Heroes, Honesty, & Here Goes Nothing

"You think you're the only superhero in the world?

Mr. Stark, you've become part of a bigger universe.

You just don't know it yet."

- Nick Fury – Iron Man 2

I have spent a lot of time, months really, trying to convince you to become the best version of yourself. I hope you have both begun the process and enjoyed the journey towards “better”, and I sincerely hope that my previous posts have provided a necessary dose of inspiration. But like Iron Man, you are part of a bigger universe, and an investigation into your obligation to your universe is now required.

We all have a “sphere of influence”, those people who are somehow impacted by the gifts you share with them. Your gifts are different than mine, but could include your kindness, generosity, enthusiasm, or anything else that has a positive impact. But what is your obligation to your sphere of influence? And how can you positively impact them in a way that is meaningful not only to them, but also to you?

Your sphere of influence starts with your family and friends and quickly extends outward, like ripples in a pond, to co-workers and acquaintances, eventually ending with everyone else (even those you don’t know). But what is important when considering your influence? And where do you start?

I believe you build influence by first building trust, creating a feeling for others that “I am safe here”. That “safety” is not only physical, but also emotional, and creating trust and safety is paramount to my success as a Career Consultant and Coach. In fact, I have learned that I am often most successful when I am also most vulnerable. With that in mind, I recently heard about an exercise designed to increase connection, understanding and trust between people in which you replaced a simple greeting with a longer version consisting of:

“Hello, my name is (your name here). If you knew me, you would know (something about you).”

This was followed by two similar statements but beginning with “If you really knew me” and “if you really, really knew me”. Each successive statement allows the listener to set aside the usual superficial things we share with each other and gain a better understanding of the person they are talking to. The idea struck me as simple, yet effective, and I thought I would give it a try today. Here goes nothing…

Hello, my name is Mike Mueller and if you knew me you would know that I am the PGA Career Consultant serving the Carolinas Section. Prior to this role, I worked in the golf industry for almost 20 years, starting while enrolled as a graduate student at UNC-Greensboro. During those 20 years, I have worked as an Assistant Professional, Head Professional, General Manager, Director of Instruction, College Coach, Business Owner, and Career Consultant.

If you really knew me, you would know that my long-term goal is to start a non-profit and change the world in a meaningful way. In a world of big thinkers and dreamers, I often feel like I am not doing enough as a positive force for change. If you really knew me, you would also know that I see big issues such as justice and equality as moral obligations I can’t deny, and they matter to me in a way that birdies and bogies never will.

If you really, really knew me, you would know that I still have a tremendous amount of guilt for the years that I worked weekends, holidays, and late nights; watching other people’s children grow up before my eyes while wondering how my own kids grew up so fast. You would also know that the 100+ nights a year that I sleep in hotel beds now only contributes to that guilt. If you really, really knew me, you would also know that my son will be 15 years old this summer, leaving only 3 years before he leaves for college and I assume leaving a void that I don’t yet know how to replace. If you really, really knew me, you would know that I have a burning desire to find a way to use the next 3 years to somehow make up for the first 15, no matter how impossible that seems.

What does all this mean? Why would I share the intimate details of my life on the internet? I do it because all of you lie within my sphere of influence. If you take the time to read my life hack advice, it means I need to keep earning your trust, and the only way to do that is to be transparent and honest. And as you can see, I don’t have it all figured out.

I encourage you to embrace the idea and consider how well you know your people and how well they know you. My next post will discuss how you can best serve all the people in your sphere of influence as a positive force by simply allowing them to really, really know you, and creating the space to allow them to do the same in return.

Still learning to really, really know myself,

Michael Mueller, PGA

PGA Career Consultant

Proudly Serving the Carolinas Section