August 15, 2011

Learning from Eldrick

“We are not invincible nor do we need to pretend to be. It is through humility and grace that we discover and utilize our gifts.” ~ Dave Cooke

Wonder how many people would even recognize him by his given name of Eldrick.  Most know him as Tiger.  Whether you are a golf fan or not, it would be pretty hard not to be aware of the incredible rise and fall associated with his career.  While many may enjoy his failings or want to spend time judging him for his personal and professional decisions – I don’t have the time or the right to judge anyone (that’s for a different post) – there are a ton of life lessons for us in the Tiger Story.

One of the things I most admired about Tiger was his single-minded determination and focus.  He could get into a zone and through sheer athleticism and will define a desired outcome.   When you listen to and learn more about the Tiger story, he was wired that way.  His Father ingrained into him very, very early in life greatness is about never being vulnerable – Tiger came to believe and lived most of his life, to date, as though he was invincible.  It was because of his notion of invincibility; he was able to play the way he did.

Unfortunately for Tiger, as with most of us, the structure around which he built his life changed dramatically –his Father passed away, he destroyed his marriage, and his once incredible and promising career is crumbling around him.  Through it all, he is still searching for that lost magic that made him invincible.  In Tiger’s mind, in order to be “Tiger” again, he needs to rediscover that total control and power of his younger self.

In reality, he has not discovered the humility necessary to for him to rebuild, regroup and change his life.  While he has shed advisors, coaches, sponsors, and friends in order to regain his magic, he has not embraced the lessons existing in the changes around him.  Rather than reach for the secret magic of the past, he needs to rebuild from the experiences and the lessons of his present life.  And, he needs to be more receptive to reflections of those lessons.  His struggle can be and is an example for us all.

When we were younger, we all thought, to some extent, that we were invincible.  We made not have consciously thought about our invincibility, but we certainly behaved, to a greater or lesser extent with a reckless abandon at times.  It was as we became older and more conscious of the impacts of our decisions and our behaviors on our life.  With that awareness grew intelligence, perspective and a stronger sense of boundaries and structure.  In these learning experiences, we struggled, we succeeded, we failed, we hurt, we celebrated, and we grew.  Over time, we became connected to those things that energized us.

For many of us, life has taken us on paths, journeys, and experiences that may have disconnected us from our passion and energy.  As we struggle to rediscover the joy and the energy and the passion that provided us with our youthful exuberance, we also struggle with being open about our pain in this process.  It is our openness, our honesty, and our humility with ourselves and others that will help us rediscover and reconnect with that missing energy.

We do not need to fake it until we make it.  We do not need to be strong, tall, powerful, and willful in order to reach our destination.  What we need is the grace and power of our honest humility to make us receptive to the messages, the advice, and the perspectives of others to put us on the path that we desire to travel.  We have never been wired to be invincible.  It was the awareness of our vulnerabilities that brought us wisdom in the first place.  Leverage that wisdom today to change your world and celebrate the accomplishment of our dreams.

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About Dave Cooke

Dave Cooke is a dad on a mission. His mission is to help parents get control of their lives over the powerful, destructive influences of a child's addiction. As the father of a son in a ten year heroin battle, Dave knows all to well the challenges parents and families face. He also knows there is a way to find peace in the chaos. It is his mission to help parents discover their path to a healthier, balanced life even if a child's active addiction is still part of their daily journey.