Category Archives: Champion Mindsets

Swinging Unto Thee: Playing Competitive Golf from a Spirit of Worship

me and tee

As I sit here and write this update, I am caught up in the presence of God.  There is nothing like worship, right in the middle of the day, to bring life, empowerment, and a fully engaged preparation to playing your best game, on or off the course—right here, right now.

I am in the midst of preparing for the Florida Senior Women’s Open Championship, which is taking place this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Reunion Resort in Kissimmee, Florida.

I am convinced it was the spontaneous worship I entered into the last day of the Tennessee Senior Women’s Open that equipped me to win the championship by a resounding 13 shots.  In sports performance there is a term called “Ideal Performance State,” that is, I.P.S.  It is an emotional-mental state an athlete creates for herself that enables her to play at peak performance.

You can create it intentionally if you know how.  It is a totally positive mental state where “calm concentration” marks your reality. You are free from opposing thoughts, fear, and the need to control outcomes.  You are totally emotionally present to the shot. The mind is clear.  You see the shot and hit it.  I did that ALL DAY LONG last week and I am convinced it was the power of worship that enabled me to go into this realm as a result of losing myself in the presence of God.  In fact, I was so caught up in worship, I almost forgot I had a tournament going on!  I had to tell myself that morning, “Girl, you better get to the golf course or you’re going to be late for your tee time!”

I am fascinated by the exploration of worship as it relates to competition, winning, and performance.  Many years ago, I had a conversation with Bob Rotella, one of the fathers of sports psychology. He brought to light the mind-body connection in sports.  In our conversation, I brought to light that we are not only two part beings—mind and body, but three part beings:  spirit, mind, and body.  He dismissed my thought as irrelevant.  However, I knew it to be true.  If spirit is a dimension to who we are, then to fully perform, we must necessarily engage the FULLNESS of who we are, all three dimensions.  I just didn’t know how at the time.  I do now.

What I do know is that when we worship, our spirit-man envelopes our soulish man.  Our mind, will and emotions become absorbed by the realm of the Spirit.  My spirit, little ‘s’, becomes swallowed up in the big “S”, the realm of the Holy Spirit.  I know this to be true because there wasn’t even one negative thought to contend with as I took my focus off of myself and onto the Lord.  My mind was clear. My emotions were calm.  My spirit was free and at peace.  What was most remarkable was the duration of my I.P.S.  It lasted the entire round, through all day rain.

As I reflect on that experience, I realize that what we have not apprehended is how to take worship out of the church and into the realm of work, performance, and achievement as MODUS OPERENDI.

I like the words of Phil Driscoll, master worshipper and trumpeter, whose thoughts I quote randomly:

“All worship is in the honor of God.  Worship causes the presence of God to fill the atmosphere anywhere it’s done. I don’t care if it’s in the ball field or in the streets.  Wherever worship fills the atmosphere, God comes.  As the sound goes, so goes the presence of God.  As I give to God, God releases into me.  There is a sound that cannot be rehearsed. There is a frequency in heaven that is coming to earth –new sounds—coupled with men and women who lift up their hearts. Sound was never intended by God to be absent in spirit. Wherever the presence of God is, miracles, signs and wonders happen.”

What he is saying is “when we worship God wherever—in the boardroom, the classroom, the living room, or in the fairway–God shows up in the atmosphere and transforms it!”  He creates an Ideal Performance State for us as we worship Him!  Halleluiah!

It was important for me to express these thoughts because I am asking for your prayers to GO DEEPER into this realm of “swinging unto thee” this week as I enter the final competition of my little tour for now.  I want to experience this realm again and again and again!

Please pray for me to:

1. Continue to dive into my Spirit-inspired curiosity about integrating winning and worship.          2. Put my body, mind, and spirit in a position to win.  Yes, I do want to win again!                        3.Learn the golf courses well. There are two of them. Both resort-ish and totally uninspiring.  4.The one course looks like it has a bad case of the mumps.  Stupid undulations all over the    place. I think someone from Disney World must had designed these courses. Wed. is another    practice round on the Palmer course.                                                                                                          5Really enjoy myself!                                                                                                                              6.Be a bright light to others.

Application:  Join me in my curiosity.  Take some time out –even if it is in the middle of the day –and worship God for 15 minutes.  Observe the result.  Let me know what happened!

