I am a golfer who has competed her whole life in the sport. Last year I quit competitive golf for good. Now a senior, I just didn’t see any ROI for my efforts in the game. After qualifying as 1st Alternate to the Senior Women’s US Open, I drove 13 hours to Connecticut to be on site just in case the door opened to play. I did all the preparations, played the practice rounds, etc. all the way up to the last moment. Then I didn’t get in. My housing folks then booted me out of the house unexpectedly because they made other plans after they made their commitment to me. It was the worst experience I’ve ever had in fully investing myself in a competition. There was not one positive memory I took from the experience. I was also tired of working on swing changes that seemed impossible to fix. So I announced, “I’m done! Screw this sh#$#!”
I was content with my decision…for a while. Then I felt totally lost. A part of my identity was gone and nothing was filling it in. I gave myself time to seek other ways to fill the emptiness but nothing worked. My falling into a deep depression was an understatement.
A few months ago, I decided to take one more step in serving a client than his program entailed. I traveled to a tournament to watch him play largely at my expense. After contacting a friend in the area, she invited me to come stay with her. Telling her my story, she replied, “My husband is a fine teacher with a great eye. I’m sure he’d be happy to give you a lesson.” “Whatever,” I thought. I decided to take one more step and receive the offer although totally unmotivated.
After the pro studied my swing, he said, “Are you willing to make a long-term commitment to fixing this part of your swing?” “Heck no!” I replied. “I’ve been doing that for years. If it’s going to happen, it’s gotta be now! Besides, I got the Holy Ghost in me!” He looked at me, not knowing what to say. Then we both dove and got to work. What ensued was some incredible communication with one another. “I have to do this through motion, not mechanics. I need a thought that my brain to latch onto…” Back and forth we went. After about ten minutes, I began to see a new result. I began to hit the ball better than ever!
The next day I took one more try and asked for the second step of the lesson before I left town. More progress. By the time I left, I was hitting the ball the best of my life! The pro refused to let me pay him and said it was an honor to help me. I was in tears. “Any time you want to come back and play, stay with us, and get help, you are welcomed to, Veronica,” he graciously offered. I left in tears. He more than helped me. He and and my friend loved me.
I have to do something with this! I set one more goal and entered the Senior Women’s US Open Qualifier again. “Here we go again!” I said. Immediately after my decision, I attend Ed Mylett’s live one day conference in Raleigh. It was financially challenging to make the investment, but I decided to make one more investment in myself and went. I’m so glad I did! The power of his one more message through all the speakers got drilled deep into my being at a cellular level, augmenting the “forward press” I was already embarking upon. It wasn’t so much the words they spoke, but the energetic force of their one-themed message. It was like a quantum shift took place on the inside of me—an elevated operating system.
I was hoping my swing changes would stick, but golf is a harsh taskmaster. Soon after, my swing changes began to fade. I got discouraged again. Feeling the isolation and loneliness of training and practicing all by myself, I wondered again why I was doing this. Just about to quit again, I called my friend, Susan, who is my prayer partner.
While I prayer, Susan said, the Holy Spirit told me to tell you to let everything else go and just focus on your game. Something broke off of me. I felt my anxiety vanish. “I am going to focus on this one thing for one month.” That’s it. One more focus. One more level of trust. I didn’t know how God was going to provide for me during this time, but I decided I’d go to one more level of faith without any outside distractions.
Shortly thereafter, I received two referrals from past clients that turned into two sales to cover me during this time and after. I sold a piece of furniture that was my mother’s. After more than a year of trying to sell it, a lady reached out to me right at the right moment. “That’s my Mom, wanting to be a part of my journey from above. Thanks Mom!”
I made it my aim to work on my swing and game every day. Not by striving, but abiding in my commitment and faith in God. Sometimes God speaks to me in signs. I walked into a Dollar Tree store one day and this sign popped right out at me which read, “OPEN.” I bought it and added the words on it, “I’m in the…OPEN!”
My friend, Michael McGowan, who is working towards playing on the Korn Ferry Tour, played a match with me. He gave me enough strokes where we could play even. It was a great match with my favorite friend in golf. Playing with such a high level player brought out the player in me.
I knew I had to ask for help to be prepared, so I called my friend and asked for playing and practice privileges through my quest. She granted my request. I get to practice and play on the recent Women’s US Open course.
Here’s where the rubber meets the road. The pain of isolation and loneliness gets the best of me at times. I was at the threshold of quitting again and went to the Lord in prayer. The thought came to me, “If you quit doing what you are doing, you will lose your confidence.”
