The Responsibility of abk (and Everyone)

“Man’s greatest burden is unfulfilled potential.”- Businessman Dan Peña

I basically live at the golf course. I love it, being outside for hours every day. I work, I help, I practice, I play, I explore nature with my son, I learn, I socialize, and I compete. I’m part tour guide, part travel agent, part therapist. Since I am there so much, I’m getting asked more and more if I give golf lessons. The corporate answer is no, I’m not certified to formally teach. But if you are asking for a little help or are just wanting to get better, then the answer is absolutely yes. Over 23 months and counting of daily grinding, I’ve learned a few things that I’d be happy to pass along.

I’m not a technical guy in golf or life. I don’t need a piece of paper or big title. I just see things. I see things you may not see or may not want to see, especially about yourself (annoying, I know). Sometimes I see things ten steps ahead. I know I’m going to get there, but I have a hard time articulating the how or why. (I’ve been working on that. The writing has helped immensely.)

As such, I cannot explain the golf swing, and I have very little interest in talking X’s and O’s. I feel things, and I like that. In the pitch black, I can hit a ball and tell you if it went straight, left, or right. I recently got new wedges, simply because my previous 58 degree wedge literally didn’t suit my eye. I can’t tell you exactly why. The grind, the bounce, the this, the that? I told the club fitter I would know it when I saw it and felt it.

Throughout my journey, I have learned that I have a beautiful gift: the ability to experience life through a unique lens. (As an outsider, this also applies to golf.). It used to make me feel so different, but more and more I have found opportunities to deploy that perspective to help others. It is actually one of my superpowers. We all have one.

When it comes to the game of golf, let me share some of my outsider observations. The physical aspect is super hard, but relatively straightforward. The mental/emotional aspect is even harder and more complex. And when it comes to regular Joe’s asking for help, three things get in the way: money, fear, and ego.

So when I am asked if I give lessons, I usually say this. I am not PGA certified. I am not the guy to give you advanced technical swing tips. But if you want to get better, to learn to think your way around the course, set your ego to the side, overcome your fears, weigh risk and reward, and play a little strategic offense (processed all in about 15 seconds), I might have a handful/lifetime of first person experiences that will help you.

How much for your time?

Don’t worry about it. abk is free. Actual effort is the only currency I’m concerned with.

A recent request saw me getting right to work, my matter-of-fact take on golf/life kicking in straightaway. On the par 5 16th hole, I dropped four balls at 240 yards out. Danger loomed long and right to a back, back pin. Short and left were safe. As my new friends looked on, I decided to play smart with my first shot. From a weird downhill lie, I tried to play too safe and I got lazy, the ball ending up only 125 yards down the fairway. For the second ball, shockingly, I did the exact same thing. Feeling their confidence in me waning, I torched the third ball, a 3 iron 240 yards to the bottom left side of the green, still a safe play leaving a little chip and a putt for birdie. Finally, I pulled my 3 wood, choked down, and faded the last ball right at the flag leaving about 25 feet for eagle.

I broke the silence with this. Sometimes the safe play backfires. Sometimes the safe play works out just as safely as expected. Sometimes the risky play is absolutely amazing. And sometimes you shit all over yourself. You just have to make a decision. Safe play. Risky play. Somewhere in between. The only no-no is indecision. That’ll keep you stuck in the 1800s, as I like to say.

Well, how do I know what the right decision is?

Try it a few (or a thousand) times, and then own it. It’s just a golf shot.

When I wrote that Charlotte Agenda article about style lifetimes ago, I remember reading a comment that said, Who is this guy? What are his credentials?

I then remember cringing to myself, thinking as if you need a piece of paper to prove you are truly good at something or able to help. Just another goofy comment along the way that helped empower the transformation from different perspective to beautiful gift.

Brain surgeons need pieces of paper. Ditto to airline pilots. Helping others find their highest potential does not. #abk

Have a great week.-Benj

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