Friday night, PGA Tour rookie Charlie Beljan was wondering if he’d live another day. On Sunday afternoon, he was standing in the winner’s circle of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic just outside Orlando, Fla.
In Friday’s second round, Beljan, who was previously 139th on the money list, shot a 64 including two eagles and six birdies — all while suffering difficulty breathing, a rapid heartbeat and feeling like he was going to faint. Immediately following his second round, Beljan was rushed to a nearby hospital, with all tests coming back inconclusive and it being called anxiety and panic attacks. What’s more is he wasn’t released from the hospital until early Saturday morning, getting about one hour of sleep before his third round tee time.
Those who suffer panic attacks will tell you it’s one of the most terrifying experiences — the ultimate fight or flight response causing an array of both mental and physical symptoms including: a rapid heartbeat, numbness, sweating or chills, uncontrollable shaking, lightheadedness, confusion, shortness of breath and a barrage of negative and horrifying images that make you feel as if you’re about to die, lose control or need to escape the situation you’re in.
It’s remarkable enough that Charlie Beljan was able to confront his anxiety and step back on the golf course, and it’s truly incredible he went on to win the championship. This is the ultimate example of mental toughness — and there are lessons to be learned for all of us.
Champions Handle Fear like a Snake Charmer
The relationship performers have with fear is a significant distinction between amateurs and professionals. Amateurs are controlled by their fears, while professionals learn to embrace fear. The great ones use the energy and intensity of fear to drive them to great heights. They learn how to become comfortable while performing in an uncomfortable state of mind.
Repeated exposure to their fears systematically desensitizes them, eventually depleting the fear. An interesting phenomenon often occurs after this desensitization process: performers fall in love with the activity they used to fear. Whatever your fears, be it public speaking, flying, spiders or anything else, the freedom you will gain from overcoming these fears will leave you wondering what took you so long to confront the fear in the first place.
Beljan will undoubtedly have to learn to control the fear and work through it better, and if he can, the sky is truly the limit.
by Steve Siebold, Huffington Post