Sometimes, it just takes courage!



Associated Press reported this week that automobile sales in October were the lowest since January 1991. General Motors had the biggest drop, plunging 45 percent. As you might imagine, all types of discussions pertaining to the situation are occurring and various changes are being considered in order to deal with and rise above the circumstances. Other industries and organizations – along with individuals – are also being challenged to make some changes during this economic climate. For many, it is going to require some courageous steps.
The current situation brings to mind a story by writer Jim Elliff. He said his older brother once got to play golf at the exclusive Augusta National, home of the Masters. There, a life-shaping event for his brother took place. Playing through the course with the required caddy, he landed in the middle of the 13th hole of the notoriously challenging three-hole Amen Corner. He then asked the caddy for a certain short iron.
Astonished, the veteran caddy responded, “What do you want with this iron?” Elliff’s brother replied, “I want to play it safe by laying up just this side of the creek.” The caddy exclaimed, “Man, you didn’t get this opportunity and come all this way to hit a lay-up shot at the Amen Corner!” The caddy then yanked out a fairway wood to hand to the surprised golfer who responded, “But I might go into the water.” The caddy replied, “You might or you might not, but one thing is for sure – you’ll never know till you try.”
The humbled brother took the wood from the caddy’s hand, smacked the ball, and it landed on the green! Astounded, the golfer announced, “I’m going to write down what you told me.” The caddy looked at him quizzically and said, “I don’t understand what you’re talking about.” The brother replied, “Well, a man can get to a stage in life where he can be content just to hit safe lay-ups. I’m going to start hitting things as hard and as far as I can.”
Jim Elliff said, “My brother’s experience caused me to think about how some people spend their entire lives hitting lay-ups. These are cautious, forever-tentative people.” Of course, there is a big difference in hitting things hard and being stupid. No doubt, there are some things we should not take a chance on. But we can’t always play it safe. Sometimes, we have to make bold moves.
This week, I spoke at a Club Managers Association of America meeting, an organization comprised of managers of country clubs, downtown athletic clubs, yacht clubs, etc. This economic climate has them searching for ways to retain membership, recruit new members and use facilities and resources wisely. Near the end of the workshop, participants of a discussion group talked about what they have tried through the years that did and didn’t work, what they have learned from their successes and failures, and how they have built on these successes and failures.

Whether the ball we are thinking about hitting hard involves making moves within the current framework or moving outside the current framework of where we are, sometimes we just have to show courage and hit it. Tom Peters, author of In Search Of Excellence, said, “Life is pretty simple. You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works. You learn from what works. Then you do more of what works.” Inherent in his words, Peters assumes that successful people realize they are going to experience failure – but they keep hitting the ball as hard as they can.
© Carl Mays is an author and speaker at over 3,000 events. To inquire about his speaking to your group, contact or phone 865-436-7478. His books, including A Strategy For Winning, Winning Thoughts, Anatomy Of A Leader, People Of Passion, and Are We Communicating Yet?, are available in stores, on and other Internet locatio

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