Getting Famous

I’ve always been famous, it’s just no one knew it yet.

Years ago, I had a conversation with a good friend of mine Andy Hilts.  Andy was at the time an up and coming young golf professional who was giving nearly 100 lessons a week.  Our discussion came at a point in our careers where we were both aspiring for more and we often talked about how to reach the summit of our professions. 

At the heart of our chat on this particular day was an edict that came down to Andy from his company’s corporate office.  Andy’s goal for the upcoming year was to “get famous.”  While we thought that meant for Andy to become more visible in the golf world, we had no idea how to accomplish what seemed like a monumental task at the time.

Fast forward…..Over the past ten years, Andy has become a nationally acknowledged leader in the golf instruction industry.  He has won numerous awards, is on a national “top teachers” list, and this past year Golf Magazine published his first book.  Andy has come a long way and has become “famous.”  But how did this come about?  There wasn’t really a formal plan to go from here to there, it was just two friends talking about our futures. 

 Looking back on Andy’s path, there were some tactics that he employed to get him from relatively unknown golf teacher to national prominence.  Here are four things he did that you could employ to become “famous” in the sports tourism and events industry….

  1.  Be visible – Andy always volunteered to teach at camps and clinics, and attended industry trade shows frequently.  He was always looking for new places to get out and involved in golf.  As his visibility grew, so did his network.
  2. Take on the tough task – Every organization has opportunities to step up as a leader.  Andy took on the extra travel assignments, agreed to lead difficult projects, and worked the extra shift.  Over time the company recognized him for the added effort.
  3. Be active in your industry – Most of us are members of an industry association.  Either at the local or national level, you likely have some formal engagement with others in the industry.  Rather than merely serving as a member of an alliance or association, why not lead it?  Offer to chair a committee, lead a breakout at your regional tourism conference, or volunteer to take on a task others won’t touch.  To get noticed, get involved, and do so with gusto.
  4. Stay humble – When success comes, always thank those that helped you along the journey.  Winning is a team game, we all need others to help us achieve greatness.  Make sure you share your victories with those that made an impact on you.  Andy mastered this concept early on in his career, and as he grew, people lined up to help him along the way.

I’m really proud of Andy and many of my friends who are successful in their fields.  Each in their own way, they have taken their future by storm.  Some are in sports, most are not, but the principles are the same – plug in, get active, build support, and forge on.  These people inspire me every day to be the best sports tourism professional I can be, and I thank them for the example they have set.  There is a long-range plan for all of us.  Maybe it’s to “get famous” or maybe it’s to carve a new path in the sports industry (or a different one).  Regardless of what the goal is, the most important thing to do is to start.

I would love it if you checked out Andy’s book.  There is also an iPhone app that accompanies the book.