Worship and Winning

July 30, 2017

My reflections on creating an Ideal Performance State through worship from my recent tournament victory. I hope this encourages you and informs you.

trophy tn

If you have not heard by now, I won the Tennessee Senior Women’s Open by a resounding 13 shots!  I played brilliantly, if I don’t mind saying so, shooting an even par 72 in very rainy conditions all day long.

Today I visited a new friend’s church in Raleigh whom I met while at The Messenger Cup in Colorado Springs two weeks ago, Pastor Lynton Turkington. He honored me in front of the entire church, telling of how we met and how I was an answer to his prayer for help with his chipping that day!  He had me stand up and lift my trophy before the entire congregation who cheered me on and shared in my victory!  That was so great—to bring my victory into the Body of Christ and make it theirs as well as mine!

It was marvelous to experience the fruit of worship in competition. Here is what I discovered:

  1. Friday morning I spent an extensive time in worship, singing the anointed song, “I’m no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God.”  Somehow those words got deep into my spirit.  I decided to play as a CHILD OF GOD = NO FEAR.  The day before I was a bit tentative in my “in-between” shots. I decided to play FULL OUT = NO FEAR.

We worship God when we play out of our true IDENTITY in Christ.

  1. Something happened to solidify my Ideal Performance State by doing so.  I so nurtured my spirit that I almost forgot I had a tournament that day!  In a worldly system, you can only combat fear mentally with another thought or mental trigger.  When you go deeper and FEED YOUR SPIRIT, that deeper feeding NATURALLY soaks up the negativity. I HAD NO NEGATIVE THOUGHTS the entire day.  NONE.  While I was in my zone, I forgot what hole I was on and only vaguely knew my score.
  2. My mind was SO CLEAR, and what I do remember is a STRONG AVERSION TO NEGATIVITY and CLARITY ABOUT NOT SETTING UP ANY RESISTANCE in my mind.  For instance, after 9 holes, I was only 2 up on my playing partner.  I was feeling the heat of competition.  On the back nine, she started complaining about “how miserable the weather was and how she had had enough of it.”  She was setting up a resistance in her mind and that began her downfall.  My lead widened.  I refused to set up any resistance.  I welcomed the rain, accepted it, dealt with it, was patient with it, and just made it part of my game. I used the weather conditions to my advantage—and remember someone praying that I would do just that.
  3. I relished the competition.  Although I was not afraid, I could tell I was a bit nervous as my rangefinder was a bit shaky as I worked on determining my yardage.  I was not aware of this until tried to steady the thing on the flag.  I was okay with that.
  4. I knew from the day before when I felt TOTAL VICTORY in my SPIRIT that I was going to win.  There was NO waver in my knowing.  I knew there had to be an outward expression of my state of total victory.
  5. My playing partners were not contratulatory.  I noticed it, but it did not affect me.
  6. I REALLY ENJOYED THE EXPERIENCE OF WINNING.  IT WAS SO MUCH FUN.
  7. The joy of receiving the trophy lasted about 2 seconds.  What was so much fun and what GAVE ME JOY was all the hundreds of well-wishes on Facebook.  I had this on-line GALLERY cheering me on—from people from way back in my past to my present from people I knew well to people I don’t know at all. That was so much fun!  So many people said to me, “Your victory was my victory. I experienced it, too.”  When you worship, you play WITH AN OPEN HEART.  Golf is so independent and INWARD.  I broke the realm open to including anyone who wanted to be a part of my championship.  A shared victory in the spirit.
  8. Worship means I compete from a still spirit.
  9. I had more stamina than others my age who played because of the secret nutrition I use to give me energy all the way around as well as my recovery practices.  I played from a place of rest.
  10. The greatest joy was receiving testimonies from others of how my “competing by faith” inspired their lives.  My mission in life is transformation and it was so beautiful to see how my golf is helping other people grow closer to God!  Praise the Lord!

I would love to hear from you!

Veronica

 

 

 

Insights on the Spiritual Side of Performance: Worship and Competition

July 28

small trophy

Here are my notes to my Caddy Club support group that I thought would encourage you. They were written after my first round of the tournament in which I won by 13 shots!  I believe the power of worship in competition set up an Ideal Performance State for that result to happen. I hope this informs and encourages you:

Most of you know, but some don’t:  I am leading the Tennessee Women’s Senior Open by 3 shots!

I am into this tournament with a desire to win and a deep curiosity about how to worship God more deeply on the golf course and in competition.

