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Mike’s Motivation Monday

Motivation Monday is written weekly by NEPGA Executive Director Michael Higgins.  It is his effort to help provide motivation and encouragement for NEPGA Professionals, Partners and Staff that will hopefully help you begin your week on the right foot.  Motivation Mondays will include a “Quote of the Week” and a story that will hopefully keep you motivated and in a positive state of mind.

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On January 4, 1950, my father born in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Three years ago today, on January 10, 2019, my father lost his long battle with Dementia.  That was a difficult day, and if you know someone who had Alzheimer’s or Dementia, you know there were many difficult days leading up to that day.  That disease doesn’t define my dad, and before he got sick, he loved to play golf, he loved music and he loved his family. READ MORE.

How prepared are you to take on your day?  How prepared are you for the entire 2022 season?  Sometimes it comes down to basic preparation and being ready when and where others are not.

John Wooden, the former basketball coach of the UCLA Bruins, won 10 national championships, including seven titles in a row! READ MORE

Does your facility or your operation perform at a high level? US Navy Seals are one of the highest performing organizations on the planet.  I watched an interview with a former SEAL who was asked during the interview, “who makes it through BUDS?”  “Who makes it through the selection process to become a SEAL?” READ MORE

As children we all looked at some of our parents’ habits or tendencies as annoying or at times embarrassing.  Then, as parents ourselves, we create similar situations with our own children that allow us to put how our parents acted into perspective.  Many of us have become those same “annoying or embarrassing” people. READ MORE

Ten years from now, it won’t matter what you shot in that golf tournament, it won’t matter what type of golf shoes you wore, or what type of clubs you played.  What will matter is how you lived, how you loved, and what you learned along the way.

I am not telling you something that you don’t already know or something you have not heard from plenty of other people, but most of us go through our days being easily distracted and we get derailed by the insignificant.  Especially when it comes to work. READ MORE

A few weeks ago, we were finally able to conduct our 2020 and our 2021 Awards Banquets.  Those two evenings are such special events for the award winners and their families.  It is great to see the best of the best in New England and to celebrate them in front of their friends and families. Winning a Section Award is something that should be celebrated.  Each award winner is the only PGA Professional out of the 1100 we have in our Section to receive that special honor for the entire year.  It is special and huge honor! READ MORE

Best practices can be extremely valuable for coming up with new ideas for your operation.

I constantly connect with my fellow Executive Directors to learn about their member programs, education topics, tournament formats, partners, etc.  Those conversations are so valuable and keep pushing me to do more with the Section to keep things exciting and new.  I also love sharing some of the successes we have had in New England to help my fellow ED’s and Sections around the country elevate their games whenever possible.  READ MORE.

During this week of Thanksgiving many of us have much to be thankful for.  There are many others who are struggling this time of year and sometimes one simple act of kindness is all that is needed to turn around someone’s day or even life.  I recently read this story about an experience had by a cab driver, which hopefully will inspire each reader to be just a little nicer this holiday season.

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes, I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift, I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked. “Just a minute”, answered a frail, elderly voice.  I could hear something being dragged across the floor.  READ MORE.

In September of 2010 the Executive Director of the NEPGA suddenly left his position and the NEPGA ship was left without a captain.  At the time, we were a very small staff and there were only four of us left to oversee the operation.  Knowing that we were not going to immediately have a new Executive Director, we all took on a few more responsibilities and our goal was to make sure the Section didn’t skip a beat, and the membership was not impacted.

Over the next few weeks I did a lot of soul searching about what I wanted to do with my career, and I decided that I would apply for the open Executive Director position.  I approached the leadership at the time and asked them for the opportunity to serve as the interim ED.  I tried to sell them on my years of service to the Section, my industry knowledge and my desire to be in that position.  The leadership appreciated my efforts but decided that it is in the best interest of the membership that a national search be conducted, and the proper diligence be done in this process.  READ MORE.

A couple years ago the NEPGA Employment Consultant, Facility Relations Committee Chairperson and I conducted what we referred to as “Career Check Ups.”  Each check up was scheduled for about 45 minutes and this was an opportunity for NEPGA Professionals to ask us questions about the industry, review their resume and cover letter, work on their career goals/aspirations, or what ever else we could discuss about employment that might be helpful with their careers.

