I grew up watching a pro.
Even when he didn’t know I was watching.
Dad was born 7 minutes from the first tee at historic St. Andrews in Scotland. By the time he left the old country with a truckload of schoolboy trophies, he was hailed as a golfing prodigy. Stories of his exploits on the links filled Scottish newspapers. Eventually, he moved to Canada, turned professional at a club in Toronto and went on to post over 100 tournament victories, set many course records and compete on several national stages.
In every sense of the word, Dad’s actions on the golf course defined the word “professional”.
- Never late for a tee-time.
- Never a curse word or thrown club after a missed shot.
- Never blaming anyone but himself for a lousy round.
- Always in control of his emotions in the heat of battle.
- Always respectful of his opponents.
- Always honouring the rules, traditions and spirit of the game.
Taking my cues from a lifetime of silent demonstration, Dad inspired me to apply timeless, universal lessons from how he performed on the links to the work that I am honoured to do with great companies and top performers every single day. Since I still struggle to break 100 as a golfer, I try instead to figure out how to adapt what I saw as a boy when Dad first started bringing me to the tournaments he competed in. Exhibiting qualities such as VISION, DECISION-MAKING, PREPARATION, PERFORMANCE, SPORTSMANSHIP, HUMILITY & PATIENCE, my soft-spoken father has been a major influence in work that I have performed.
As an in demand Resource Speaker with TEC Canada and Vistage International, I've had the honor of speaking to over 100,000 people in many different countries. I've worked with hundreds of CEO’s, senior executives and solopreneurs to help them reinvent and re-ignite their companies and careers. I've also been blessed beyond belief to work with some of the world’s most dynamic companies like the Apple Specialist Marketing Group while sharing conference stages with icons such as Richard Branson and Gene Simmons.
Between the examples set by Dad’s work ethic and my late mother’s “There is NO such word as CAN’T!” attitude, I was fortunate to be able to bounce back from the day I he was unceremoniously fired from a two-decade broadcasting career with the news plastered on the front pages of the hometown paper. Back then, few would have bet a plug nickel that I would rise from the ashes of the unemployment line and become an internationally-recognized author, speaker and entrepreneur; earning national awards from high level CEO organizations.
But, few would have had a ready-made role model who unknowingly taught his only son how to approach the life of business and the business of life with a mindset similar to that of a pro golfer. Unlike popular team sports like football, soccer, hockey, baseball and basketball, the professional golfer only gets compensated for the actual results he or she achieve. There are no guaranteed contracts. No team-mates or referees to bitch about. Nobody else to blame if you miss a putt, shank one in the woods or fail to make the cut. In that respect, pro golfers like Dad could never afford to worry about the layout of a particular course, the weather conditions or what the rest of the playing field was or wasn’t doing.
I now refer to that type of mindset as taking 1001% Responsibility for the thoughts and energies directed inward towards the activities and mental energies you CAN control; as opposed to wasting time and valuable brain space on external situations, people, spouses or circumstances you have ZERO ability to control.
It is precisely this approach in 2006 that saw some independent business owners astounded to see their enterprises grow more than 10-fold over a 5-year period. It also allowed for the development of some counter intuitive theories about business and branding to be sprinkled in 2010 through the critically acclaimed book, Nuts, Bolts And A Few Loose Screws. And now that I am based in London, ON, the spirit of 1001% Responsibility is woven through The Reinvention Chronicles, a weekly online journal with a growing global audience that inspires readers to re-think, re-create and re-imaginate their company, community or career.
A standard white-washed resume or biography would tell you my educational background, employment history and that I am a former broadcaster who racked up more than 10,000 interviews and 30,000 on-air appearances in a two-decade radio and television journalism career. It would also reveal that I am a life-long Pittsburgh Steelers fan, classic rock junkie, father of two cocker spaniels (Theodore & Sophie) and a proud member of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers.
But, I think by now you know what I am most proud of.
I hope Dad is too.
“After the bare requisites to living and reproducing, man wants most to leave some record of himself, a proof, perhaps, that he has really existed. He leaves his proof on wood, on stone or on the lives of other people”