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American Idol Syndrome
By Anne Marie Goslak

I love watching American Idol. My favorite part is in the beginning of the season. Thatís when someone with no vocal ability whatsoever says, “Well, my Daddy says I sing like an angel so that MUST mean I have talent!” Meanwhile, any creature with ears can tell you this person is not destined to be a star. Call me sick, but I find their shock and dismay humorous. I often wonder, “How did this person get this far in life, yet somehow miss the fact that they lack the ability to sing?”

I think I have an explanation. I call it “AIS: American Idol Syndrome”. AIS affects people when they surround themselves with folks who Ďblow smokeí and tell them they are better than they are. They begin to believe they are destined for great things. Sadly, when reality sets in, it is a painful moment of clarity.

Kids are being told, “We are all winners!” Everyone gets a trophy. Because adults in their early twenties can be paid at lower rate, they are often tossed into the deep end of the employment pool too early. Their bosses “empower them” to tackle a project they have not yet developed the skill set required to succeed. Rather than take the time to train or mentor, those around them simply cover them with false compliments. They are left to figure out things on their own. Without accurate information, they assume they are doing great. They are shocked when a bounty of rewards fails to come their way.

Meanwhile, somewhere in reality, there is a college coach who is only interested in finding a player in the top 1% in the country to fill a spot on his team. There is a player who believes he can get his PGA tour card, but his average chipping distance from the pin is 10 ft. And there is a young man in corporate America who is being laughed at by his peers because of his lack of presenting skills. Canít you just hear him saying, “But my boss said I was great?!” On American Idol, itís funnyÖ. In real life, not so much.

So how do you know if the feedback you are getting is honest? Use more than one source.

1-The numbers donít lie. Track your statistics over a 6-12 month period.

2-Between lessons, video tape your swing and work in the mirror to be SURE you are making the swing changes you desire.

3-Consult with an expert. Donít be afraid to interview your potential golf pro, asking, “How many beginners have you taught, over the age of 50?” “Do you have any experience helping kids get college scholarships?” “Have you ever taught someone with disabilities?”

American Idol Syndrome does not exist on my lesson tee. I am completely honest because I believe that only specific feedback will help you refine your game. Whether you want to play social golf or turn pro, your goal deserves honesty. I challenge you to be honest, be accurate and be successful.

-Anne Marie Goslak