We wanted to bring this service to the membership and attempted to conduct one check up session in each NEPGA Chapter.  We tried to schedule between 6 – 8 PGA Professionals each day, and the range of the attendees varied.  We had Associates, Head Professionals, Directors of Golf, Assistant Professionals looking for a Head Professional Position, suspended members and even a few new members to the Section.  This exercise was as valuable for me as it hopefully was for each of the attendees, and I look forward to bringing it back this offseason.  Hopefully there will be an interest.  READ MORE.

It was great to travel to each chapter meeting this fall and see so many NEPGA Professionals.  In many cases this was the first time in two years (non-virtual) that I was able to see certain people.  It was like running into old friends that I had not seen in a while and picking up right where we left off.  I think it is so important that we continue to gather at our Section and Chapter Meetings, as it is an important part of our business and our industry.  There is no better way to network, engage others that are experiencing the same things you are, and be a part of the association of which you belong.  READ MORE.

Author Seth Godin tells a story about a time when he was driving through the countryside.  As the trip dragged on, he and his fellow passengers were amazed by how many cows they passed.  Just the sheer number of cows they were looking at seemed as though they were being surrounded.  Everyone in the vehicle could not stop talking about all the cows.  “Look at the size of that cow.”  “All those cows over there are sitting down.”  “How much do you think that cow weighs?”  But then something happened.  The cows ceased to be interesting. There were so many of them that they became expected or boring. That’s when Seth realized that to be truly remarkable, a cow would have to be purple to stand out.  If there was a giant purple cow in the middle of the hundreds and hundreds of cows in the field, it certainly would be noticed.  How could it not be noticed?  READ MORE.

In April of 1911, Louis A. Biuso was born in a small town in Italy where life was extremely difficult.  Food was scarce, money was even more scarce, and as a small child his family decided to move to the United States.  Louie’s father Anthony was a barber by trade and a proud Italian who wanted to live in an area of the United States with a strong Italian population.  When he arrived in New York he searched for someone who spoke Italian, and when he found that person he asked, “where do the Italians live?”  That man could have said anywhere, but the town he uttered was Milford, Massachusetts.  Anthony purchased a bus ticket, a sticker was put on his chest that said Milford, Massachusetts and off he went.  READ MORE.

This entire year many of us have felt like circus performers juggling flaming swords at both home and work.  There are so many companies in our industry that have been wrestling with broken supply chains and lack of a labor force, it doesn’t feel like we have had much relief.  Add in the consistent flow of golfers at our facilities and we find ourselves having to say no more often.  READ MORE.

When I was younger, my father would come home from work and the first thing he would do was grab the newspaper and for the next 45 minutes we knew he was going to read the paper from cover to cover.  This was his way to unwind after work, and my sister and I knew that once he was done, we would have dinner and he would then have the rest of the night to be with us.  We all know of people that have their own unwind routine after a long day at the office.  Maybe it is a glass of wine or scotch, maybe it is hitting the gym or going for a run, maybe it’s even something such as cooking or meditating. READ MORE.

It is now officially the employment season in the New England Section.  The employment season is typically when PGA Professionals or facilities decide to make a change.  This is also when contract negotiations begin, and PGA Professionals negotiate their compensation for the following year.  Currently the number of NEPGA Professionals who have filled out their compensation profiles is quite low.  This does not allow us to produce strong, supportive data, and at the end of the day it could hurt you in your efforts.  If you have not filled out your compensation profile yet, I implore you to do so.  Help me to be able to help you and your fellow PGA Professionals.  READ MORE.

At 8:46 AM on September 11, 2001 I was sitting at my desk in the NEPGA Office on the second floor of Cyprian Keyes GC, in Boylston MA.  A friend of mine called me a few minutes later and told me that a small plane had flown into the World Trade Center.  Ironically, I had recently watched a documentary on the construction of the Empire State Building, and how it was so strongly constructed, that in 1945 a B-25 Bomber flying from New Bedford, MA to LaGuardia Airport flew into the side of the building.  Sadly 14 people were killed that day, but the building held.  READ MORE

This year I have had a few conversations with PGA Professionals that claim their managers are not very good at managing.  Some of these cases are a result of a new manager doing something for the first time, but sometimes a new manager will hit a roadblock that might not have to do with inexperience.  READ MORE

The 101st NEPGA Section Championship was played last week and it has always been one of my favorite weeks of the year.  There are many reasons why it is my favorite but being able to connect with many NEPGA Professionals over the three days, the ability to work closely with two amazing facilities, and the NEPGA team gets to put on a show are just a few.  READ MORE

