I’m a big fan of high achieving people who enjoy sharing information and challenge the learning curve and push themselves in all areas of their life which is why I think I was drawn to Mr. Timothy Ferris’ work and podcast. Through his podcast and connecting with so many successful people, I bought his latest book, Tribe of Mentors. I thought it was a great idea which involves Tim reaching out to successful people in different spaces of business, entertainment, sports and music and asking them a series of 11 questions. This brilliant idea gleaned so many interesting and helpful ideas of what made these people great at what they do and it is a must read. I am sure that I was on that list that he sent out and that the email must have got caught in my spam so I thought I would give the questions a shot as to see what I would come up with IF Asked to be a part of this project. It definitely was an exercise that forced me to be uncomfortably transparent and reflect on some of the things that have helped me along the way, failures and high points in my life. So I hope you enjoy this little FAKE interview that I made up in my own monkey brain……oh and go buy the book! Tribe of Mentors by Timothy Ferris
Tim: Hello boys and girls and welcome to another episode of the Tim Ferris Show where it is my job to explore the stories, tactics, strategies, habits etc. from people who are the best at what they do. This episode is a very special episode as it delivers the typical high performance ideas, book recommendations etc. but it is unique in the fact that my guest is from the golf teaching business which is a first for my podcast. I am not a great golfer, but I think you will find that my guest, Jason Sutton A.K.N as the “The Guru” can bring an interesting perspective on personal development strategies, dealing with adversity, overcoming obstacles and success habits that you can apply to any profession or occupation. The Guru is a Golf Magazine Top 100 instructor and is ranked #1 in North Carolina by Golf Digest. He is currently the PGA Director of Instruction at the prestigious, Carmel CC located in Charlotte, NC where he has been for 6 years. So without further ado, let’s get to my conversation with Jason Sutton.
Tim: After speaking with you in preparing this interview, I wasn’t surprised so much that you are so well read in the golf instruction space but that you have read so many books outside of your comfort zone with topics such as personal development, marketing, business and coaching from other sports. My first question is “What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are the three books that have greatly influenced you life?
Jason: That is a great question as I am a believer that certain things (i.e books, information, people, opportunities show up in your life for a reason) so as a young professional in the late 90’s I embarked on a personal development journey that included books and cd’s (automobile university) that would start to shape my thinking and my career in many different ways. I am sad to say that I haven’t gifted as many books as I should but I did recently gift your latest book “Tribe of Mentors” to my staff (host kiss up). So I will start from the beginning with:
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill – book written in 1937 and was the original personal development bible. I learned the importance of creating a “mastermind” crew or what I now call my “personal board of directors” stolen from one of your guests, surrounding myself with people who will have a positive influence on my life and that have my best interest at heart. Success coaches like Jim Rohn, Tony Robbins, Brian Tracy and Zig Ziglar have learned from the research done by Napoleon Hill.
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Carnegie, The Servant Leader by James Autry, Anything by John Maxwell especially: Failing Forward, Thinking for a Change, the 21 indispensible qualities of a leader, the Success Journey and the 101 series…..
Shackelton’s Way, Leadership Lessons – the story of the great antarctic explorer. I learned that matching up certain personality types that have the continuous learning gene is way more important than always hiring the most qualified person for your staff and also how important it is to equip your team with the necessary tools to succeed (technology, skills training and knowledge)
Presentations Plus by David Peoples – something that I refer to many times when preparing for speeches
The Power of Who by Bob Beudine, How Full Is Your Bucket by Tom Rath and Donald Clifton, The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale
In 2009 I read Crush It, The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuck. It had a massive impact on how I have created my brand and online presence. I am currently reading his new book, Crushing It which should be great as well
As I said earlier, I started getting much of my information by listening to CD’s that I had burned from the internet. I listened to at least an hour per day (typically my ride to and from work) of lectures or personal development programs that I call Automobile University. I still do this as now it is podcasts or audio books (PM me for my favorite podcasts) . My favorites were Jim Rohn, Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy and Dennis Waitley. I not only learned from the information they were providing but I paid close attention to their audio delivery, tone, story telling and the way they organized their presentations. I use these tactics to this day when I do talks.
