“Showing Up To Play”
I N T R O D U C T I O N
The path of life can be full of twists and turns. These turns may be filled with beautiful scenery but also with unpredictable detours and roadblocks. This journey must be taken by all humans: rich or poor, college graduate or high school dropout, man or woman. And, the trip is as unpredictable and varied as the souls that must take it.
As we search for purpose in our journey through life and attempt to find success―“success,” of course, being defined differently for each individual―we struggle to find answers to the situations that confront us along the road. These are the questions that have baffled mankind for centuries. It seems so contradictory that the things that are our greatest joys and bring us the most happiness can, in a moment, bring us pain, anguish, and sorrow.
As I traveled my road of life and spent years in search of success―success that at times seemed elusive―the oddest thing happened. I began to find that the answers to my search were echoed in the strangest place. That place was in a game: the game of golf. In one moment, the sunshine pours down on a stunning fairway covered with fresh dew, then suddenly a lost ball, a sand trap, or a water hazard throws up a roadblock or forces you into an unpredictable detour. The twists and turns of golf mimic those we find on viii Showing Up to Play the path of life. They come without warning and without exception.
A perfect swing, a chip shot that rolls to the hole, your first new car, or your first love―these are the small wins that keep us coming back to the golf course and keep us driving forward in our lives.
As you read this book, please understand that this is not an instructional book on golf. You will not be able to figure out how to take that slice out of your tee shot or get out of the sand bunker in one. Instead, what I hope you will take from reading this book are a couple of things. First, I hope you will derive some humor from these true stories that have arisen from my life on the golf course. Second, I hope you also will see the correlation that I’m making between the challenges that we all face in our lives and those we face as we tee off at the golf course. Golf has helped me find direction in my journey through life. My hope is that my experiences in the world of golf will help you to find the same.
So much happens to us along life’s road, in golf, and in our everyday experiences. Hard work, passion, persistence, and never taking ourselves too seriously can help us navigate the many twists and turns with which we are faced as we drive toward the success that we all so greatly desire.
This was driven home for me (pun intended) during a recent day on one of my favorite courses. I was scheduled to speak at an industry meeting the next day when the lure of the golf course called to me. So, I stole an opportunity to play eighteen holes by myself.
As I was playing my round, I was soaking in every moment of that early spring day. Although the wind and Robert A. Fiacco ix cold were overpowering at the beautiful mountain retreat at which I found myself, the views were nonetheless breathtaking. I was looking down on the historic brick resort and thinking of the famous individuals who had stayed there in years gone by. The list includes inventors such as Thomas Edison and Henry Ford and twenty-three future or sitting presidents, including Dwight D. Eisenhower, a five-star general, Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, and thirty-fourth president of the United States. The chance to play in this majestic, historic setting even outweighed the weather. On the number ten hole, I stepped out of my golf cart for a quick drink of water from a nearby water cooler. When I sat back down in the cart, a gust of wind blew my favorite Panama hat, a Christmas gift from my wife, from my head and sent it flying toward the woods. After I jumped across the passenger side of the cart, I took flight in pursuit of it as it tumbled toward the tree line. Happily, I rescued my beloved hat just before it was swallowed up by the nearby forest and then quickly ran back to my cart, hoping no one had observed the ridiculous spectacle of a grown man chasing after a hat.
Stepping into the passenger side from whence I had started the chase, I slipped and my foot pushed on the gas pedal. Unfortunately, it also wedged under the brake, causing the cart to take off like a rocket. As I was barely in the vehicle, I had to lunge toward the steering wheel, throwing it to the left in a mad frenzy as I flew toward a twenty-foot drop just off the cart path. At this point, the speeding cart jerked in one direction, and I was catapulted out of it in the other direction and straight at the twentyfoot drop I was hoping to avoid. I thus became a twohundred- forty-five-pound human cannonball who was x Showing Up to Play flying through the air roughly fifteen to twenty feet off the ground. It should be noted, however, that I did still have my beloved Panama hat on.