In the spirit of today’s Section Championship, I would like to share a quick motivational story from the 1976 NEPGA Championship.  Each Section Championship has its own special feel, its own logistical challenges, and memories that the participants will hopefully have forever.  2021 will mark my 25th NEPGA Championship and I certainly have my share of great stories.  From back-to-back victories to first time winners; from runaway wins to sudden death playoffs.  The NEPGA Championship is never short on excitement, but one of the most exciting finishes almost never happened. READ MORE

By August we are all up to our eyeballs with the golf season. Nice weather and club events are keeping us busy and engaged at our facilities. During this time of the season I am always asking PGA Professionals “How are things going at your facility?” and I follow that question up with “How is your family?”  READ MORE

The advice given in the following story always makes me think, and my hope is that you can relate, and it will do the same for you.

The story goes: The father, who was a chef, took his daughter to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot, and ground coffee beans in the third pot. READ MORE

There are many benefits to being a PGA professional. The ability to make your living around the game that you love, the ability to share your passion and help others enjoy the game of golf, the power to impact lives as a mentor, a leader, a role model, and to be a part of a fraternal community that extends well outside a PGA Professional’s home section. READ MORE

Towards the end of 2020, I started to hear about the “great resignation,” and the unprecedented turnover of employees at businesses.  In April of 2021, almost four million employees left their positions in the U.S., and our industry was not immune.  At this pace nearly 25% of the American workforce could be changing their jobs this year.   In the New England Section I have had many pandemic related conversations of: “I am not sure how much longer I can do this,” or from some of the younger PGA Professionals, “I am not sure if this career is right for me, or I am not sure if I am right for this career.” READ MORE

At the age of 14 my high school golf coach came to me and asked, “the golf pro at our home course is looking for some help in the bag room.  Do you have any interest?”  I couldn’t say yes fast enough!  That next Saturday I showed up at Mt. Pleasant CC (now The Haven), met my new boss Art Harris, PGA, and that is where I would spend the next six summers.  In the summer of 1996, while working at Mt. Pleasant, I also started an internship with the New England PGA, and by the Spring of 1997 I was hired on full time by the NEPGA.  My summers were right where I wanted them to be….around the game of golf! READ MORE

Starting a season strong or even starting a round of golf strong is all well and good, but it’s how well you finish that matters.  My best round of 2020 included a shank and a double bogey on the first hole.  For me, sometimes an early or mid-round reset is needed to start a comeback for what ends up being a great round. READ MORE

During the 1950s, Curtis Richter, a professor from John Hopkins University, conducted brutal and inhumane experiments to demonstrate the power of hope and resilience over a difficult situation.

Richter’s experiments involved placing rats into buckets filled with water to see how long they survived.  He used both domesticated rats and those that were caught in the wild.  Most of the domesticated rats would initially swim around the surface, then dive to the bottom of the bucket to explore their situation, but after only about two minutes they would give up and drown. READ MORE

This Motivation Monday comes to you on July 5th, which is the observed federal holiday of our nation’s independence. We celebrate the 4th of July, or Independence Day each year, but it was actually July 2, 1776 when the Continental Congress voted in favor of declaring themselves independent of British rule.  July 4, 1776 was the day the Declaration of Independence was finalized and written. READ MORE

A few months ago, I wrote about starting your day by eating a live frog.  Once you finish eating the live frog the rest of your day will be a breeze compared to that!  There is another method that expands on “eating a frog,” that’s called the Ivy Lee method.  The key distinction however is that it sets the stage for success the day before. READ MORE

Ever since I was a little kid I was taught about freedom of speech and how it was a constitutional right of all Americans.  It is a principle that guarantees we have the right to share our opinions and ideas freely, without the fear of legal ramifications or censorship.  READ MORE

Stress is a real thing.  We all have a certain amount of it in our lives which can impact our mood and even potentially impact our health.  Many of you reading this carry around an unhealthy amount of stress on a daily basis.  Jobs, a spouse, children, traffic, and even the weather can all contribute to our already stressful days.

This time last year we were right in the middle of a global pandemic and my stress level was at an all-time high.  The uncertainty of not knowing what was going to happen in our industry, not knowing when we were going to be able to conduct any of our events, and worrying about all of our Section PGA Professionals was wearing on me. READ MORE

Golf is viewed as an individual sport, but to have a successful golf operation you need more of a team atmosphere.  To have a successful team atmosphere, you need to be a good teammate.

