The Pro Golfer Who Panicked And Won

28-year old PGA pro golfer Charlie Beljan had a meltdown at the Children’s Miracle Network Classic in Lake Buena Vista, FL last Friday.

His throat tightened and his heart went into rapid heartbeat.  But he eventually played on for 5 hours carding a 64, the second lowest score of his rookie season.

Beljan then fell to the ground fearing a possible heart attack and was taken to the hospital where he had tests and spent the night hooked up to machines and still in his golf clothes.

When the tests came in, Beljan found out he suffered a panic attack and was released Saturday to continue playing in the event.   As he returned to the course, Beljan was crying on the practice range fearing that he would have another panic attack.

He had been under a lot of personal pressure.  Beljan had to place in the top ten not to forfeit his eligibility to remain on tour.  He married in the beginning of the year and his wife gave birth to their first child in September.  This was not his first panic attack.  He passed out on an airplane forcing an emergency landing with what turned out to be a panic attack a month before his son was born. 

Remarkably, Beljan won the golf tournament panic attack and all.

Made $846,000.

And qualified to play next season on the pro tour.

In the end the way Charlie Beljan won the battle with anxiety – at least long enough to win the event – was to understand that he had to live one day at a time.

Golf is a game that is played best when it is played one hole at a time.

For those of us facing anxiety and stress in our lives, the winning formula is living one day at a time and letting go of the stressors that plague us.

It’s a battle that often ends up making us feel like champions when we rise to the occasion.

As Milan Kundera says,

“The source of anxiety lies in the future.  If you can keep the future out of mind, you can forget your worries.”

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Dealing With Disappointment

When we’re disappointed, we often get mad at ourselves or angry at others.

This hurts us emotionally and actually physically weakens our immune system which is why when we’ve experience a great letdown we get often then get sick.

Here are some ways of dealing with disappointment in a positive way that is kinder to ourselves and others:

  1. Remember that no one gets what they want all the time.  It’s like a batting average.  If you bat .300 you’re still going to out 70% of the time.  Adjust expectations to fit reality.
  2. Replace anger with gratitude.  Gratitude is like aspirin.  It cures many things. Taking out anger on others often forces them to rebel.
  3. When you disappoint, a simple heartfelt apology is very effective.  When you’ve disappointed yourself, forgive yourself and move on.
  4. Beware of denial.  When we deny our disappointment, it will get worse and those around us will keep their distance.
  5. Disappointment is temporary.  It can have a positive effect by making us appreciate 100 times over when things meet our expectations.

Alexander Pope said, “Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”

Keep expectations low but keep motivation high.

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Avoiding Thanksgiving Turmoil

At the most stressful time of the year, Thanksgiving occurs. 

It’s the busiest air travel holiday and millions of people return to family gatherings in the hope that a Norman Rockwell holiday will result.

I know people who spend months trying to come up with “excuses” to avoid a family disaster at Thanksgiving.

Others accept the invitation but make themselves miserable up to and including turkey day.

Next week, I will share with you the one thing that will guarantee gratitude and love even in the toughest situations.  It works like a charm.

But one week out, it is helpful to remember that great expectations are not always possible with dysfunctional families, petty jealousies, marital problems, missing children spending the holiday with the other parent, sibling rivalries and even darker issues that sometimes affect families.

Yet gratitude is always possible once we grieve for the family we do not have.

I think this advice from Dr. Ana Nogales is very positive and uplifting at holiday time:

“After acknowledging what may be missing in our family relationships, each of us can then focus on the positive. Perhaps you had a good relationship with one of your relatives in the past, and you are working things out so that things may get better in the future. Maybe there is one family member with whom you have a special connection, with whom you feel free to be yourself. Or perhaps you have created a “family” with trusted and beloved friends, a group you feel more “related to” than the family into which you were born”.

Focus on being thankful to avoid unpleasantness. 

Feel free to forward this email and share with your friends.


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Coping With the Loss of a Loved One

I had a friend who lost his son at 18 due to suicide.

Yesterday I met a woman whose boyfriend died two years ago from lung cancer while she continues to mourn.

