The pain of regret feels worse than the fear of failure

I’m on a mission.

I’m on a mission to reclaim something that was lost over a decade ago. I don’t know if it will be found, or even if it can be found, but I have to see if it’s still out there somewhere.

Have you ever felt this way? If you’re still in college, you probably don’t know what I’m talking about. But if you’re past 30, as I am, there’s probably something out there – an opportunity, a dream, a hope – and it’s calling your name.

Now, I know it can be dangerous to pursue something like this, and I’m certainly not seeking to interrupt my current opportunities for success, but there is something about this that is safe, and I just have to do this to find out what happens.

Let me give you some history, some context.

When I was 22 years old and a recent college graduate, I had two goals: get married and become a professional golfer. I had the girl in mind, and I had a plan to work at a golf course and start on a mini-tour and see what happened. Things were going well on both fronts: I was dating this girl, which seemed to be going well, and I was playing the best golf of my life as an assistant golf professional at a beautiful course down in Texas.

I continued to dream about playing professional golf, and I started making the plans and putting numbers on paper: how much it would cost for hotel and food and travel, what I could do to minimize my expenses, how I would travel. These were all details I had to work out, and it seemed to all come together when a local golf patron agreed to financially back me up on this opportunity.

I sent in my registration to qualify for a mini-tour based in Texas that toured the southern states, but as soon as I dropped the envelope into the mailbox, a new feeling overwhelmed me. I felt scared. All of the questions of doubt and insecurity flooded my mind, and this dream of playing professional golf quickly became a heavy burden emotionally. I have to admit, I didn’t see this coming nor was I prepared to handle it. Looking back, it was clear: I was afraid to fail at my dream.

I called the corporate office of the mini-tour, informed the lady on the other end that she would be receiving an envelope from me, and I asked her to kindly rip up my registration and the check inside. And that was it. My dream was dead.

Some said it was fate. They said it all worked out as it should, and, no doubt, I wouldn’t change the outcome of my life for anything. I have an amazing wife and two beautiful daughters, amazing friends and a job I enjoy.

But there is a burning question in the back of my mind that lingers every time I tee it up. Would I have made it as a professional golfer? It’s a question I can’t answer because I never tried. Most likely, I’m not good enough, and that’s okay. But not knowing hurts more than the fears of failure I had 13 years ago, and it’s time to find out.

This summer, I am embarking on a journey that will begin with several amateur events, with the goal of qualifying for the U.S. Open in 2015 at Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place, WA. It’s a huge goal, and it’s one I may not reach, but at least I will know.

If I never try, I will always wonder if I was good enough, and the pain of regret feels worse than the fear of failure.

6 thoughts on “The pain of regret feels worse than the fear of failure

  1. Go for it, Trey! When Roger had the opportunity at age 34 to pursue the job of his dreams, we bathed the decision in prayer, and with the peace that offered, went for it! 23 years later, when he faced mandatory retirement, he left that position still wishing he could continue to “work”. It was definitely worth the risk!

    1. Hey Scribelife,

      Thanks for the encouragement. I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Feel free to subscribe to the blog and continue giving me feedback. I truly appreciate it!


  2. Hey Trey-

    I am in the same boat as you! I never really applied myself at golf until now and am now working to bring my handicap down to try and qualify for the Open at Chambers as well! I have a really long road to get there but am doing everything I can to put in the time to work on my game. I wish you all the best and hope to see you on the links sometime!


    1. Ryan,

      Best of luck to you in becoming a scratch golfer and in qualifying for The Open. It’s a difficult task, but you’ll never know unless you try (which I’m just discovering myself).

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