Stepping Stones.

I’ve got the picture of where I’m going, but I keep missing the mark.

“Today is the day.” The words leave my mouth before we’ve even pulled into the parking lot. “I’m going to break 80 today.”

I can feel the confidence pulsing through my veins as we stand on the first tee. I see a shot trail in my mind, my ball starting to the right and gently drawing back into the middle of the fairway 300 yards away before I’ve even swung the club. Yup, today is the day.

As I address the ball, my mind floats to an image of me walking off the 18th green, scorecard in my hand, a number beginning with a 7 written on it. I take my club back and poof, any chance I had of realizing that dream blows away as quickly as my ball screams into a bush.

In an instant, my vision of a perfect scorecard shifted, the card catching fire and burning in my hand. My chances of breaking through that glass ceiling melting away in front of me.

When I find my ball a positive thought enters my mind. “Okay, this isn’t so bad. We can come back from this.” A few strokes later, those positive thoughts have evaporated in a puff of smoke.

I’ve made some terrible swings, some contacting more dirt than dimple, and others flying more than 40 yards past my target. I know where I want the ball to land, but why can’t I seem to make it happen?

I’ve got the picture of where I’m going, but I keep missing the mark.

Approaching each ball, I’m analyzing each part of my swing so deeply you’d think I was drowning. “I forgot to fire my hip, I didn’t get my hands set, my grip was completely atrocious on that one.”

Always a new issue, each stroke taken with a different swing thought, and ultimately not one of them being the correct solution.

As I load my bag into the trunk, my brain fires out a million reasons for why I didn’t succeed.

Then it hits me like a sack of potatoes falling from a 30-story building.

I skipped straight to step 10 without a second thought.

The only thought I’d had the entire day was, “I’m going to break 80.” Never once, thinking about how I was going to accomplish that.

Making a solid swing never crossed my mind. Leaving myself in a good position never entered the equation. Making contact with the ball was an afterthought.

I’d forgotten the simple steps, that when put together in the correct fashion, add up to a lifelong dream realized. I’d leapt from the ground, aiming for the top of the staircase, and missed the target, smacking my face on the concrete as my feet flung out from under me.

I’d lost my confidence after that first bad swing, and instead of steadying my feet, I’d flapped my arms harder, only to realize I couldn’t fly.

It should’ve been obvious really. The man who cuts his steak into small pieces is far less likely to choke than the man who bites off more than he can chew.

A man who carefully peruses the shoreline looking for a select few stepping stones stands far more of a chance of reaching the other side dry, than the man who tries to hurdle the river in a single bound.

Finding your footing on each step makes climbing the stairs much more attainable and a lot less painful.

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