I knew I was in a better place to score because I was coming off of competition last week and my MIND was already in the game.  I was determined to be more consistent in my shot-making and made that a non-negotiable in my MIND AND HEART.  I already knew the course, so I didn’t feel like I was in any place of striving. I wanted to ABIDE.

A few weeks ago in church, a visiting preacher prayed over me.  In his prayer he affirmed the reality of golf for me: “God, golf is no longer the prize for Veronica, but a platform.”  His words were so true.  I am so freed from the need for golf to validate anything for me that I can now be free to express that VICTORY OF FREEDOM through my game.  I no longer have an EGO attachment to my performance. I have released all outcomes to God, but that only frees me to do better!

Yesterday after my round which included 4 birdies amongst the bogies, I debriefed on what I learned about competition and worship:

  1. When you worship God, you forbid all negativity.  The amateur I played with showed up at the first tee stating, “I don’t know what you did to deserve to play with me.  I am in so over my head.” She was declaring her inadequacy and I was not going to allow that to come into my space.  “Don’t think that way!”  I stated.  It’s going to be a great day for us!”  (I had to affirm this was a no negativity zone, and change the atmosphere.)
  2. When you worship God, you claim your authority.  This never happened before, but she put a fan on the cart.  (What??)  The noise was so distracting and I thought, “This is a tournament. What is this?)  Normally I would just be nice and allow the thing to bug me, but not this time, “I’m sorry, but that noise is very distracting. Can you turn that off?”  I realized I was taking ownership of my space and not bowing to someone else’s infringement on my ideal performance state.
  3. When you worship God, you keep an open heart.  I was so free to converse with her, and even after the round, minister to her, as she shot a really high score.  “Listen, a champion defines success from the start.  Sometimes winning is just entering.  You did something that was far outside your comfort zone.  You showed up to play in a higher level tournament than you have ever done.  WELL DONE!  You ENTERED!”  She looked at me like I was from another planet.  That kind of mentality never entered her mind before, and she thanked me.
  4. When you worship God, you keep your composure of peace and stillness of heart.  For the first time in my life, I was reprimanded for playing TOO FAST!  The greenskeeper came over to us and said since we were the first ones out, we were encroaching upon the guys who were mowing the lawns on the holes ahead of us. We had to SLOW DOWN.  It disrupted my pace and momentum, causing me to have a few higher scores on those holes, but then I told myself, “just keep your STEADY COMPOSURE and CALM CONCENTRATION” which is what worship produces.
  5. When you worship God, you can be fearless in your shots.  This morning I began my day with worship. I was meditating on Brent Taylor’s song, “I’m no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God.”  Because of my IDENTITY IN CHRIST, I am set free from ALL FEAR.  That truth sunk deeper into my spirit.  There were some shots yesterday, particularly the ones were I was in-between clubs, that I sensed I was a bit tentative.  NOT TODAY.  Today I will play full out.  NO FEAR….because…I  AM A CHILD OF GOD!
  6. When you worship God, winning is FUN.  I had so MUCH FUN being at the top.  It was a NEW EXPERIENCE for me in this season—I’ve worked so hard and it’s nice to begin to see a RESULT OF MY FAITH and PREPARATION.
  7. When you worship God, you bring PRAYER into your atmosphere.  During my practice round, I was praying for people and people were calling for prayer.  Something punctured in the atmosphere on the golf course.  I can’t describe it, but I went into another realm of freedom and experience of His presence.
  8. When you worship God, you give Him space to display His power and presence in you and guess what?  GOD ONLY PLAYS TO WIN.  It’s in His blood, so it is in MY BLOOD.                 1 Cor. 9:24-26.
  9. When you worship God, you are free to FULLY EXPRESS yourself, and leave the OUTCOME to Him.  Yesterday I had such a wonderful time after my round NOT PRACTICING too much, just working on my short chip shots around the green, hitting shots out of that wiring grass—and then heading to the fitness center to SWIM and hit the Jacuzzi.   It was so wonderful to feel the ATHLETE in me BE HAPPY she was COMING OUT—and COMING OUT STRONG!!
  10. When you worship God, you are not afraid to include others.  It was so much FUN to share on facebook and receive hundreds of well wishes from folks.  It was like an on-line gallery. People love to connect to victory, so let’s create MORE OF IT!
  11. When you worship God, your mind thinks clearly.  I made a lot of great decisions out there because I was in a place of peace and calm. I could see clearly.
  12. When you worship God, you invite community to be a part of it. I could feel the prayers of people because I asked for them and invited others into my championship.
  13. When you worship God, He finds pleasure in your ALL OUT PURSUIT and ALL OUT EXPRESSION of WHO YOU ARE!  I am releasing all of me this week—athlete, competitor, writer, friend, minister, motivator, businesswoman (she’s still emerging!), coach and DAUGHTER OF GOD.