Landing on the soft green with a thud, my body shook from head to toe, momentarily causing me concern as to whether or not anything was damaged. As I took an assessment of my body parts and realized that nothing had been injured but my pride, I noticed that the nearby landscapers had all turned to watch the scene. They were, of course, concerned to see a grown man being thrown from his own golf cart. But, as I brushed myself off and gave them a wave with a big smile and a shake of my head, they saw that I was fine and I felt their concern melt into laughter as I envisioned them feeling that they had just missed out on a sure $10,000 winner on America’s Funniest Home Videos. It wasn’t my proudest moment, but it nevertheless highlights my thoughts on the game of golf and on life.
We have to enjoy the good moments (being out on the marvelous golf course on that glorious spring day) and hang on through the bad (flying through the air toward a twenty-foot drop). We have to know what our intended destination is and stick to the cart path that leads us there. When we forget where we’re headed and go off the beaten path, we make things harder for ourselves, heading for twenty-foot drops and painful (emotional or physical) tumbles. Sometimes even the best-intentioned people laugh at the spectacle we make of ourselves, but we can’t let them get inside our heads. It’s best just to laugh along with them, brush ourselves off, take a deep breath, and continue on toward our goals. Only persistence will get Robert A. Fiacco xi us to the eighteenth hole. To achieve your goals, a lot of persistence (and patience) is needed.
As a young boy growing up, I had absolutely no interest in or understanding of golf. In fact, in the neighborhood I grew up in, if you had a club in your hand you were probably hitting someone with it. That being said, even a non-golfer knew of the immortal Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus and the battles they waged on and off the golf course.
Arnold Palmer once said, “Golf is deceptely simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening―and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented.”1 It’s this wonderful two-sidedness, this complicated nature, that meshes so perfectly with the way we live our lives. Sometimes in life, as in golf, elements are beyond our control. The game―of golf, as the game of life―can be brilliant and excruciating; yet no matter the circumstances with which we’re faced, we play on in pursuit of success.
1 Palmer, Arnold. “Part I: Good Golf Is A State Of Mind.” Sports Illustrated 15 July 1963: n. pag. Web.
“Discover Your Treasure 20 Keys to Success”
Why am I writing this book? Over the past thirty-eight years as I have made my way through the world, I have stumbled and I have fallen; I have also won and tasted the fruits of success and victory. Along the way, I have questioned myself and the path I was on. At times, I felt as if the world had a “buried treasure” of secrets that were being kept from me. I searched for a map and key to unlock this hoard of knowledge that would yield me wealth, happiness, and peace of mind. This search has taken me to many places and exposed resources that, if I had less desire to win in life, I might have never discovered.
I’m also writing this book because it is my great hope to share the knowledge I have uncovered and to provide you with the “keys” to unlock the treasures your heart desires. I will share some of my personal experiences, as I feel I am an average person who has had common challenges all individuals can relate to. Throughout each chapter, you will also find treasure chests. They represent the points I consider most pertinent, and can act as markers on your journey through life.
As you read, you will notice some of my writing relates to sales. This is because my career path has led me into this field and it has become my great passion. Teaching, training, and inspiring sales representatives have become my life’s work; however, I truly believe my words will help you no matter your profession or the dreams you may have. You see, the principles of success are universal and consistent, regardless of your path.
The keys that I will share in this book I have discovered through my life’s journey, which I am happy to say still goes on. I have discovered many of the keys from reading and studying the habits of successful men and women (both living and deceased), being mentored by successful individuals at different times in my life, and certainly by trial and error.
My journey has been both fascinating and frustrating. The search for the treasure has been an adventure I would not change for all the riches in the world. It is the journey and the search, not the treasure, that provides the great spice in life. I hope you find this book helpful in your journey.
I hope it will give you pause, make you laugh, and most importantly, help you find the treasure that you’re searching for.