While I’m no “million-miler,” I have been flying a lot lately. Covering parts of both the PNW and Rocky Mountain PGA Sections, I’ve been to Montana, Idaho and Florida in the last month. As my flight from Boise came in earlier this week, through some of the heaviest fog I’ve seen in a while, I was once again reminded of my position when I’m flying.

On approach to SeaTac, we were flying in through the clouds and the standard rain prevalent to the area.  We were bouncing along through the thick layer of clouds, where you couldn’t see anything above or below but the lights on the wings.  Normally, there is a point where the clouds break (about 1000’ or more) and you can see the lights on building, roads, etc. It took longer this time. Many of us have experienced this before.

We either give in to fear or trust, because, after all, we’re just the passengers on this jet.  Literally, all we have is trust… our trust in the pilot, our trust in the plane (its parts and the mechanics who put it together) and our trust in the plan, the staff in the tower at SeaTac. Except for the times we’re “bouncing” along in the sky, we don’t even give these “trust points” a second thought, do we?

What does the pilot trust in?  He or she also trusts in the plane, but more importantly they also TRUST THEIR OWN SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE, their ability to read the instruments on the plane and follow the flight plan they developed before taking off.  To take off, with literally hundreds of people (plus their families at home) counting on you for their safety, must be a huge responsibility, and I am glad these pilots take it very seriously.

Can we apply these principles to the work of a golf professional?  (I’m going to try of course.)  Difference making and responsibility taking is what separates THE PILOT (or the Captain) from the passengers. In the last two decades, it’s my view that too many professionals have been willing to take a seat in the back as passengers, or a steward, or maybe even the First Officer in leading their facility or their operation (although sometimes it may feel like it hasn’t been their choice as someone higher up made the choice for them).  Either way, they’ve let someone else be The Pilot who defines where their “career-craft” (like a plane) is going and when.

As a result, many professionals feel helpless, held down by their own well-meaning and effective work ethic standards. As a result, too much focus is given to getting the urgent activities of work done every day, and the very important activities of career development and planning are set aside.

Maybe you’ve been one of these pros? Maybe you’ve been working very hard for five or ten years, but still feel like you haven’t gotten anywhere in your career. (Of course, that is not true, but that may point to being constantly overwhelmed by the “urgent”.) But, it’s not too late.

As my Dad mentored me, often using these words, I would like you to consider this statement:  You are now who you have been becoming. What do they mean to you – and your career as it is, at this very moment? If you’re not yet who you want to be (we should all be looking to improve, to grow) – now is the time to set aside the urgent to focus (and act upon) what is important. Be the Pilot of your career and start today.

To help you and any peers you would like to share this with, our PGA Career Services team has launched an online course to take you through the process, beginning with an exploration of your values. From there, we can create a pathway that is more likely to create happiness, and therefore more likely to lead to success. It’s time to move from the middle of your “career-craft” to the cockpit. And don’t worry, I will be there to work with you as you start and progress through the course.


Are you ready for takeoff?

Monte Koch, PGA Certified Professional/Player Development | Career Consultant
PGA Career Services | PGA of America
Serving PGA professionals, employers in the Pacific NW & Rocky Mountain PGA Sections
Email: Mkoch@pgahq.com Cell: 206/335-5260