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Stories, Summer, & Soccer

Updated: Aug 15, 2019

#7 in Your Program, #1 in Your Heart

She's sneaky fast.

Over the course of the past year and a half, I’ve had hundreds of conversations with PGA Members and Associates about their 1-3, 3-5, 5-10 and 10+ year goals. Without fail, the discussion tends to revolve around 4 topics:

1. Title: Position the professional wants to attain

2. Location: Area/Region they want to work

3. Environment: Specific facilities, professionals or companies they’d like to work for

4. Compensation: What they’d like to earn

All of these items are important, and all of them are specific and measurable goals that one can aspire to. What stands out is that these are often desired outcomes, not necessarily larger, all-encompassing life goals.

It’s true, the mere act of committing to a set of goals is a HUGE step in the right direction for Career Planning. But what if there’s more? With the benefit of time, mentors like PGA Member Eric Jensen, and the perspective gained through experience, I’ve taken a bit of a different approach to goal setting. I’ve shared this approach with a few professionals, and the revelations have been astounding.

What if your goals were not about where you wanted to be or what job you wanted to have, but more about what kind of life you wanted to live? Through job changes, different forms of leadership, and self-discovery, I began to approach goal setting differently. To be clear, what follows is my story; everyone’s experience is different and in no way, shape, or form, would I ever say that one can’t realize personal goals or have a fulfilling personal life while holding the positions I have been fortunate to hold. What I am saying, is that my understanding of the investment in time and effort required of me to execute the responsibilities of those positions led me to the conclusion that a different path would better suit my life.

My Story

I’ll take you back to late 2007. I was newly married, in my 6th year at Coal Creek Golf Course, and my second year as the Head Professional under the management of Western Golf Properties. I knew my mission, I knew why I was a golf professional; to impact others through the game of golf; what I didn’t have was a goal that wasn’t associated with an outcome. What became my goal was simple, and it had nothing to do with golf; I wanted to be able to coach my kid’s soccer team when the time came. I had played soccer my entire life, and early on, my father was my coach; for the balance of the time, he was a fan. I wanted to be both for my kids as well.

Fast forward to the end of 2009. The City of Denver was hiring for a Head Professional at City Park Golf Course. I prepared, practiced, applied, and was selected. We didn’t have any children to coach yet, but my mission of impacting others was being fulfilled. As a function of pursuing my mission, other opportunities presented themselves. For example, being recognized for the efforts of my team and earning Player Development Awards which led to an interest in Section service and eventual election to the Board of Directors.

The term I spent on the Board gave me insight into the work the Section staff was doing. I realized the magnitude of the impact they had on others through the game, and in my opinion, they had control of their time and schedules. The balance of my time spent on the board and on committees was used to fill the gaps I had in understanding Section operations and Member relations – these were my intermediate goals. When the opportunity came in 2012 to apply for a position on the Section team, I was ready.

Five years at the Section allowed for the fulfilling of my mission and created the flexibility to realize my family goals. Those years included some of the most impactful moments of my career. With our first child now home, I longed for even more autonomy and control of my time.

At the beginning of 2017, the position I’m in now was created to serve Members in Colorado & Utah in a very personal manner. For me, it is the ultimate intersection of increased impact and goal-oriented flexibility; of my mission and my goal. The growth, opportunities, intermediate goals, and change I have experienced thus far during my career prepared me for what I do today; but the GOAL of what I wanted my life to look like was the guiding light through it all.

The Takeaway

Having a goal that wasn’t tied to a professional outcome changed everything. At every stage and every stop in my career, I compared my circumstances to my goal.

1. Does what I’m doing and how I’m doing it align with my goal?

2. What options exist that get me closer to how I want my life to look?

3. What skill gaps are preventing me from pursuing those options?

4. How will I close those gaps and who can help me along the way?

5. How can I leverage where I am and what I’m doing to move closer to my goal?

6. Am I willing to make the move if and when a new opportunity presents itself?

The dogged pursuit of a holistic goal revealed the development plan that made me into a well-rounded professional who is passionate about helping other PGA Members and thanks to the growth the plan required, I’m well equipped to do so. As for the goal? This summer, I was there, coaching soccer when #7 took the field and scored her first goal.

I know how I’ll set my next goal… how about you? If you looked at Goal Setting differently, what could YOUR life look like? Let’s meet and find out together.


Keith Soriano, PGA Soccer Coach

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