Are there days in your life that happened many years ago that you can vividly still recall? You can feel the wind, the warmth of the day, the smells, the colors. You can remember what clothes you had on. You can remember who was with you.
Well, our most memorable days are usually our most emotional ones. During those days, we were challenged or provoked, positively or negatively.
And so it was on that March day in 1992 that I was experiencing one of "those days" on the golf course. It was a Friday, and I was hopeful that I would have a quality round of golf before heading in for a nice meal around 6pm and then relax for the night. But it just wasn't to be.
For you see on that day, I was experiencing the repetitive misfortune of hitting my golf ball either in fairway sand bunkers or green side bunkers. As I recall, on the 18 holes I played that day (if you wanna call it that), I "succeeded" in landing in 16 bunkers. Well, you would think that's what really got me riled up. Oh no! Not so. What really got me riled up is that I LACKED THE SKILL to get out of those sand bunkers.
So there I was. For 4 and half hours, seemingly living in the sandpit of hell. I was miserable. I was embarrassed. It was humid; I was hot. I was full of gritty sand, seemingly lodged in undiscovered body crevices. I lost every bet to every person I was playing against that day. And by the 18th hole, after paying off all my losses and not taking it out on my playing partners, I walked to the corner of the driving range where the practice bunker awaited the arrival of my sorry ass. Beleaguered and beaten. The sand had won.
Folks, it was there that I "lost it" Yep I "boiled over" got "pissed off" or as we say down in South Louisiana, I caught the "red ass".
I proceeded to have a nice long, enthusiastic talk with myself and decided in that fury of self-dialogue that I was not going home until I learned how to hit a shot out of the sand bunker.
So I called my wife and told her my plan. "I am dropping 500 golf balls into the practice sand bunker, and I'm gonna hit every darn one of them';. It was a short conversation as you might expect.
So I rounded up 500 balls and began to PRACTICE!
LESSON: Are you mature enough to accept the fact that there are AREAS that you LACK SKILL? Many people get stuck on stupid in this key stage. Why? Because they live in a state on constant DENIAL. I had, to be honest with myself and admit that I HAVE A PROBLEM AND THAT YOU CAN'T FIX IT FOR ME.
I headed into the sand bunker with hundreds of balls and started practicing. Early on, I m not gonna lie to you. I was 8 still working to get the anger and frustration out of my being. Balls went everywhere. Then a small discovery was made. Swing harder and swing THROUGH the sand, not AT the sand.
My backswing in the sand became more relaxed. The next 200-300 balls were still not landing with any reasonable pattern or control, but the balls were successfully leaving the sand.
Sidenote: Leaders are sometimes way too impatient because they are expecting immediate complete results.
The practice bunker taught me to EMBRACE SMALL INCREMENTAL IMPROVEMENTS because they always precede the BIG RESULT you ultimately are seeking.
I seem to recall taking a break and grabbing a swig of water after pounding at about 300 balls. The transformation of my bunker skills had begun. Right now, I can remember re-entering that bunker with a sense of calmness that
I had never had before. I had FACED MY FEAR head on, and it was working. But not without MASSIVE ACTION. (Did you catch that last line. Go back and read it again. Slowly.)
During the last leg of hitting the final 200 balls, I began to fine tune the more intricate details of bunker play. Things like "feeling" the back swing and "visualizing" what type of swing is needed to propel the ball into the air at the right distance. Other things like hitting out of a thin bunker lie (a bunker shot has very little sand at the base of the ball) or a fluffy lie (- bunker shot that has far too much sand all around it making the shot very unpredictable upon its exit.)
So here's what happened. After crawling out that practice bunker, 500 balls later I was exhausted - spent. I was also happy, fulfilled and excited about "tomorrow on the course".
My time would come that I would master bunker play in the heat of competitive rounds, but it would have to be delayed. Because you see, while in my "trance-like" practice, I created blisters and
both hands were bleeding and beginning to swell.
LESSON: Sometimes you have to push yourself to the brink before you can truly realize your potential.
LESSON: Far better it is to spend time in recuperation knowing that it was time well spent in the attainment of better skills.
So here's our lessons to reflect on.
LESSON #1: Are you mature enough to accept the fact that there are AREAS that you LACK SKILL?
LESSON #2: Sometimes you have to push yourself to the brink before you can truly realize your potential.
LESSON #3: Far better it is to spend time in recuperation knowing that it was time well spent in the attainment of better skills.
Develop the Ability to recognize that you lack a certain Skill(s)
▪ Embrace your issues of Denial
▪ If YOU have a problem, then it is YOUR Problem to FIX!
▪ Embrace Small incremental improvements.
▪ Face your Fear then conquer it with Massive Action
▪ Sometimes you have to push yourself to the brink before you can realize your true potential
▪ Far better it is to spend time in recuperation, knowing that it was time well spent in the pursuit of better skills or a worthy goal.
Use this article in an "alone" session. And yes, you should have a
meditative"alone" session at least once a week. No kids, no spouse, no distractions, no phones, no co-worker, usually inspired by or in nature.
Find your quiet place and set an appointment to re-find that place at regular intervals. The process will invigorate you in ways beyond your imagination.
Try it and drop me a line about your experience at:
About The Author
Marvin LeBlanc LUTCF, CNP, is a performance strategist and author of the number one Amazon Kindle best-selling book, Come Hell or High Water: Life Lessons from Hurricane Katrina. Marvin not only brings wisdom and insight gained from his three decades in the insurance and finance industries, but he also empowers others through his unique sharing of lessons and techniques from years of corporate and leadership training and motivational programs. A vibrant entrepreneur who makes the stage his own–and yours, Marvin’s humor-filled stories bring inspiration, heart-warming truths and tangible, strategic takeaways you can bring back to your organization.