TODAY I AM GOING TO PLAY AS A DAUGHTER OF GOD, as UNTO MY FATHER WHO LOVES GOLF AND ME.  Please pray for ALL my drives to land in the fairway.  A connected-swing. Please pray for clarity of thinking, great decision-making, and for the putts to drop!!  A strong start—and finish!

My tee time is 1:14 pm Central Time

Thank you!!

Veronica

 

AGGRESSIVE TRUST

golf at sugar mill

In just 18 days, I will be playing in the Women’s U.S. Open Qualifying tournament. It will be a daunting task as I will have to play 36 holes in one day in grueling heat. Today I played in a practice round at Sugar Mill Country Club where the tournament is taking place. It was a beautiful course, well-manicured and decorated with beautiful flowers.

I always love playing a course that is inspiring.  It is worth the investment of time, talent, and resources just to have a world class experience on a world class golf course. The real highlight of my high challenge, however, is not the dream of playing in the world’s most prestigious golf tournament.  For me it would be the second time around to do so. Rather, it is the pursuit of calling yourself up higher.  Today I realized that on this test of golf, I would have to call up my highest self —the champion within— to score big on this course.

Although the yardage for the tournament is marked around 6,500 yards, the course played much longer, about 6,800 yards.  A ridiculous length for women!  There was something about the challenge today, however, that was remarkable.  I kept asking myself, “How do I need to play this course in such a way as to win the prize? Not just to play and have fun as a senior player and most likely the oldest one in the crowd, but to really prepare to win and give myself the best chance?”

As I teed it up hole after hole, the answer came to me.  “I am going to play FULL OUT every shot for 36 holes.  This is going to require AN AGGRESSIVE TRUST IN MY SWING.”  “Aggressive trust,” I said to myself.  “I have never said those words before.”   What is an aggressive trust?

Webster’s Dictionary defines aggressive as “marked by a driving force of energy or initiative.”  “Trust” is defined as “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something. One in which confidence is placed.”  In other words, I would have to play each shot with a strong force of energy with an assured reliance in the integrity of my swing.  Get that?  MY swing.

My swing has been the focus of so much lack of confidence, breakdown, insecurity, and lack of trust. Do you know how long I have made a concerted effort to find the power in my swing where I could have a consistent, repetitive swing?  Most of my golf life.  Uhh…that’s over 40 years.  More recently, a concerted diligent effort to end my golf swing misery—a dedicated effort of over 5 years to banish my swing faults.

About a year ago, I found a really great teacher who helped a lot. I saw a lot of promise in my swing. The problem is, I am currently in Florida and he is in North Carolina. With just a few weeks to my big competition, I had to find a swing-thought that worked for myself.  Did you hear that? I had to work it out on my own. I had to OWN my swing in order to find the solution.

I did. As I grew in my new-found confidence in my swing move, I am still honing it out. However, today, I had to let go of “playing it safe,” trust the work I have done on my swing, and just RIP IT.  I had to.  I had to TRUST MYSELF IN AN AGGRESSIVE WAY.  You know what?  It worked. It was a non-conscious move to consciously trust my game.  It was the ONLY way I knew I was going to have a chance. Each shot would need to be an all-out shot.

As I left the course, thinking about the STATE OF PLAY that my championship chances would require of me, I thought about the Body of Christ.  Yep. I thought about where God is wanting to take His people, how it is a SEASON OF ENTERING into the fullness of your calling. I thought about how there is only one way to fully enter something—all out—with an AGGRESSIVE TRUST.

A wonderful friend called me tonight asking for my feedback on an executive situation in her business. One of her top companies which produces the most income for her is not meeting her standards of integrity.  She asked me what she should do.  I asked her to consider not seeing the situation as a threat which only evokes negative emotions of fear, anxiety, and worry, which she admitted to having.  Rather, I challenged her to see the situation as a challenge which evokes positive emotions. “What would happen if you went into that conversation you are going to have with your client FROM a place of AGGRESSIVE TRUST in yourself? What if you decide to approach that conflict from the deepest place of your own integrity—not to run, but to call them up higher.  What if you didn’t move off of who you are but through being who you are, address the situation and then let the chips fall where they may? It all starts with how you see yourself.  Do you aggressively trust yourself?”  She got the point, was inspired, and left the call determined to swing into her meeting with an AGGRESSIVE TRUST in herself.

