Despite your formidable drive and iron will, rough spots and late-day fades are par for the course. You get hooked, find yourself wedged in traps and often left holding the bag.
Decades ago your family, along with the community, marketplace and culture-at-large, replaced your authentic game with a substitute so you’d play their game on the course they built. They did this with the best of intentions—to protect you and help you succeed in the way that they knew. They broke down every nuance of your stance, grip, swing and attitude, and influenced everything from your shoes and clubs to your rain gear and balls. You responded by repressing or acting out your emotions—or both, closing down parts of your game, building barriers, and enacting strategies to defend the little authenticity you had left.
You now excel at the substitute game and yearn for what you lost. The good news is that though your authentic game is hidden, it’s not lost, and you can reclaim it. It’s buried amid a maze of words, images, secrets, opinions, habits, worldviews, lists, best practices, only-things, how-to’s, to-do’s, videos and voodoos that promise to iron out every wrinkle and eliminate every bogey man in your particular slice of life. As you know, nothing in the maze ever truly makes the final cut.
It is your responsibility alone to recover your authentic game. No one can do this for you. You’ll have to work skillfully, drop conditioned defenses, remove barriers, and see the substitute game for what it is—someone else’s. Recovering your authenticity requires rigorous, gentle attention to every course and hole you play, every club you choose and every shot you take—as well as your deepest response to each of these, on and off the course, in each and every moment.
Recovery may call you to explore your spirituality or a deeper awareness of your physical body. It might inquire into your core beliefs and values, your emotions, moral strategies, or relationships. Rigorous, gentle attention will guide and serve you well wherever you are—within the realms of art, business, teaching, service, laughter, nature, family, and governance, among many, many others. Who knows where your authentic game might emerge? It’s yours: no one-size-fits-all is available.
You play your authentic game in that space in which you unconditionally accept every shot you take, while wholeheartedly and deeply immersed within each shot’s every nuance. You play in the paradox of letting the ball land where it lands—completely free from any desire for it to be elsewhere, while your mind and heart break wide open—with joy as it drops into the cup, or with disbelief when it sinks to sleep with Luca Brasi and the fishes. Neither of these—wisdom’s infinite freedom nor compassion’s deep fullness—suffices. You need both. Your authentic game requires that you play every hole with and as this paradox—wisdom and compassion, freedom and fullness.
Integral Coaching® and the programs I offer provide a framework that will help you see your current game. We’ll honor and keep what works, release what no longer serves, and develop the muscles you need for sustainable growth. You’ll practice accountability and forgiveness, especially with yourself. You’ll engage your stance, grip, swing and shot with fierce gentleness. You’ll embrace paradox and catch yourself in both games—substitute and authentic—especially with those you love. You’ll definitely laugh and probably cry. You’ll keep paying attention. You’ll expand your awareness and transform your intentions.
Copyright © 2011 by Reggie Marra
All rights reserved.
Integral Coaching® is a registered trade-mark in Canada owned by Integral Coaching Canada, Inc. and licensed to Reggie Marra.
Reg, this is a beautiful and elegantly simple way to describe coaching. I love the metaphor and somehow it reminds me of Steve too. Love Jill
Thanks, Jill. You are my favorite (and only) commentator (commentor?)!
Thanks for this article, Reggie. Even though I am not a golfer, your profound and poetic use of metaphor painted a beautiful picture of how coaching works. To me, this article is a hole in one!