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How to Rise from the Depths of Despair

We witnessed quite a redemption story play out this weekend on national TV.

The flawed hero in our drama?  Tiger Woods.

Bear with me here.  You may not care about golf.  I don’t care much about golf, but I love it when real life shines a light on truths I care very much about and provides me with inspiration.  This story does just that.

Tiger Woods … We all know about the bimbo eruptions and how he screwed up his family life.  But what many don’t know is the guy was so incapacitated by a bad back and the complications of having undergone surgery after surgery on multiple body parts that we was in constant pain and barely able to walk.

The low point came when patrolmen discovered him asleep in his car on the side of the road with 4 flat tires, loaded with pain killers.

Thoroughly humiliated, the butt of jokes on late night TV, he’d been dismissed as a has-been, an “ex-golfer.”

It looked as if he might not ever be able to function normally again, much less play competitive golf at 42 years old.

Sunday, he won the Masters.

The Masters is arguably the most prestigious title in golf.  It was his 5th Master’s title, the first one coming 22 years ago when he was just 21.

Talk about coming full circle.  Talk about redemption. Not in the religious sense perhaps, but certainly in the spiritual sense.

Tiger Woods had been on top of the world.  Dominating his sport. Rich as Croesus. Beautiful home.  Lovely wife. Precious kids. The Tiger Woods Foundation and his Academy were making a real difference.

And he blew it all.  His life was a mess … and so was his body.

The 2019 Tiger Woods had been humbled.  You could see it in his eyes, in his demeanor, in his answers to reporters’ questions.  You got the sense he had grown a lot as a person these last few years. And Sunday, with a fused spine and months of recovery and rebuilding behind him, he was back on top.

So, how does his story relate to you and me?

Well, we’ve all been there at some time or another to one degree or another … fallen from grace, so to speak … whether by virtue of our own bad choices or simply because stuff happens.

At that point, we’re faced with a decision … show the resolve and do the work necessary to come out the other side or fold our tent and retreat from life.

Tiger Woods just isn’t the kind of guy to fold his tent and go away, and I’m glad, because he’s given us a stunning example of what’s possible when you find yourself in the depths of despair.

I think of my own situation, widowed twice by the time I was 45.

It took a long time and help from a lot of people to be able to fully re-enter life, not to mention a rock-solid determination to serve others.

I wanted very badly to write a happy ending to my life’s story … and so far I’ve managed to do it.

Now, I can’t speak for Tiger, but based on my experience, here are the keys to rising from the depths of despair to come out the other side whole and happy.

You have to:

  • Have a compelling vision of your future and work on your belief that you can realize it.
  • Know you are the creator of your experience … no one else.  What today or tomorrow looks like is up to you … step by step … minute by minute.
  • Be as happy as you can be with where you are as you head toward where you want to be.  As Tiger said, ‘I don’t need to win.  And I really want to win”   Yes, exactly!
  • Be able to tune out the naysayers, especially the ones in your own head.
  • Never abandon your hope for the future.  Never forsake your dreams. Sometimes, they’re all we have.

It’s true enough to say life has its ups and downs.  It’s just that sometimes the downs look like they’re permanent.

It’s not so!  It just appears that way when you’re struggling or suffering.

Always remember, your next “act” on this stage can be a barnburner … if you’ll make it a priority to always keep a good thought, enjoy the life you have, and focus on making tomorrow just that much better than today.

Tiger did it, and so can you and I.





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Meet Denise: Denise Hedges is a Business Development Coach and Speaker Coach for small business owners who want to be more comfortable, confident, and successful with their sales and marketing efforts. She specializes in helping them use speaking as a way to dramatically improve their results!