If we are going to fully enter into our calling in this season, we must call ourselves up higher, not to just trust in God.  In this season, God is calling us to aggressively trust in ourselves, take the swing full force, and leave the outcome to Him.  You see, everyone has a championship.  God wants YOU TO PLAY IN SUCH A WAY AS TO WIN yours.

The chances of my qualifying are slim in the natural.  I have learned to play FROM victory, however.  In my upcoming championship test, I have already won despite whatever score I shoot. I have tapped into my full out pursuit and potential.

Try it.  Go through your day today from a place of AGGRESSIVE TRUST in yourself. It’s time for you to play to win—and win!

On the Road to Championship: This Little Light of Mine…I’m Goina’ Let It Shine

May 16, 2017

small trophy

In just twenty-four days I will be playing in a Qualifying tournament for the Women’s U.S. Open.  Most likely, I will be the oldest one in the field, and the player with the least amount of play time to prepare.  However, the Holy Spirit led me to enter, so I am connected to a secret power from on high!  He is my confidence.  At the same time, I MUST prepare to the extent I am able, as I have entered a quest to play in a national championship.  “What is the best way for me to train and be ready with the limited amount of time I have?”  I ask myself this question on a daily basis.

When you are entering a championship, you cannot think incrementally. You have to think, “How can I best run my race to WIN?”  That doesn’t necessarily mean score, but process.  In other words, “How can I fully engage my heart in the process of preparing for the championship—and leave the results to God for the outcome?”  It’s about the training, calling myself up higher, and becoming something and someone I would not have reached had I not entered the championship.

I know that it will be a grueling day of 36 holes of golf from the longest tees on the course.  The heat will be high here in Florida.  One of the ways I can prepare is to put myself in the atmosphere of high heat now.  I decided going to hot yoga classes would be a great way to work on my endurance, make heat my friend, maximize my time, and get some great work in on flexibility, endurance, stamina, strength, balance, and an increased range of motion. There is nothing better.

I found a place only five minutes from where I am staying here in Florida.  To my pleasant surprise, the instructor is not only a master teacher, but nurse.  That means that she is grounded in the knowledge of physiology as well as movement. We struck up an instant friendship as I told her my aim.  I also told her my move in my swing that needed fixed.

She surprised me in the last class when she said, “Veronica, we’ve been thinking about you.  Here’s where I think your problem is with your swing from a muscular standpoint.  Your deltoids and upper back on your right side is weak and needs opened up.  Please know we see you, now know you, and will help you.”  Wow!  After putting us through a grueling but doable exercise routine, I felt my entire frame re-adjusted.  I even felt different walking down the fairway yesterday with my shoulders more opened, facing upwards and backwards, as opposed to forward—and strong.  I felt like a champion walking down the fairway!  She truly did let her light shine towards me with all her personal attention and knowledge. I was so appreciative of her expertise, as her approach was not weird and spooky, but practically grounded in the wisdom of sound physiology and movement.

I wondered when I would get a chance to shine my light in return.  It came this morning as I told her about the results of her training in my body and swing.  We spoke about the importance of alignment. I told her that is my approach in my performance and life coaching practice.  “I have a specific process that puts people into alignment spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically.  It doesn’t matter their goal is.  The process of whole person alignment always leads to breakthrough.  The system puts people into transformation naturally—and most often in an accelerated fashion with extraordinary results.”

“Now you got the Budda thing going on,” she said.  I knew she was referring to the process of transforming lives. However, now I needed to let my light shine. “Well, actually it’s not Budda.  It’s Jesus Christ.”  “It’s all the same thing,” she replied.  “Jesus is not Budda.  Budda didn’t die on a cross for my sins.”  “It’s all energy,” she responded.  “I believe that ultimate reality is not an energy force or a philosophy.  It’s a person—the person of Jesus Christ.  He is the way, the truth, and the life.”  She continued from her vantage point:  “I can see the light in your eyes. There are a lot of people here with that light.”  “That light is the light of Jesus Christ,” I said, looking at her with love in my eyes.

