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It’s OK to Hate Golf

It sounds so basic, but it's one of the best pieces of advice I've ever received. At a conference I attended years ago, I went to a session targeted at women working in predominately male professions. The speaker was a very high-profile woman who had ascended to the CEO role in an industry dominated by men. She was a dynamic speaker, and after speaking for close to an hour, she took some questions. One person asked her for one piece of advice for the women in the room. Our speaker did not hesitate. “Always be true to yourself,” she said. “You know, it’s ok to hate golf.”


While I don’t remember the specifics of the rest of her story that put her advice in the context of her career, that one statement has stayed with me all these years later, and it’s advice I often share with others. Don’t feel that just because you are a woman, or young, or new to an organization, you have to pretend to be something you’re not. Be true to what matters to you, and that will reap you greater benefits in your career than pretending ever could.

Because playing golf isn’t the end game. Not in the context of the workforce. The comradery is the point. Getting to know your co-workers as people, building trust, and sharing experiences – it’s all about relationships, and we as communications professionals know should know that better than anyone. And those relationships are only effective if you enter into them authentically.

I’m often invited to play golf, and I always decline. But I’m quick to thank the person for the invitation, to ask him how the game went the next time I see him, and to suggest a way for us to catch up another time.

So next time you’re invited to play a round, if you like golf, go for it. If not, suggest lunch or a tennis match the following week. Or offer to drive the drink cart.


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