Jason: I know that is more than you asked but thought it may be useful to your listeners. I didn’t even go into my coaching and golf books. For another show!
Tim: quite all right, that is great stuff! What purchase of $100 of less has most positively impacted you life in the last six months?
Jason: They are a little more than $100.00 but I would have to say my On Ghost running shoes. I started running consistently about 13 years ago and have even ran 2 3/4 marathons and 4 half marathons in the past 10 years but I have gotten off track in the last couple of years. Starting about 5 months ago I rededicated myself to fitness and nutrition. I have lost 20 pounds and have gotten back into about half marathon running shape. It doesn’t do us any good to set big goals that our body and health can’t keep up with so my new Swiss running shoes (I own 2 pair) have been an important tool for this new transformation. I still have 8-10 pounds to go to reach my goal. p.s. my new stretch goal is to complete an Ultra Marathon…shhh!
Tim: You are speaking my language as you know I am big on fitness and nutrition. What has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favorite failure” of yours?
Jason: I think every successful person has experienced failures over the years. It is how you respond to these failures is what makes us great! The failure that was now the best thing that ever happened to myself and my career was when I had my first Head Pro job at the age of 28. I was an assistant that was promoted to head professional after the former HP left for another job. I was green and inexperienced and put in charge of a rather large operation. It was a single owner operation so it was a big adjustment to be the leader of a large staff and a big operation. after my GM who was my former boss that hired me left for another job, they went through 2 more General Managers in less than 3 years which didn’t make it easy. Regardless of the situation, I was not happy with my role and the direction the club was moving aside from the fact that my added responsibility was pulling me farther and farther from passion which was teaching, it was time to make a change. Come to find that the last GM had plans to bring in his own staff which pushed me out the door. As I said things happen for a reason and this allowed me to do a deep dive into what made me truly happy and to start to double down on my strengths which was helping people play better golf (teaching and coaching). I shortly after got my biggest break of my career when teaching legend, Ms. Dana Rader hired me to be a part of her staff at her top 25 golf school. This is when my career took off as I now had one binary goal and that was to become the best golf instructor that I could become which is what I strive to do everyday even now.
Tim: If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with the anything on it — metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions — what would it say and why?
Jason: One of my favorite quotes and one that I end a lot of my talks with is by Zig Ziglar — “If you help enough other people get what they want, you can have everything that you want!” For the act of sharing, mentoring others and lending help is not designed to get something in return even though we know that the law of paying it forward is strong in this way but it is because it is the right thing to do and also its about the type of person that we become and how it makes us feel to help others reach their goals. My mission in life is to leave a LEGACY that my wife and kids will be proud of, simple as that.
Tim: I totally agree. Sound advice for sure! What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love?
Jason: I gave this a lot of thought and I thought of what my wife would say is something that drives her crazy that I do and it is watching old movies several times over. For some reason I have always been fascinated with the movie business ever since I took a film class in college. When I find a film that interests me, I pick it apart from lighting, camera angles, actors lines to scripts. I spend too much time on the IMDB app for sure which is a problem. I love the show “Off Camera” with Sam Jones where he interviews actors and directors. I am fascinated with the entire process of the movie business. It does take up alot of my time but I feel like I get quality movie lines and thought-provoking feelings from a good or crappy movie sometimes. It does create great material for golf lessons though.
Tim: In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?