At that point, she had to attend to another student.  I walked out of the studio glad to have released my voice of spiritual leadership, having engaged my culture.   I believe true Christianity is not just a matter of praying your prayers and having intimacy with God.  It is a matter of both intimacy and letting my light shine as I intentionally and openly engage with the culture.  I know there are a lot of believers who would separate themselves from what they would consider to be darkness.  Light is light.  I never allow the system of the world to influence me negatively.  I am committed to influencing my culture. Why?  Because of WHO I AM.  I am the light of the world!  That is WHO Jesus calls us to be.  I do not shine my light out of duty or responsibility.  I share it out of IDENTITY.

When you know who you are, you are FREE to speak, to change any atmosphere you are in, because you OWN the spiritual atmosphere if you are a believer and have the Holy Spirit in you.

The Son of Man came eating and drinking with others, and they say, ‘Behold, a                    glutton and a wine drinker, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’  Yet wisdom is                    justified by what she does (her deeds) and by her children.”  (Matthew 11:19)

Don’t isolate yourself from darkness in the culture. Penetrate it with your light.  Know who you are. The Kingdom of God is within you.  You take it everywhere you go, from the first tee to the exercise mat to the boardroom to the grocery store.

“This little light of mine…I’m goina’ let it shine…”  I am hopeful, should God anoint me on that day, I will let it shine all the way to the U.S. Open.

If not, I am now strong, free, and ready to slay some giants because of an intentional pursuit to call myself up higher.

Join me.  The air is rare up here.

 

Stop Shooting 125!

teaching

Recently I took on a new young golfer who wanted to uplevel his play on the high school golf team.  He came to me shooting 122.  After the first lesson, he shot 115, and then a sparkling 47 on 9 holes.  His next match was back up to 125.  Something was wrong.  He was making great progress in his lessons, improving his swing and short game. There was no reason to score high again.  The answer was clearly not in the physical realm. It had to be psychological.  He was shooting 125 because he had no internal limits to shoot less.  In other words, he was not “owning his own game” enough to tell himself, “these kinds of scores are no longer acceptable.”  He was not setting internal limits on his performance and demanding a better game of himself–and doing the work to achieve it.

As I was driving home thinking about a champion’s mentality—the resolve to own your own game and call yourself up higher,” I heard an internal voice say to me, “That applies to you, too, Veronica. There are areas of your life where you are shooting 125–putting you in default mode, causing you to just survive because you are not setting limits on a low performance life–and not calling yourself up higher.  It’s time to own your life, make the changes, and and resolve that certain things are “just not acceptable anymore.”  This realization hit me in the gut hard.  Yep, you and I are responsible for our own scoring, which means the results we are getting are not a result of shots that just happened to go bad, but thinking which produced the shots in the first place.

Hit with this conviction, I am taking out 3 days to get away, to fast and pray, to make some clear decisions about saying goodbye to a 125 life FOREVER.  Now if my student only had the ability to shoot 125, that is a different story, but he clearly had the ability to score lower–that’s why staying stuck in a comfort zone is not acceptable.  Staying in the comfort zone of a 125 life is not acceptable because you and I CAN do better.  Equipped with a resolve and some reflection on better thinking, a higher expectation, and the belief that we can do better, we will. It begins with answering the question, “What am I no longer willing to tolerate?”

It’s a powerful question that is the first step to lower scores and higher living.  When we set limits internally, we start owning our own game which will result in getting our shots in the fairway and out of the rough!   our shots in the fairway and out of the rough!

Leveling the Playing Field

small trophy

I have always been fascinated by the spiritual side of performance.  While most people think that a competition is simply on a mental-physical plane, we are in reality four-part beings.  This past week I had the chance to experience the emotional-spiritual side of a championship. In this case, it was in the internal completion of a championship that happened almost 40 years ago.  I had no idea there was still something to be completed until I returned to my hometown where I lost my first major championship to the 7th ranked amateur in the United States, and some say it was done in an underhanded way by her.

I was a teenager at the time who had a fiery competitive spirit, but the West Penn Amateur was the most prestigious tournament in Western Pennsylvania at the time.  I had just beaten my biggest rival in junior golf in the semi-finals and now I had to face Judy Oliver III for the championship.  Yep, you heard me right.  The third.  She was the jet-set millionaire type that had everything and I was the pip-squeak who grew up on the other side of the tracks, until the back nine of the competition.

