens were busy chasing sports, I was busy running my high school radio station and having way too much fun.

Later on in life, I was too busy chasing my career to spend time chasing a ball. But I started getting into the game regularly about 15 years ago since one of my sons is an avid (almost scratch) golfer, and because many of my leadership-oriented keynotes are held at really, really nice golf resorts. I’ve always thought I should be ‘out there.’

But I’ve never had a competitive bone in my body. It’s now time to put it to the test.

A big part of innovation and leadership is learning how not to be intimidated by chasing goals, pursuing opportunities, putting yourself out there, and putting yourself to the test. For me to practice what I preach, I’ve decided that it’s time I give it a shot. I might fail dreadfully, but I’m willing to give it a shot.

Club Championships are deadly serious for some folks – their ego depends on their success and demands that they chase peak performance. In my case, I’m merely hoping to survive.

Right now, I’ve got what is known as a ’15’ handicap – that means that on my really good days, I can shoot around 86 at my home course. This handicap is based on the 10-best of my last 20 rounds. For a senior golfer, that’s not a bad place to be. And yet that number hides the fact that while a golfer can have some good days, there can also be a lot of really bad days.

Yesterday, for example, in a match against my son (which I lost on the 15th hole,) I shot 95. He and I played against each other in a friendly game that tested our skill, mindset, and emotional stability. I went at it with the mindset that I was simply going to try to play well, have fun, and not be bothered by the occasional wayward shot. To be competitive. To that degree, yesterday was a success and gave me proof that I should try out this week.

My goal for this coming weekend? Play the first round on Saturday and accomplish several things – not have a meltdown after a bad hole. Have fun. Stay focused on giving it the best shot I can. Sticking to my routines and what I know works. Not obsessing when things occasionally don’t work.

I am not going into it with a mindset of ‘winning,’ since that will be the furthest thing from reality – but with a mindset of finishing half decently. If I can get through both days with a score below 100, I’ll be happy. Because I’ve come to realize that at the base of every opportunity lies the challenge that got you there.

If I never face up to the challenge, I might always regret not chasing it.



THE FUTURE BELONGS TO THOSE WHO ARE FAST features the best of the insight from Jim Carroll’s blog, in which he
covers issues related to creativity, innovation and future trends.