One of my favorite movies of all time is The Legend of Bagger Vance. Not that I'm such a great golfer (in fact, I'm not a golfer at all, although my boys are recruiting me), but the lessons, principles, and cinematography (good job, Robert Redford) are excellent.
The precept is that a young man, who was a gifted golfer as a youth, went to World War I and came back messed up. He couldn't golf anymore, feeling responsible for the death of his comrades, and unable to clear his head. Ten years later a mysterious caddy named Bagger Vance shows up to work him through his challenges. The young man, called Captain Juna, said he had lost his swing. Bagger Vance shows him what an "authentic swing" is by referring him to his competitors. Although his competitors had radically different styles, they were both effective at the game because they played it their way, their authentic way, doing what they were born to do.
Captain Juna goes through many ups and downs during the big three day tournament. Sometimes he catches a break and does well for a while, but then his reaction to it is arrogance and cockiness. Then he messes up horribly and gets dejected and loses confidence, whining that he shouldn't be playing at all. Finally, when it is almost too late for Captain Juna to have a chance in the competition, Bagger Vance pulls him aside and says, "It's time." Juna resists at first, but Bagger Vance presses the point, telling Juna that it is time to move on with his life, time to drop the baggage of the past, time to find his authentic swing and do what he was born to do.
I love this movie because I see its application so much in the development of leaders and in helpling people achieve success. Rarely do I meet people who lack the ability to become great leaders and achieve great things. Rather, I meet people who have been through some wars in their life and it has left their heads messed up. They feel responsible (as they may be) for damages in their life, and they deem themselves not worthy of accomplishing anything. It's as if they have already died and are waiting to make it official. Add to this the negative messages the world sends them about "not trying too hard," not wasting time trying to achieve greatness, not risking anything, not getting their "hopes up," and you can see that their self-talk, mixed with the world's "mediocrity talk," is a breeding ground for insignificance and unhappiness. But just like Bagger Vance, I get to tell people that "it's time," it's time to find their authentic swing, that thing that they were born with the skills to do, that thing that makes them come alive, that thing that they know, deep down inside, that they are supposed to achieve. This usually involves reminding them that they were born with the seeds of greatness inside. That God makes people and he doesn't make mistakes. That they were born for something meaningful, even if the world doesn't agree with it.
Bagger Vance has a term in the movie he calls being "in the field." It's when a person is fully authentic, doing what they are supposed to do, using their God-given gifts the way they were intended. It's as if everything comes together at moments like that, and it doesn't matter what the critics say, what the world says, or even what your relatives say, when you discover your authentic calling and are living right smack dab in the middle of it, you are "in the field," and there is no better feeling in the world!
Sadly, almost nobody that we run into in our daily lives is living with anywhere near this kind of purpose or authenticity. How tragic. A person is born with all the hopes and possibilties that life has before them, then somehow just wastes it in days of insignificance and misalignment.
Don't let that happen to you. I don't care how old you are, what "wars" you've been through to this point, or what Forbes Magazine might say about you, it is only up to you how you live your life. It has to look right to you, and you only. You were born and built for a purpose, and it's not too late.
In fact, IT'S TIME.