I’ve learned, fairly well, I think, that in order to achieve success, there needs to be a certain level of mentorship and mimicking of those who have done it already.  “Don’t take advice on how to get skinny from a 400 pound guy,” my Dad used to say.

This week, I’ve had my first taste of what is already beginning to be the heroin, the new love affair, the religion of my existence:  Golf.

I have a friend who came into town from the north for no other reason than to say hi to a couple of people, and play a lot of golf.  As my birthday fell on this past Saturday, my buddy decided to treat me to my first nine holes–but not after a solid, two-hours and probably three hundred swings at the driving range beforehand.  I shot a 65…on the front nine alone.  It really wasn’t as catastrophic as I’d imagined it being because once I had the mechanics of a basic, consistent swing, it was a matter of judging the distance and which club to use for the shot.  I still put up sevens and eights on every hole but one, but I did at least manage to clear the pond on hole six, and play the same ball for all nine holes.  I did alright with long drives, usually getting close to the green in two or three shots, but my chipping and putting game killed me.  Ah well, first time out.

I mentioned that to mention this.

As I was rolling along on the golf cart with my buddy, a lone thought kept creeping through my head:  “Major deals are done on golf courses.”  I think I have this image because of the genius marketing of TV, as I am a big fan of the show “Shark Tank,” and in the show’s opening, they show one of the venture capitalist investor guys shaking hands with another guy (presumably sealing a deal) on a golf course.  It seems to me that a lot of successful people play golf to blow off steam, and the fact that playing golf surrounds me with them in some cases is icing on the cake for a guy who has at the same time learned a love for a new hobby.

Golf is becoming metaphorical to me as well on several levels:  First, is the initial, maddeningly learning curve involved with a swing as unnatural as a golf swing is.  Obviously, as in life, practice will get you to whatever level you strive for.  Also, however, it forces you out of your own comfort zone in the same way that a big speech to a large crowd might:  That first time you get up to tee off in front of a bunch of people is a nerve-wracking time, and as time goes on you’re forced to adapt and try to excel so that you aren’t holding up your guys, or the guys behind you.  Still, at the end of the day, no matter how badly you stunk, you can do something new that you couldn’t do before.  That’s the key, of course, as waking up and going to your nine-to-five job each day and spending your weekends with your kids will never change your circumstances.  I know that I have to, or it won’t get done.

I’m on the right path–I’m reading, I’m networking when I can, I’m culitvating an eye for opportunities, and I think playing golf may be another vehicle or tool with which I can connect to someone, when the time is right.  After all, what good is the opportunity you aren’t prepared to take advantage of?  All I have to do now is get myself a house I can’t afford, a Constantin Vacheron watch, and a Rolls-Royce Phantom in the garage and I’ll be set…right?  *wink*

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