One of my favorite NBA Players of all time is Steve Nash.  Nash was an exciting player to watch and I always enjoyed seeing how he made the others around him better.  When Nash won the league’s MVP award after the 2004-2005 season, he amazingly led the league in only two categories – assists and touches.  It wasn’t scoring or rebounding.  It wasn’t playing time or field goals.  He led the league in high fives, fist bumps and butt slaps.  Nash was the ultimate teammate.  He was the player you wanted on the court with you, and he was the player who brought out the best in you.  Not only do you want a few Steve Nashes on your team, you want to be a Steve Nash. READ MORE

Memorial Day is a day of ceremonies, speeches and parades.  Today is a day that we honor the deceased men and women who lost their lives serving our country.  We recall and reflect on their sacrifices, their valor; and we remember that they gave their lives for us.  They gave their lives so that we could live.

In 1863, President Lincoln spoke at a ceremony in Gettysburg and reminded the American people that through their deeds, the dead have spoken more eloquently for themselves than any of the living ever could.  He said that the living could only honor the dead by rededicating themselves to the cause that they willingly gave their last full measure of devotion. READ MORE

How many of you have heard the saying “you can learn a lot about a person by the way they handle themselves on the golf course?”  Or “if you cheat in golf you are going to cheat in life.”  Now these certainly are bold statements, but their purpose shows how ethical our great game is, and you absolutely can learn a lot about someone during a round of golf.  As a member of Worcester CC, I am reminded of these ethics every time I play the 11th hole and see the plaque commemorating the time Bob Jones called a penalty on himself during the 1925 U.S. Open.  It may have cost him the championship, but when questioned/praised by reporters following the round he responded: “you might as well praise me for not robbing a bank.”  There was no question in Jones’ mind that he must to what is right and play by the rules. READ MORE

In high school I wasn’t a big vacation reader, and I always dreaded the choices when the summer reading lists were distributed. Then one year a book by Robert Fulghum titled All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten was one of the options.  It was an easy read, and quickly became one of my favorites.  At the time the shared life lessons made sense to me, but they are even more relevant to me today, and this certainly is a book I will suggest my own children read. READ MORE

Over the past fourteen months we have all had to shift the way we look at life and certainly our own personal perspectives.

Just like many of you I looked at my surroundings and was reminded that being the Executive Director of the New England PGA is what I do, but it is not who I am.  You may be a PGA Professional, a sales representative, or a Section staff member, but that does not define who you are.  At my core, I am someone that feels inspired to help and serve others and help them improve their situations or even how they perform at their respective positions. READ MORE

Do you think you deserve a raise at your job?  Do you feel the hours you put in, the dedication to your position and what you bring to your facility warrants an increase?  Unfortunately, that’s not going to cut it. READ MORE

Like many of you I have social media accounts.  I peruse them often and occasionally I might even create a post.  Every individual has their own engagement level on social media, but recently I have noticed a trend, especially by the younger generation, that all major and not so major accomplishments/life activities “need” to be recorded and shared.  Some in almost an over the top cinematic fashion.

When I was a kid the rhetorical, yet philosophical saying was: if a tree falls in the woods and there wasn’t anyone around to hear it, did it actually make a sound?  Do you think today’s expression is the same, or might it sound a little more like: if a tree falls in the woods, but it wasn’t posted on Instagram, did it even happen? READ MORE

Last week I wrote about productivity and how the creation and utilization of To-Do lists can help with your success.  Sometimes our lists can become rather long and if there are one or two large items on the list that you are avoiding, it can lead to procrastination.

Procrastination can kill the momentum of a project or an operation, and from the research I have conducted, there seem to be four types of procrastinators.  Let’s see if you fall into one of these categories. READ MORE

How many of you put together To-Do Lists and try to be more productive?  I am a To-Do list guy and I will admit that when I am able to cross things off my list I feel a sense of accomplishment.  Unfortunately, when I cannot cross items off my list I feel like they are hanging over my head until I finally am able complete them.

I try to start each day with the best intentions.  I am going to get up, eat a healthy breakfast, workout and start my day.  Life typically gets in the way as soon as my feet hit the floor in the morning and it takes a lot of effort to remain motivated and productive.

Maximizing my productivity is very important to my daily success and learning how to maximize my productivity has become a life skill that I continue to try and work on every day.  It is no big secret that the more productive you are the more successful you will be at performing your job. READ MORE.