Currently I am writing a book called The Surrendered Athlete: How Faith and Identity Fuel Performance. After re-reading a part of my book, I came across this Scripture:
“Do not, therefore, fling away your [fearless] confidence, for it has a glorious and great reward. For you have need of patient endurance [to bear up under difficult circumstances without compromising], so that when you have carried out the will of God, you may receive and enjoy to the full what is promised.
I was convicted that if I quit, I lose my reward. Moreover, I have to keep doing what I am doing to keep my confidence, the most important ingredient in performing. Regardless of what I am feeling or not feeling, I will continue to press forward.
The other day on the course I had a breakthrough in my mindset. After continuing to work on my swing, I realized that I am hitting some great shots along with some horrible shots. But I am “in my new.” It is going to take some time. The breakthrough was in totally accepting both the good and the bad shots—as just shots. I hit the shot. No matter where it lands, good or bad, I have no emotional reaction. I am so dead to golf informing any of my identity, that a shot is just a shot. That’s victory! I go hit it again. The other day I even shanked a shot—something I have not done in years. I just walked over to the next shot and hit a great pitch shot from a difficult lie.
At just about the time I was feeling my worst in being alone, my friend Meredith came to town with her family. Her son, Jonathan, was playing in the North-South Amateur. A college standout at Liberty University, Jonathan, is the epitome of a surrendered athlete. I was able to spend several days with them. For the first time in years, I felt part of a family unit. It was such a blessing. Meredith, a great woman of faith, prayer over me. She took authority over a spirit of isolation and broke it off of me. I felt a change come over me as a result of her prayer.
While out on the course watching Jonathan play his final round to make it into the match play part of the tournament, the rains came. He hit his shot in a sand bunker with a very difficult lie. He had to wait about an hour before he could hit his shot again. Sitting in the cart, I began to chat with him. I could tell he was fighting a bit of anxiety/nervousness. He immediately began quoting scripture. I then shared with him Hebrews 10:35,36 which I had been meditating on. “Don’t fling away your confidence, Jonathan. Hold fast to your confidence! Don’t let up, especially in this moment. Keep to your calm concentration!”
He hit a great shot! However, he missed the cut by one. The family wanted to play a round of golf together the following morning. I wanted so badly to join them, but had a coaching appointment to honor. When I got home that night, my client had emailed me and asked to move the appointment! I was free to join them. We had a great match the next day. Playing with another high level player, Jonathan pulled the player out of me.
When you are preparing for a tournament, there comes a time when you have to move from golf swing mode to play mode, from focusing on mechanics to focusing on target, from left-brain to right-brain thinking, which is where golf is played from. Not knowing it, Jonathan helped me to do just that. In my mind, God had a purpose in Jonathan’s not making the cut: to help me with my championship preparation!
My mindset is getting renewed into the path of success: when I want to quit, I have to think, “What ONE MORE THING do I need to do to press forward?” In my case, I need to schedule two more lessons with my coach. Each 1 hour lesson requires 6 hours of travel in one day. I do it. I hired a fitness coach twice a week to help me with my strength training. I jump in a pool once a day to do laps. Although I’m not a swimmer, being the pool helps me to quickly recover my energy. I have had to flick away some distracting and disempowering relationships. I’m digging deeper into prayer. My qualifier is 10 days away at this writing.
I’ve schedule two more practice matches with competitive friends. My housing and caddy are set. This is going to be a big week of preparation. Regardless of what happens, I’m good. I like the feeling of being strong and of being an athlete. In a sense, I am already rewarded. I’ve gotten in touch with my true identity as an athlete. I’ve recaptured what I have lost—and I’ve done it without drugs or counseling—by the force of my own action, self-awareness, and prayer.
While forging through my storage unit the other day, I came across a booklet I made when I was seven years old for my catechism teacher. I don’t remember ever seeing it. At the end of the book was a report card. The teacher congratulated me for “outstanding work.” There were many A+ grades on it. I broke out crying. There is nobody to congratulate me for the work I am doing. It is done alone. I felt like those words came straight from above. I took finding the teacher’s words on my report card from my heavenly Father Himself, saying to me, “I’m proud of you for all the outstanding work you are doing.” I cried again!
I was only going to write one page of my journey, but the words kept spilling out of me. I write these words to encourage you there is power in doing one more. The message is a powerful one. It’s about a comeback, resilience, the power of your own action, and the self-confidence that comes or comes back when you engage in your life again.
Blessings and I’ll keep you posted!!
P.S. If you haven’t picked up a copy of Ed Mylett’s new book, The Power of One More, I encourage you to do so today!