What a little white ball taught me about authenticity

From the desk of Greg Giesen

I’ve been working with this whole authenticity concept for years. I’ve written three books on it and created the Leading From Within program—which is all about authentic leadership. Why, I even sign off my emails and letters with, Authentically, Geese

But guess where I first learned the true meaning of authenticity? No seriously, guess?


Not even close. Guess again.

Still way off.

I’ll just tell you…playing golf. That’s right, playing golf. Well sort of. Allow me to explain…

Golfer Carrying Bag

You see, I’m what’s commonly referred to as a hacker when it comes to golf. In fact, if you look up hacker in the dictionary it says See Greg Giesen. I’m serious. A hacker is someone who never puts the time or effort into improving his/her golf game; hence their game is erratic at best and never improves.

My problem isn’t that I don’t want to improve; it’s that I can’t seem to clear my head of all the stuff that I’m supposed to remember when playing, especially when swinging at the ball. It’s hard enough being me with all the voices I already have in my head, let alone all the uninvited golf pros that have joined the fray the moment I step on the golf course. It gets a little crowded up there, if you know what I mean.

I keep quitting golf too. Actually every nine holes I usually quit a couple of time. And why is it the golf Gods make sure that my best shot of the day always happens on the very last hole? What’s up with that! I drive away rationalizing…I think I’m finally getting it. I can’t wait to play again…


A few years ago after quitting golf for the 1,567,321st time, I had a revelation. Actually it could have been heart burn, but an insight just the same. It went something like this…Perhaps the reason I stink in golf is because I’m not applying myself. Maybe I need a more concentrated approach…like intense lessons for four straight days…at a luxury resort in Phoenix…with friends. Yeah, that’s the ticket!

It was as if the circus of golf experts already in my head were calling out for reinforcements. I even think I spotted a white flag waving somewhere in that image, now that I think about it. The bottom line was this…apparently I didn’t have enough stuff, or the right stuff, and needed additional stuff to think about, remember, and of course purchase, so that I could finally improve my golf game.

Are you buying this so far? I did.


So I go to Phoenix and engross myself into every little nuance around the game of golf. I developed a new swing. I purchased new clubs. I even had the fancy glove and matching golf shirt. Best of all, I had a stack of “how-to” lessons on a set of cards that I could carry with me, wherever I go. I was a mean, lean, golf machine.

And yet my game got worse.

By the end of the four days my ball was hitting more houses and landing in more pools than a poorly sighted bird dying of thirst. Why, I even think there was a warrant out for my arrest before I left.

 Oops! Road Sign

“I quit!”

“You can’t quit!” shouted my uncle Roger as we drove back to the Phoenix airport. “You just spend a lot of money on these lessons. You need to give it time.”

“I quit. I don’t want to ever see a golf ball as long as I live. I’m done. And I mean it this time,” I cried.

He could only shake his head.

At the Phoenix Airport

My delayed flight back to Denver gave me an unexpected couple of hour to roam around the airport and check out the various stores and shops. Normally not a shopper, I noticed a lot of commotion going on in the little bookstore right across from my gate and decided to see what the excitement was all about.


As I approached I could see that there was a particular book display drawing all the attention.

Ah, I sighed, that is exactly what I need to get my mind out of this golf funk that I’m in, a nice novel to read on the plane!

I pushed and shoved my way over to the display. What book could possibly be drawing such crowds, I thought as I weave to the front of the line.

And then my mouth dropped as the title came into view. No way! I exclaimed. Are you kidding me!

To be continued next week…

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