Good things come to those that wait…or at least that is the saying.  I believe good things come to those who work hard, but also to those that spend time to focus on what they can control in their life.  Wasting time on things that are out of your control is only going to slow down your progress and hinder your success.  I find myself sharing this message with my teenage daughter quite often.  Stop worrying about things that are out of your control, it is not worth it! READ MORE

Great things are rarely achieved by just one single person.  One person may be awarded the credit, but usually great things are accomplished by a group of people who are committed to an overall goal.  As the golf season rolls out in New England having solid teamwork at our facilities is essential to conducting successful events and having a successful season.  READ MORE

If you have been an avid reader of my Motivation Monday’s I first want to thank you for taking the time to join in my thoughts for a few minutes each week.  I’m sure you can tell that I enjoy reading and learning from some of the great minds of business, life, motivation and success.  This week I am going to allow Steve Jobs to provide us a little Motivation Monday, including me.  These were some of Jobs’ last words on earth, and in my humble opinion they are spot on.  READ MORE

Have you ever noticed when you meet someone their first question is always where are you from?  And their second is what do you do for work?  The perception of a person based on their job can create an image that a person is cool, or extremely smart, or even wealthy.  It can create this image that can become synonymous with a person’s identity.  Where we work, or what we do for a living can give us a feeling of belonging, self-esteem, recognition or even define our status.  I know it’s only a job, but a strong work identity for some people can even have an impact on their personal wellbeing.  READ MORE

A friend of mine mentioned that if I wanted to put life into perspective, I should read the book “Chasing Daylight” by Eugene O’Kelly.  It took me a little time to get to it, but I listened to the audio version, and I’m sure glad that I did. READ MORE

How many of you can recall a manager who used to push you? How many of you would agree that their push led to getting the most production out of you?  There are so many different leadership styles and qualities.  Some of which can inspire and motivate, while others, well….not so much.  Steve Jobs’ leadership was…READ MORE

Whenever I am with someone and we meet a person they do not know, I always try and do my best to make introductions.  I never want to leave someone standing alone and not part of the conversation.  It’s inconsiderate for starters, but it can make the situation uncomfortable for everyone involved. READ MORE

Recently I listened to an interview with former Ultimate Fighting Champion Frank Shamrock (born Frank Alisio Juarez, III).  At one time Shamrock was pound-for-pound one of the deadliest men in the world.  He was the first to hold the UFC Middleweight Championship and retired as a four-time defending undefeated champion. READ MORE

PGA Professionals come in contact with so many people day in and day out, and the number of individuals impacted by a PGA Professional throughout their career is difficult to tally.  There are many different systems used by people to live a successful life and have a successful career, and I’m always fascinated to learn of how individuals apply these methods personally. READ MORE

This time of year there is quite a bit of preparation in our industry, and I certainly work with many PGA Professionals to help them prepare for job interviews.  The preparation that goes into this process can be extensive and the hours and hours that are needed just for a thirty-minute interview can be significant.  Preparation, or lack of preparation, is something we can relate to almost every aspect of our lives. READ MORE

Two weeks ago we talked about the importance of never getting too far from the basics.  The most basic concept that we all have is our time.  Respecting your time, appreciating your time and utilizing your time wisely are key components to your happiness and success. READ MORE

On this day of remembrance for the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I thought it only fitting to talk about him during my Motivation Monday article.  I thought I might try and read some of his speeches and look at some of his quotes for inspiration, but I put my head down and the next thing I knew two hours had passed. READ MORE

In 2019, during my speech at the NEPGA Spring Meeting I shared a story about one of my friends from college.  His name is Alan Stein and after graduation from college Alan became a performance and strength coach that worked with some of the most elite high school basketball players in the country. Many of the athletes he worked with are now household names from their time playing in the NBA. READ MORE

During our family dinner on New Year’s Eve we were reflecting on 2020 and the changes we would like to see in the upcoming year.  My son Connor was trying to make a point about how much he despises remote learning and became jumbled up on what year it was and said 2020…. paused for a few seconds, and then blurted out ONE!  It sounded like he was saying 2020 Won READ MORE

As the year from Hades comes to an end and you consider what New Year’s Resolutions you will attempt to keep in 2021, it might be a great time to review 2020 through your minds reflective lens and think long and hard about what lessons you’ve learned this year that could possibly help you in the future. READ MORE

I heard a story that I would like to share about a man named Ryan Estis.  Ryan was traveling through the Minneapolis airport a few years back on Christmas Eve, and he had an interaction with a barista that day that would impacted his life forever. READ MORE


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