Jason: I would have to say getting into distance running has had a massive influence on my life. When my wife was pregnant with my daughter, Brittanie (now 18) I gained a bunch of weight as dads tend to do when your wife is eating crazy food when pregnant. After she was born I felt like I needed to make a change in my health so I started running to get in shape. After a few failed attempts, I decided to do what I always do when I don’t know something, so I bought a book on running (Run-Walk-Run by Galloway) which got me running consistently without killing myself or getting hurt all the time. I signed up for my first 10k and did pretty good and I was hooked. Then I met my good friend Steve Hightower which changed my life. Steve was a new golfer that showed up to one of my beginning golf clinics wearing an iron man triathlon visor. So we struck up a convo about fitness and running and he said “Have you ever thought about running a marathon?” I said hell no, I’m too fat and slow for that kind of non sense! He said that he had done several and that I could do it with the right training plan….sounds like golf huh? Turns out he was a tri Athlon coach for Team in Training. Steve said if you teach me to play golf then I will teach to run far. So in typical Guru OCD fashion, I went from 10k to 26.2 (which I don’t recommend). I finished the Chicago marathon in 2006 with his guidance and since then have done several half marathons, run almost 2 more (see blog about marathon accident) full marathons and still feel like a have a few left on the bucket list. Steve and I meet once a week (when we aren’t injured)with some other friends which I cherish very much. Our friendship is invaluable. I use running as a time to think and reflect as I have come up with so many great ideas on long runs, aside from the fact that it makes me feel good about myself and gives me more energy to enjoy life. It also makes me feel like an athlete again which is important to me which is why I love the races. Even though I have gone through a few times where I have been inconsistent, running will always be a part of my life as long as I can do it. The process of training and completing a marathon will change your life for sure as it did mine.
Tim: What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world”? What advice should they ignore
Jason: Seek out your mentors wisely. You will know right away the ones whom have your best interest at heart. I would encourage them to reach out to as many people that they respect in their field as possible and figure out how to spend time with them. It is so easy now with social media. DM as many people as you care to learn from and be prepared for some to say no. Whether its having lunch, phone calls or see if they can come and shadow them while they work. Be an information gatherer, study as much about how human behavior, body language and persuasion and don’t get caught up in the minutia. The more you DO, that stuff will start to make sense. Don’t be afraid to fail and make mistakes. If you live or work afraid to screw up it means that you aren’t putting yourself in situations where you are uncomfortable which stunts your growth. So do things that stretch you and make you uncomfortable such as volunteering to speak to a group. As Gary V says, “Macro patience and Micro speed. Learn as fast as you can but you have to be patient when it comes to validation and notoriety. It is not that important and will come later if you do the work. Study, Practice, Teach….learn as much as you can about your craft from your mentors, Practice – get in a position to be able to do what you want as much as possible (even if it’s for FREE). Volunteer to intern somewhere that you want to work and figure out how to make it happen. Building your skills is much more important than money at first, the money will follow if you work your face off, and TEACH – don’t forget to pass it to someone else as this will keep you sharp and continue the chain for learning and mentoring. Lastly, always give credit to where you learned something that has helped you along the way. No one gets to the mountain top alone so show respect to the ones that helped get you there.
Tim: What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
The latest debate is that Technology is ruining the teaching game. Understand that technology only allows us to measure what the golfer, the club and the ball are doing. Technology has no philosophy or bias on the way you should diagnose the problem in front of you, it only gives you accurate answers that helps us be more efficient with the prescription. It is still up to the coach to give the diagnosis, communicate the what, why and how and to get the student to change behaviors, habits and motor patterns. Most people who are down on these devices haven’t spent enough time learning the information and how they work so they misjudge what they don’t understand. OK, I’m off my soapbox…
Tim: You seem very passionate about this subject
Jason: I’m passionate about things that could possibly hold my profession back and this is a big one
Tim: In the last five years, what have you become better at saying no to (distractions, invitations, etc) What new realizations and/or approaches helped? Any other tips?
When your reputation starts to grow and when you are recognized as a leader in your industry, people want more and more of your time. Look, when I started in this business, I set out to be the best teacher on the planet and that is still my goal, so I am not complaining one bit but I have to learn to say no to things that take time away from my family, my staff and my students which is difficult for me to do. I am too nice a guy sometimes so I tend to say yes to every request so I am still working on that one. I just want to help everybody which I am finding I can’t do.
Tim: When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do? (What questions do you ask yourself?)