You don’t have to lose a loved one in the prime of their years to feel genuine loss.  My mother passed away at 96 and I miss her every day. 

There are many stages of grief.

I once asked a well-known counselor how long grief should last and he replied, as long as it lasts.

How long is that?

Whenever the grieving is complete as long as you can continue to function in your everyday life.  If not, it’s time to seek counseling to better cope.

The way to add meaning to the loss of someone dear to you is to isolate the one characteristic that he or she had that you most admired.

Then devote your life attempting to make that trait a part of you.

In that way, the deceased lives on through you.

And in some small way, their death is a just a bit easier to accept.

Gandhi said it eloquently:

“There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are, you will always be in my heart”.

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  • @Diane Cartwright All is forgiven.  Your mother is in a better place and rooting for you and she is no doubt proud that you value the qualities she once had as your own.

  • As most daughters, in my youth,  I fought the idea that I was “just like ‘your’ mother”.  She was so colorful, different, stubborn, fun and strong-willed.  Now, 10 months after losing her I do embrace her positive qualities, even her stubbornness and flare for being “different”, and I see so much of her in me.  I find myself using little expressions she used all the while endeavoring not to lose my own unique personality.  As my holistic doctor observed, “You can’t live your mother’s life.  You have to live yours.”  I do.  I will, all the while carrying her with me in a special place of honor in my heart. 
    In the process of her disease she said some horribly hurtful things to me, but that was the disease talking.  I have to remember the night she visited me in Seattle where I was working middays for KNUA.  She looked at me and said, “You are everything I ever wanted to be.”  I treasure that because she was everything I wanted to be.

  • Thanks to all of you for your comments.
    I lost my dearest friend in the world two years ago December but I really started losing him 9 years earlier when he developed Alzheimer’s.  Yet he knew me and his face lit up when he heard my voice.  There is not a day that I don’t remember this kind man for being so person centered and I would like to keep his many great qualities alive in me to the extent possible.  Somehow even trying makes it a little easier to accept the loss.

  • Thank you, Jerry.  I lost my wonderfully beautiful, energetic, warmly loving, fun and mischievous mother 10 months ago from Alzheimer’s.  Through all the devastation to her body and mind she never lost her smile, her essence, her passion for life.  I felt it every day.  It was a privilege to care for her right up until her last breath.  To paraphrase Gandhi, she truly does live in my heart.  She was my dearest friend.

  • All true. The death of a loved one is only a loss if you allow it to be. Gleening the trait of someone you lost and memories embraced sacredly can thrive in your heart if you let them , there to live forever.

  • NICE sentiment…very.  And worth practicing.

The Best Way To Gain Control

We all know control freaks.

They are at work, in our families and, yes, even staring back at us in the mirror.

Being around controlling people tends to rub off on us even if we are inclined not to be all that controlling.

This topic fascinates me in our fast moving competitive world where there is more self-absorption than ever before in a 24/7 race to have it our own way.

Yet the answer to living with controlling people is not to become like them.

It’s a disease that they’ve inherited, acquired or otherwise cobbled together to stay competitive.

Elizabeth Brenner in Winning by Letting Go offered these keys to ridding ourselves of the control that kills our spirit and hurts our relationships:

  1. Accept things as they really are.  Let go of our wishes, fantasies and fears and deal with what can be changed.
  2. Get to know yourself better.  You cannot give away what you do not have.
  3. “Any lingering attachments to having things our way hook us back into barter and control”. 

Therefore the irony in life is that we gain control by giving up control.

No control freak is really in control – they just make other people and themselves miserable.

When you’ve had it up to here with control freaks or even your controlling tendencies, try surrendering by giving up control.

And feel the freedom and power that comes with. 

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  • Interesting to read this today considering that for the first time in my 20 plus years of being in radio in some capacity, I am seriously considering walking away from it completely. Why? Micro-managing. I’d like to think that I have a real passion for this industry…but maybe in my own way I’m being controlling and possibly denying my wife and family of the lifestyle and the time that they deserve.