I was 1 up on her on the 14th hole.  She hit her drive out of bounds.  I hit mine slightly in the rough.  Then I hit a freaky shot out of bounds.  We both had a horrendous hole after playing great golf.  She accused me three times of having a higher score than I did when we reached the hole.  I was so afraid, being in the pressure of the moment, that I did not know how to respond, so I thought, “She must know what she is talking about. She is more experienced than I am.”  So I agreed, and conceded the hole.  Only problem was, she was wrong.  We were both on in the same number of strokes, but I gave away the hole because I listened to my opponent’s adamant voice, and ended up losing the tournament by a narrow margin.

The loss was traumatic, as I did not have anyone to help me process the intensity of a fully engaged heart, mind, and body in my competition.  When I got home, I was hoping my mom would console me. She was listening to the radio broadcast the tournament shot by shot and she was more devastated than I was. I ended up consoling her.  The next year I had totally forgotten to enter the tournament, as I psychologically blocked the whole competition out from my mind.

It took me years to process what had happened, and although I never though she had an evil intent in her actions, a lot of people did.  I always admired her, however, and was a bit envious that she had so many more advantages than I did.

When I went to my hometown to play in the U.S. Open Qualifier this past week, I had the chance to reminisce with a lot of people about my upbringing in golf and the people in it.  I asked my friend, Bob Ford, “How is Judy Oliver doing?”  He responded, “Not very well. She died about 12 years ago of cancer at age 54.”  I was stunned and saddened.  Then all of a sudden I also had another thought come to mind, “In the big picture of things, the playing field had been leveled.  I scored a win in the game of life in that I was still living.  I now have an opportunity she won’t ever have and that is I am alive—I am alive to play championship golf age an age that she never will.”  In that moment, I felt something deep inside me have a sense of full closure.  The book was now closed on a devastating first championship experience and how it laid the foundation for my competitive trajectory for years to come.  I didn’t even know there was still something there meant to be brought to closure, but I felt it deep within.  There was no longer a need to even think about that story because I was granted a win in life that surpassed my competitive loss.  I could go on, now fully cleared of that experience, and in a sense be restored to “competitive innocence.”

None of this was conscience to me until I heard of her loss.  Being an emotionally and spiritually aware person, I was saddened for her loss, stunned at the effect that experience still had deep within, and deeply grateful for the sense of closure and new perspective I gained to start a new era of play now from a fresh sense of advantage in my life.  I will always admire Judy Oliver for her life and legacy, and now I can get on with my own in a new way.

All competitions have to be emotionally completed or that energy will stay within you until you deal with it.  If I can help you in your competitive journey, please reach out to me at: veronica@truechampioncoaching.com.

Jordan, Jack, and Unstoppable Success

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My first memory of life occurred when I was three years old on a Saturday afternoon with my dad.  We were staked out on my brother’s bed, tuned into our little black and white television.  Perhaps a better word would be “glued” to the t.v. as the indomitable Arnold Palmer charged up the 18th fairway winning yet another victory to expand his kingdom.  When it wasn’t Arnold, it was Jack staking his claim to  championship territory.  While most little girls were playing with dolls, I was at Daddy’s side absorbing his love for the game and enjoying watching the world’s greatest players seize the prize.

With decades of observing the greats of old as a weekly tradition, and rubbing shoulders with them from time to time, it is no wonder I found myself comparing the new young Master’s champion, Jordan Spieth, to those who have gone on before. As my eyes once again were glued to the television for an entire weekend, I couldn’t help but compare Spieth to Nicklaus.  The two could pass for twins when it comes to similarity of style and the unique factors behind their success.

In terms of the way they play the game, both are strategic thinkers, methodical and along the serious side in their natures. Jack was all about course management and his thinking about how he played his shots.  Ditto Jordan.  While you might argue that Tiger Woods is also a strategic thinker, he is, but in a very different way.  His thinking is much more aggressive and a lot of the time, outside of himself in his fighting style.  Woods’ energy is very forceful and physical.  Both Nicklaus and Speith vent their energy verbally.  They also are very ritualistic in the set-up of each of their shots, meticulous to the bone.

