The Hole-In-One

This morning I was the featured speaker at the Annual Meeting of the Portland OR Chapter of the LPGA Amateur Golf Association. The title of my message? The Hole in One: Living An Authentic Life life...asks three basic questions: 

Where are you now?

Where are you going?

How will you get there?

Question #1 Where are you now? 

Every shot in golf starts with the answer to this question. Getting where we are going requires a clear understanding of where we are now, because it is from here that we must take our next shot on the course, and it is from here that we must take our next step in life. Sometimes everything lines up and we have a clear shot ahead. Then there are those other times when we find ourselves out in the rough, under a tree, or having to play through a difficult hazard. As it states in the rules of golf, we must Play It As It Lies. Whether out on the course or in the midst of life, each of us has to come to grips with the realities of our life by looking squarely at how things are, rather than how we thought they’d be, wished they’d be, or prayed they’d be. To live an authentic life, we must play life as it lies.

Question #2 Where are you going?

In golf we are always attempting to sink the ball in the cup with as few strokes and as much skill as we can. It may take more than one shot, but we always know where we are headed. In life it is meant to be the same. As we line ourselves up to live in synch with what we care about, we gain clarity on where life is calling us, and take steps, one after the other, in that direction.

Question #3 How will you get there? 

In golf it is about taking the next right shot. In life it is about taking the next right step. There are times when the next right step is taken inside our own mind, by unwinding an old story, asking ourself the hard question, or daring to dream of a new possibility. Sometimes we are able to see multiple steps unfolding down the path, and other times only the next step is visible. Either way, the next right step follows the one taken before. Golf is played one stroke at a time. Life is played one step at a time. 

In the event publicity I was described as an avid golfer.

I decided not to correct them.

I have played exactly 18 holes of golf in my life, hit a hole-in-one in the first 9, and decided to quit while I was ahead. But the feeling of sinking the ball in one shot felt then as it does now in my memory. This is how we are supposed to live. 

Like the hole-in-one, the authentic life is the one well played. The one where we connect who we are at our core with how we live out in the world.

May you play it as it lies. 

May you have a clear view ahead. 

May you keep taking the next right step.