Life Lessons From Lucy Li

While Michelle Wie certainly deserves all the accolades being sent her way for winning the US Women's Open on Sunday, most of the world has another name on their mind from the prestigious golf tournament... Lucy Li.

The 11 year old from California qualified for the Open by winning an earlier tournament at Half Moon Bay, and speculation soared as she arrived in Pinehurst as to whether she could make the field. The answer came on Thursday after she completed a second round of 78, putting her well below the cut line. The press would not get their dream story of a child prodigy competing against the likes of Stacy Lewis or the eventual winner, Michelle Wie. If you watched the press conference with Li, however, you got a number of timeless life lessons that we so often forget as we get older. Here are just a few:

  • Do what you love. Li's exuberance for golf is not something being forced by her parents or those looking to make a fortune from her brand. She welcomes the challenges brought by the game of golf because she has a true love of the game. How much more motivated would you be if your passions were aligned with your choice of action on a daily basis?
  • Be authentic. Watching Li holding an ice cream bar, giggling, and responding to reporter's questions was refreshing. As adults we tend to hide who we really are under layers of insecurity and suspicion. We switch from one facade to another, hoping to present ourselves in a way that will garner us the most favor with those in front of us. Li's behavior was a simple reminder that we connect most with those who are honest and real in their interactions with us. An 11 year old was behaving like... an 11 year old.
  • Don't let your past hold you back. In her interview (not the excerpt posted above), Li was asked about how she handled the pressure of trying to perform well at each hole. Her response resonated far beyond golf and even sports: "Just be patient and not care about what happened, just go to the next shot and hit it like nothing, like it's the first shot." How would our own work performance and life success improve if we followed her advice, and saw each moment as our "first shot."
  • Seize the moment. When asked what she planned to do for the rest of the day after her round of golf, Li immediately responded with, "Eat more ice cream." She didn't give some grandiose answer about enjoying the experience or reviewing her two double bogeys... she knew there would be time for that later.

There are those who question subjecting an 11 year old to such enormous pressure, and how it might affect her in the future. I've even been one of those people in the past. For now, however, Lucy Li has a healthy perspective on life that is refreshing. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to get some ice cream.

What life lesson can you learn from someone else today?