Back when I was in college, I played golf with my dad's work league. Each summer we played a few partner events. During one event I played with a guy that I'll call Dan (cause that's his name).
The format of this tournament was 6-6-6, which meant that the first 6 holes were alternate shot, the next 6 were best ball, and the next 6 were scramble.
Dan was one of the worst players in the league, but he was a blast to be around. He'd crack jokes and not take it too seriously. And if his ball ever got up in the air, then it was a pretty good shot. But this time was different because he was talking smack to the other guys in the league saying that he was going to win.
We made bogey on our first hole of alternate shot. Not too bad considering the format and the skill level. On the second hole, I hit the drive, he topped the second shot, and then I stuck one about 2 feet away for par.
Dan walked up to the green, laughed, and said, "I hope I don't miss this one. Ha."
Now he was something that rhymes with missed.
Even though he rarely showed it, his blood was boiling from missing a 2 foot putt, so he stormed to his cart, and drove to the 3rd tee.
As he reached the tee box, he quickly jumped out of the cart, grabbed his driver, teed up his ball and started his swing.
Before we could say, "No, wait," he absolutely smashed the ball.
Of all the years I had played with him, I had never seen a better drive come off his club. It was a beauty. He stood there with a big smile on his face.
We stood there with our jaws on the ground.
Because Dan had just ripped a straight, high shot 200 yards... dead down the wrong fairway in the opposite direction.
We didn't know what to say. It was so pretty. It was so perfect. And it was nowhere near the hole.
And now the 180 yard par 3 turned into a 380 yard monster.
Dan was way more "rhymes with missed" now.
I walked over to the ball and checked out what I had.
I had just over 380 yards to a tight pin location with wetlands all around.
I had two options.
Option 1 - I could try to blast a shot as far as I've ever hit a fairway wood, and land it in a 20 yard by 20 yard grass patch, so he'd have a decent shot at the green. If I miss in any direction or don't catch it flush, I'm in the water. Or.....
Option 2 - I could lay up by hitting the same 200 yard shot back to where we started, so my partner, Mr. Wrong Way (yeah, that nickname stuck in about 10 seconds), could attempt to hit the next shot...which was all over water.
I put my trust in Dan and laid up.
Now 2 shots later, he was in the same position he started the hole. He had a fairway wood in hand. 180 yards. No tee. All over water. In his mind, this was nearly impossible. Not only did he lack confidence in his golf game, but I'm not sure if he ever hit a ball that far in the air without a tee.
He looked at me, laughed and swung.
And hit it perfectly.
For the second time from the same spot, the ball flew high and straight. Only this time it traveled in the right direction. It landed a foot from the pin and trickled on to the fringe.
The shot from his club was awesome.
The smile from his face was better.
Because he just realized he could do something he thought he had no chance of doing.
And he had the right direction.
I bumped the chip next to the hole. He made a one-footer. And we escaped with a 5.
An awesome 5.
So what's the point here?
Life mimics golf.
There's frustration and redemption. There's happiness and anger. There's self-limiting beliefs that prevent us from being great. There's freedom breaking through those beliefs.
And there's times where we (literally) need to be pointed in the right direction.
My hope for you is that these stories I share point you in the right direction.
I hope they serve as motivation and inspiration to improve upon something in your life. And smash your self-limiting beliefs.
I hope they help you understand that you have choices. If you want something different, then it's time to start creating something different.
I hope you're able to clear your clouds, find your freedom, and realize that you're closer than you think.
Happiness is out there.
Which direction will you go?