Purpose is so influential. Right reasons can make everything right.Learning to play golf was a great adventure. It’s not over. There’s so much more to learn, so many improvements to make, and more fun to have. Because my friend, Nancy, and I are hoping to golf each month of the year, we golfed last week when it was 60, before the 30’s briefly returned.

Although I enjoyed shooting a par 3 on the 7th hole, and other shots demonstrated improvement, there were more shots not worth remembering. Some have told me “that’s golf!”

Because Nancy has proved to be an excellent coach and a fun golfing companion, I can be secure in her. I never feel pressure to be perfect. I don’t even feel pressure to be competent. I hope to be more competent than the last time we played, but I know I don’t need to be as competent as her. It wouldn’t be a fair competition since she’s golfed for years. We both enjoy that I’m improving. This shared joy strengthens our belonging.

If my purpose for golfing was perfection, I would have quit a long time ago. If it was improving, I might have quit 6 months ago when I didn’t see much progress. Because my purpose is fun and exercise, I always have a great experience. And, this purpose protects my competence, security, and belonging.

Purpose protects my identity, too. “I’m having fun learning to play golf” and I’m comfortable with that identity. Someday I may be able to say that my identity is “I play golf.”