Category Archives: The Champion Identity

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

May 16, 2017

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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.

 

Making the “7” a Gain, Not Loss: My Encouragement to Jordan Spieth

 

Here I am at 17 years old, in the heat of competition in the West Penn Amateur.golf west penn am

I love to compete.  I hate to lose and I hate the feeling of defeat that lingers in my bones after a loss.  So, I could totally relate to what happened to Jordan Spieth as a competitive golfer and as one who has an active faith in God.  Some years ago, however, I discovered a spiritual way to turn my bad scores, crushing losses, and emotional letdowns into a spiritual victory:  by making my bad scores an offering to God.

I learned this amazing revelation the hard way.  The following is an excerpt from my first golf devotional, A Quiet Clap, Life Lessons Appreciating God and Golf, Hole #9:

“It happened during one of my yearly quests to qualify for the Women’s U.S. Open.  Not playing pro golf as a career anymore, it was always a difficult decision whether or not to prepare for the Open Qualifier.

On one hand, it satisfied my dormant competitive juices.  On the other hand, I had to ask myself if it was worth all the time, effort, and sacrifice needed.  After all, it was a long-shot chance at qualifying.

My competitive urges won out over my more rational thinking.  After months of focused training, I headed to Dallas for the qualifying tournament.

I played the front nine well enough to still be competition.  Approaching the 10th tee, I noticed the Dallas winds beginning to blow about 35 mph–directly in my face.  My drive was fair, but I still had about 200 yards to the green.  I’d have to hit my shot across a lake into horrendous winds to reach the green.

‘If I hit a perfect five wood, I can make it,’ I thought.  Expecting perfection and not attaining it, I promptly hit my ball into the water.  ‘I know I can hit this shot,’ With winds still almost blowing me over, I grabbed my 5 wood again, along with my persistent pride, and proceeded to hit my second ball into the water.  The third was equally wet.  Finally reaching the green in 8, I two-putted for an outrageous 10 on a par 4 hole.

At that moment, the reality of what had just transpired hit me harder than the wind. I thought,  ‘I just blew my chance to qualify.  All my preparation for the previous 6 months just blew up in smoke.’

It would have been nice to quit at that moment, but I still had 8 more holes to play.  Now what do I do?  Flooded with emotion, I tearfully headed toward the 11th tee.  If I was going to complete the round,  I knew I needed an immediate release. Somehow I needed to clear my entire being of the jolting experience of the 10th hole.

From the core of my being, I looked to my heavenly Father and cried out, ‘God, I give you my 10! Take it!  All of it!  I offer it up to You.  I know You will receive it as a welcomed gift.’

A ton of emotional bricks lifted immediately from my heavy heart and mind.  I parred every remaining hole, except for one.

Although I did not qualify, I did not fail to get an incredible victory in my character. I still played to win, even in the midst of my loss–and I did win.

Dakes Annotated Reference Bible defines worship as ‘not confined to praise; broadly, it may be regarded as the direct acknowledgement to God of His nature, attributes, ways, and claims, whether by the outgoing of the heart in praise and thanksgiving, or by deed done in such acknowledgement.’

Anything you do that acknowledges who God is, is worship.  When I offered my 10 up to God, letting Him know that He was my Source of Release, I worshipped Him. In return, He received my 10 as an acceptable offering, because I was giving Him what was IN MY HEART.

What is in your heart?  A few tens? Maybe a truckload full? Do you need a release from a loss, disappointment, or offense?  Open up your heart and offer up to Him what’s on the inside. He will accept it and cause you to follow through with that issue in victory.

May the champion in you rise to the occasion as you develop the art of ‘offering it up.’ Your recovery will be quick indeed.'”

Jordan Spieth, I pray you will catch the revelation of offering your scores up to God as an offering–yes, your 7 and devastating loss—let Him consume it—and return you to the first tee full of faith, vigor, and victory as the young champion who is the ultimate epitome of confidence.  I pray His all consuming love will melt away every vestige of defeat and disappointment as you are more than a conqueror who Him who loves you.  Amen.

If you would like to learn the spiritual dynamics to peak performance, please contact me at: veronica@truechampioncoaching.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leveling the Playing Field

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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.

Birdies for Grandma!

alysaWith the thrill of the Opens now almost at a bygone simmer, I wonder what will forever remain etched in my memory upon reflection of the event as time moves on.  You see, winners come and go.  I found it amazing that Kaymer who won by an amazing ten shots failed to make the cut in his next tournament.  Wie bowed to Lewis who seized backed her champion position in her next event.  Isn’t it the nature of the game that what brings a thrill in one moment vanishes into the parched brown fairway to wither away in sports history oblivion in the next.

Every now and then, however, I meet a true champion, someone whose impact upon my life never fades away, even years after meeting that person. A true champion is someone who impresses you more about who they are than about what they score.  I met such a person in ten year old Alyssa Getty. Continue reading

A Lesson from Lucy Li: Be a bloomer!

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The U.S. Kids World Championship has always been one of my favorite events of the year here in Pinehurst.  There’s nothing like watching a seven year old swing with the ease and power of an up and coming Tiger Woods and wishing I could replicate that child’s near perfect swing!  My involvement this year, however, was different.  Continue reading

To Quit or Not to Quit

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Golf is a funny game.  Unlike other sports, we golfers are haunted on a regular basis with the “quitting demons.”  Why is it that in just about every round of golf or in just about every championship quest a golfer pursues, there is the temptation to quit the game?  The thought has never occurred to me in playing volleyball or tennis or in any other sport.

I think it is in the nature of the beast.  Without question, golf is the hardest sport I have ever played.  When I took up tennis, I could take long layoffs and pick the game back up right where I left off.  The same is true for racquetball.  But golf?  Take some time off and off kiss your game good-bye if you want to play with any consistency.

Today was a real game changer for me because just when I decided to set the game aside for a season, some unsuspecting force came along to open up my mind, release my inner athlete, and get me excited about a whole new pursuit.  Oh, gimme a break!  Just when I was relishing in the thought of giving myself permission to walk away from the torture and frustration of pressing through to the next level, Frank Lewis had to enter into my life—and give me fresh hope—just went I didn’t want any!  Continue reading

Teddy-Boy Memorial Tribute and Dog Bone Open

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One of the things I enjoyed most about the U.S. Opens was all the people I met.  It was great to strike up a conversation with a total stranger and have it be totally appropriate because we were all talking the same language surrounding the same story.  Hey, I even learned a brand new vocabulary word while shooting the breeze with a lady on the back of the eighth tee.

“This is such a great place to stand,” she said. “The shade makes the heat bearable and the zephyrs are quite consistent.”  “What’s a zephyr?”  I asked.  “A zephyr is an unexpected cool breeze on a hot day.”  Just as she was talking, one blew through lifting the burden of high heat off my sweaty brow.  The truth is, if you are going to have to endure a hot day, you might as well do it under some shade in the line of the zephyrs.

The same is true for breezing through a tough loss.  After I made it through the Opens hit with the loss of my beloved doggie, Teddy-boy, during tournament week, I decided that what I needed most was a few zephyrs.  If you want to experience a cool breeze on a hot day, the first thing you have to do is know where the breezes are and then position yourself in the line of them.  If it works on a parched brown fairway, it will also work in the parched spots in your home where your beloved doggie used to sit, eat, or sleep.  Continue reading