“Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people.” – Jim Rohn

In the famous movie, “Ocean’s Eleven” (2001), a memorable line comes out as the movie reaches it’s finale. Tess (played by Julia Roberts) says to Terry Benedict (the owner of the casino/hotel, played by Andy Garcia): “You of all people should know Terry, in your hotel, there’s always someone watching.”

Every day, in every public interaction or behavior, we all have the opportunity to raise our brand or decrease our brand. Because, just as Tess said in Ocean’s Eleven, “there’s always someone watching.”


  • If you’re an aspiring young professional:
    • The someone who is watching could be a head professional, general manager, board member or an owner who will remember you (and your professionalism or lack of it).
  • If you’re an experienced professional who is looking for talent or similar:
    • The someone who is watching could be a talented young professional evaluating you, your management style and the culture you’ve cultivated (or are cultivating) at your facility. They may be looking at the “dirt you’ve been working/leading others in” and think, “Can I flourish there?” as they notice you (and your professionalism or lack of it).
  • Watching happens everywhere: This includes at work, at events and your social media. In some cases, watching can also mean listening.

Should we dread or fear the watching, should we ignore it…or would we be advised to consider each of these public interactions as an opportunity to shine? If it’s the latter, how do we shine then?

Most of these opportunities TO SHINE (or tarnish) our reputation authentically are going to be in public situations.

  • Where others can observe us via:
    • Our actions: These speak louder than words, especially how we engage with others. Do our actions elevate the environment we’re in or do they drag the feeling down? Are we showing professionalism? Are we showing restraint?
    • Our nonverbal behaviors: Like our actions, our nonverbal behaviors are very loud. When we are under the weight of negative emotions, these nonverbal actions can negatively highlight our character weaknesses, our “hurt pockets” and similar. Sometimes, like when we handle a poor bounce on a golf shot, our ability to control and reframe the negative result can create a place where our nonverbals can shine a light on the strength of our character and professionalism. That “bad bounce” (on the course, or in life) is a threat for sure, but it is also an opportunity that can be flipped through a good perspective, a good attitude and some patience.
    • Our “fruit”: Success in our career is typically quantified in terms of value for our employer. In other words, what value do we bring to the topline? What do we produce? One could call this value or results something else – fruit. Like our actions, the fruit(s) we produce in terms of results are a measurable scorecard of who we are as employees, friends, spouses and friends. In some cases, the actions, nonverbal behaviors and results produced by someone’s protégé can net out positively or negatively on that person’s mentor. Think about it, when you watch a child’s actions and behaviors, you make assumptions about their parents and how they are parented, because that child has seen and been molded by their parent(s).
  • Where others can listen to us via:
    • Our words: While actions speak louder than words, our words can be very powerful and meaningful when they align with our actions. On the positive side, the right words supported by the right actions and nonverbal behaviors can be effective. When there is a lack of alignment, the message is muddled and nets out to be hazy.
    • Our tone: Along with our words, our tone is how the message is delivered. Without the right tone, even the right words can and will likely fall flat. We never know when an interaction with a member, guest or fellow professional will “need to count” for us, so it’s probably best to treat them as if they all count (because they do) .
    • Our attitude: This is our approach each situation we encounter. Expecting a few bad bounces, not like Eeyore the donkey (from Winnie the Pooh) with a sense of dread. Instead, with a sense of pragmatism, that they are “just a part of life” and these are opportunities versus threats and similar.
    • Our thoughtfulness: A genuine awareness of others’ lives, needs and feelings can make a huge impact on how we approach a situation, how much empathy we have and how well we can (or can’t) respond to a situation. Intentionality is key here as thoughtfulness is not an intrinsic or natural behavior for any of us. In fact, the opposite is true.
  • Where others can observe our “impact” via:
    • Difference making: Similar to our fruit, does the fact that we are there make things brighter, lighter and “righter” (or not?) Or, based on the tone, the words and the nonverbals we have on display, does the atmosphere feel heavy to others around us?
    • Some observers might review our impact with considerations like the below:
      • Do we elevate our team? Do our effort(s) or input(s) make the outcomes better? Is our “wins against replacement” (WAR) rating higher than the person who used to be in your position?
      • Do we bring authentic positivity to the situation in a way that lightens the stress, the pressure, etc. on others?

To reiterate the point once more, someone is always watching and usually they’re keeping score. Are you putting “good points” on the scoreboard or drawing them down? Are you spending time networking with strong, highly professional mentors who are elevating your score, your values and the meaning in your life?

Life is best played with integrity with an intentional commitment to making it count. Let’s commit for the rest of 2021 that we will make our career count as we leverage each day we’re given to impact, encourage and uplift those we work with, those we serve and those we impact.

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

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