At last year’s U.S. Open I had the opportunity to get inside the ropes to watch the players.  As a performance coach, I am a trained observer and watched each one like a hawk.  When I saw Jordan, he stood out like a like a lone cat in a line of German Shepherds.  There was something about his quiet demeanor, the way he carried himself as champion, and his utmost confidence in himself.  His level of focus was off the charts, and I thought to myself, “Who is this good-looking young guy who conveys the air of an Open champion even in his walk?”  (I have to admit, I also said to myself, “Wow!  Too bad I am not a thousand years younger!  He’s so cute!)  Both Nicklaus and Spieth exude a similar air of a champion who refuses to think about himself as anything less than one–ever—even in a casual walk around the clubhouse.  Their mindset is sealed to dwell forever in the champion zone.

Perhaps the greatest similarity between the two champions is their upbringing. While most people don’t link home life and friendships as causal factors to championship performance, deep trusted relationships are primal to long-term success.  Nicklaus had a very holistic upbringing, playing numerous sports, and was grounded in a solid, intact, family life.  Jack Grout was his teacher since he was a young boy.  The consistent encouragement and friendship that Grout offered Nicklaus through the years had both a pillow and launching pad effect on the champion.  I know this first hand.

One day I was on the driving range watching Nicklaus hit balls with Grout’s eye upon his every shot.  The intensity of Nicklaus’ focus on the range was no less than it was under pressure.  Hitting one irons, each ball shot forth like a torpedo to a tree way down the range. Nicklaus never looked at his target. His eyes were riveted on a spot a foot in-front of the ball.  “Great shot, Jack!”  Grout said to Nicklaus. Jack hit another shot followed by another shot of empowerment from Grout, “Jack, you’re the greatest!”  Grout built Jack up after each shot.  I felt like I was watching a song and a dance routine between the two of them.

While Spieth obviously looked at his targets, they were small ones.  His head was down a lot, focusing deeply on what was right before him.  He chose his caddy because of his powers of encouragement and friendship.  Like Nicklaus, Jordan too, has a grounded home life, a special needs sister whom he is deeply inspired by, and a long term teacher he had since he was an emerging teenager. There is something to be said about the relational dynamics of having the kind of support around you that breeds stability, nurture, and emotional security so that you are free to look outward and soar.  Because I never had that, it is so glaringly obvious to me the power of nurture to one’s success when I see it. Spieth himself credits his family and team as the most important factors in his rise to the top.

Whether Spieth will ever equal or surpass Nicklaus’ record has yet to be seen.  From the eye of this beholder, however, there’s no telling how many more decades this golf chic will be glued to the television screen, engaged in her father’s favorite past-time, cheering on a new generation champion who has already demonstrated the traits of unstoppable success.

God’s Way to an A upcoming seminar

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I am pleased to announce that I will be equipping students for intellectual and emotional victory in their studies through my upcoming God’s Way to an A seminar here in Va. Beach.  If you have been seeking God for a breakthrough in your studies, this training is for you.  I have seen amazing skyrockets in students’ personal and academic life through this eye opening, paradigm changing approach to learning.  Trust me, you will never approach learning the same way again.  If it’s time for you to stop striving, start abiding, and enjoy soaring–PLEASE don’t waste another moment in academic torture!  Sign up today. Make the investment in yourself.  God has a more excellent way for you.  The workshop is geared for college and grad students.  Interested high school seniors accepted upon request.  Email me at: veronica@truechampioncoaching.com.     To register: Go to: newlifeprovidence.com.  Click on “events.”

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Hope to see you there!  Veronica

Join us for the Big Bloomers Golf Clinic this Sunday

Please join me Sunday, September 21 from 3 to 5 pm
at Longleaf Country Club in Pinehurst
                    Fore 
A VERY SPECIAL GOLF CLINIC:
                     
 WOMEN EMOWERING WOMEN
 Learn:
The 4 Movements to the Golf Swing
                            AND
 The 4 Movements to Becoming a Big Bloomer!
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Hello Friends!
How often have you and I heard the phrase, “Golf is a man’s game?”  As many times as I have looked down the driving range and realized I was the only woman working on my swing in the company of 25 or so men, I just happened to know better:  Golf is a woman’s game—and a passion of mine is to do golf a girl’s way!
That’s why I have decided to use the game to empower women to create a more beautiful life.  While I have used the language with many of you of becoming a champion, in my life-coaching to women, I like to use the term “blossoming.”  Both terms are about releasing your potential to become the best version of yourself.
Mom became the best version of herself when she took up the game at 85 and broke free from a 6 month death sentence due to a terminal heart condition and a death wish to literally blossom while she was dying.  She lived almost 7 more years
and finished strong–Together we re-created her legacy.

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