Life Lessons From the Game of Golf #6 Identity
One of the few things that we all have in common is our struggle to establish our Identity.
The issue of identity is very important because it affects both our self-image and our self-esteem. So what does this have to do with the game of golf?
I remember the first time I scored under 100. Scoring under the magical 100 is the first big milestone in the game of golf and the goal of every casual golfer because until you are able to score under 100, you are not considered capable of playing at a truly competitive level. The reason for this is that until a recent rule change, the maximum handicap that a male golfer could have was 28 and until you score under 100, you are not playing to your handicap.
Now it was after I scored under 100 and had won my first competitive match that this issue of identity in golf came into focus for me. I was playing my weekly round of golf with my golf partner and was having a very inconsistent game. On one hole I hit my furthest tee shot ever and parred the hole, only to miss a 4ft putt on the next and double bogie what should have been a par at worst.
It was then that I was faced with the choice of either seeing myself as a golfer who is able to hit a ball over 250 yards straight down the fairway and consistently score under 100, or as the golfer who missed 4ft putts and occasionally played to his handicap. How I chose to see myself would determine not just the level at which I would play, but also how other golfers would view me.
Eleanor Roosevelt said something very interesting that is worth noting,
“No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.”
And the same can be said about your identity. No one can determine who you are unless you allow them to. And your identity, whatever you choose it to be, will affect your self-esteem and how you feel about yourself.
That day I chose to identify with my best shots and my game has continued to improve because I expect nothing less than to play to the standard I believe I am capable of.
How you see and feel about yourself is very important because that will not only determine how you perform, but also how other people will see and treat you. It is so important that we have a healthy view of ourselves, as that will affect our self-esteem, which in turn will determine our self-image and ultimately every area of our lives.