This past week, I was a volunteer at the United States Womens Amateur golf championship held at Chambers Bay Golf Course near Tacoma. My role on Friday at the quarterfinals was as a forecaddie for one of the four groups. That meant I followed behind one group to stay in front of my assigned group to spot balls.

On the 10th hole, Catherine Rao found herself in a very precarious position after her tee shot.

I was directly behind her and snapped a quick picture. The ball had rolled into a small hole right above a deep fairway bunker. It was an awful lie (the position of the ball for hitting) and in a match play format (playing against her opponent only), put her in a bad situation.

The ball was almost un-hittable. It’s not a shot you’d normally practice, if ever. She and her caddie made a quick assessment and committed to the next play. Catherine not only hit the ball based solely on skill and creativity, she ended up winning the hole from her opponent!

Three days earlier, I was sitting behind the 1st hole green as a marshal. That means I got to stand up and tell everyone to be still and quiet! One of the golfers, Leigha Devine, was waiting her turn to putt, when suddenly I heard her say “Oh, no,” and rush to her bag. She buried her face in her golf towel and then came up for air. She had a bloody nose and it was a gusher. Her mother came over with a bunch of tissues to try and stop it. They were both actually chuckling over the situation.

As it became her turn to putt, she and her mother were frantically stuffing tissues up her nose. Her caddie asked, “are you going to be okay.?”

Leigha’s peppy response – “What are you gonna do? I’ve got to go putt!”

Which she did with tissues coming out her nose. She played well enough to advance that day.

What you gonna do?

How often are we beset with difficult situations that appear to be improbable to overcome?

My suggestion is that in business and life, it happens all the time. And much too often, people will get flustered with the situation, avoid “competing,” and end up using the situation as an excuse for failure.

These two young ladies didn’t do that. They assessed their situations, both of which were not a normal part of their practice. They got creative, committed, and then used their skills to make the next play and move on.

It’s very easy to get caught up overthinking difficult (and often desperate) situations. We can all take a lesson from Ms. Rao and Ms. Devine…

  1. Bad shit happens. Get over it fast. You might even chuckle about the absurdity of it.
  2. Quickly assess the situation to identify the the best option.
  3. Seek help from your trusted advisors.
  4. Make the decision fast (we all can be faster in making decisions).
  5. Use your skills and creativity.
  6. Make a full commitment and be prepared to live with the results.
  7. Move on.

We will find our next “plays” often mired in an awful position. Sometimes we will get blindsided by a gushing bloody nose when we least expect it.

You’re smart and resilient. Stop overthinking and grab the right club or a bunch of tissues. Make the decision, commit and then…

Play on.

Keep chasing unleashed.

Quote of the Week:

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

~ Theodore Roosevelt

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