Jason: Typically when I get this feeling of being overwhelmed it is because I haven’t prepared early enough and things start to pile up on me. For example, if I am putting together a presentation for a speaking engagement and I wait until the last-minute to do it, take notes and practice it…then I get overwhelmed. I am working on getting more organized so this doesn’t happen as often. If I am anxious about something like a big talk I’m getting ready to do or maybe an important lesson, I will ask the question….What is the worst thing that could happen? and usually it calms me down. I have a difficult time turning my brain off and don’t sleep very well at times so I have been experimenting with Mindful Meditation for the first time so hopefully it will give me some better focus where I will have less anxiety over things that I cannot control
Tim: Well Jason this was great! I am sorry that it took so long to get you on but we will have to do it again very soon
Jason: Tim it was an honor to be on the show. I love and respect your work and I appreciate you allowing me to share my story. Best of luck with your new book. I will spread the word to as many as I can
zzzz……..And then I woke up as it was only a dream. But if we can’t dream then we won’t stretch ourselves to be better.
Be better today than you were yesterday. Thanks for reading and don’t be afraid to use the share buttons below.
Guru Workshop presentations and live lesson bundle
Videos from past Guru Workshops : Presenters include Jason Sutton, Cameron McCormick, Jon Sinclair, Mark Blackburn, James Hong, Kirk Oguri
I first met this kid when I spoke at the PGM program at Clemson in 2016 and I was intrigued by his curiosity and passion for learning. In PGM programs nowadays you get a few young men or women that have made up their minds that teaching is the direction that they want to go and Robbie was one that showed interest. He attended my Guru workshop in 2016 and then started showing up every other Saturday to shadow and observe me teaching. We had a connection….Thank you for allowing me to visit you,”Will you help me?” he would say. He was so appreciative and respectful which I am a big fan of. People that show an interest in learning make it easy for you to share with them what you think may assist them in being successful. I am always grateful to get this kind of request from peers that visit. I started to pour into him what little that I knew about teaching and coaching . What he didn’t know was that I was becoming the student in many ways. When we share we learn and are reminded of what got us to where we are. So I pulled some strings and made sure that he became my intern assistant for the 2017 season because I wanted to see what this kid was made of and if he was for real. As timing had it I was in a position to hire another instructor at the end of the summer and I told Robbie that he would have an up front 6 month interview for the job if he was interested. The eyes got even brighter. He didn’t dissapoint. As I have done in the past with Alex Van der Linden (now Governors Club DOI) and Seth Merz (current Junior Golf Director/staff instructor), I try to keep it in the family. He did an exceptional job. He continued to ask the tough questions, be curious, did the little stuff that most young men would deem as mundane or ordinary, believed in my philosophy and program and even filmed and documented my lessons to help me create content which is as selfless as it can get. He passed the test. So I am pleased to say that on August 1st, Robbie Failes will be a full-time PGA teaching professional at the Carmel Golf Academy at one of the best Country Clubs in the Country, Carmel Country Club. I am very excited to have him as part of my instructional team. Huge thank you to my other superstar, Seth Merz, for helping me mentor Robbie and assisting him in many ways but most importantly welcoming him into the CGA family. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for the both of you. Robbie, welcome to #TeamCGA, you have earned it.
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Robbie Failes; @robfailesgolf…..snapchat, instagram, @robfailesgolf
Seth Merz: @sethmerz…IG and snapchat
Here is an interview with one of my students at Carmel CC that has been with me for a few years and has bought into the idea of “Long Term Coaching”. This talk was purely impromptu so thank you Jon Watkins for taking the time and for the kind words. This is why I love my job so much and think Carmel is such a special place because of passionate golfers like Jon. I hope you enjoy the talk
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Three years ago I transformed my teaching into purely “Long Term Coaching Programs” which include supervised practices with the team #teamguru. Here is an opening presentation of a full swing session with a few guys where I discuss the difference between “blocked vs. random” practice and the key to getting your range swing to the golf course. I had the help of my son, Nicklaus who is one of the top juniors in NC. He was gracious enough to hit some shots for us and talk about what we are working on together.
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Thanks for reading and watching
Here is my presentation from last years “Guru Workshop” that I hosted at Carmel CC. I hope you enjoy it and feel free to share. You never know, you might be asked to speak at the next one
Its always fun to do podcasts and get to share my story. In this interview with Bernard Sheridan we discuss how i got into the game and a little background about my career as well as some tidbits on my personal life and teaching philosophy. I hope you enjoy and don’t be afraid to share
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