By: Anya Alvarez
“Does what I do define who I am?” I asked myself this after finishing terribly at a golf tournament, completely blowing my chances to win.
I looked around me at girls who have been playing on my tour for years, trying to make it on the big time tour. I wondered if them never giving up on golf said something positively about them.
This is my first year playing full time professionally and after my fifth tournament of the season, I can already feel the wear and tear of my golf career getting to me. Three out of the five events I’ve played I have put myself in contention to either win, or put myself in position to finish well.
Each of those opportunities I have blown royally.
I used to always tell people, “Golf is what I do, not who I am.”
But, after careful reconsideration, I can’t help but think that maybe that’s not so true. I started to make the connection between my life on and off the course. In a majority of my tournaments, I have the tendency to start very strong. Then over the course of a couple rounds, I start to falter off a little bit. This seems to go in tune with my life. I am a strong starter. I’ll go into something with everything that I got, then everything starts to come to a halt. Be it my personal relationships, starting a new workout routine, or making promises to cook for myself more often, I seem to be unable to finish things I’ve started.
This habit does not serve me well in any part of my life. However, it’s not that I give up on the golf course or in my life. I get mentally tired from the pressure I put on myself to perform. When I have success so close within my grasp, I reach for it almost a little too much. I lose my balance and therefore, I can’t perform. If I try this hard on the course, could it be a sign that I try too hard in my life?
This saying of “trying too hard” at first doesn’t make a lot of sense, but think about it a little more deeply. We may give it our best to the point where we inhibit ourselves from performing to the utmost of our ability. The most success I’ve had on the golf course is when I didn’t try. I would walk off the course not feeling mentally tired and thinking to myself, “Wow, that was easy today.” There was no pushing or fighting myself on the course.
I look at trying too hard as trying to balance. Have you ever tried to stand on one foot and you’re focusing so hard on not losing your balance, that in turn you fall flat on your face? I had a yoga instructor that always engrained in me to focus on a point while balancing, instead of the act itself.
She said, “Pick a spot and keep your gaze on it.” Every time I did that, I seemed to hold balance postures longer. Perhaps I could do the same on and off the course. What if I focused on a point in my life, rather than just the big goal. Sure, I would love to win a golf a tournament. But instead of forcing it to happen, I could look at each shot as a balancing pose, pick my spot of where I want the ball to go and just let it happen.
After contemplating this, I was driving along in my car and the song came on, “If at first you don't succeed. Dust yourself off, and try again. You can dust it off and try again, try again.”
What I have begun to learn though over time is that letting go seems to bring the most success for my personal life. Pushing continuously for so something burns down our available energy, and makes us less capable doing what we intend to do well.
If we really think about, every day is almost the same as before. A tournament round is no different than a round with my friends. Why treat it any differently? So, as this next tournament approaches me, I am going to enjoy it and not drive myself crazy. Golf is not the whole definitive of who I am, but if it does say one thing about me, it would be, “I hate losing and will avoid all costs of doing so.” This thought process is only causing me to lose more though. I need to allow myself to win instead of focusing on not failing.
Greater success will only come if I stop trying so hard to make it happen and just let it happen, instead.
twoday magazine wants to know: Is there such a thing as trying too hard? How do you keep the balance in your life? Share with us on our Facebook page.
Follow the Golf Channel's Big Break contestant and twoday magazine's weekly contributor, @AnyaAlvarez, on Twitter and see if her new approach to playing golf increases her chances of coming closer to her dream of winning a tournament.
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