By: Ali Lahouti, Sr. Sales and Marketing Specialist

It was on my bucket list to be in the audience at the Masters in 2018. After dreaming about it for years, this year it was finally going to be a reality, but I had such high expectations I was worried it might not live up to them.

I had expectations of pristine landscapes with pine straw laid neatly in place, heard rumors of the grounds team using ice to control the temperature of the flowers for the perfect bloom on Masters weekend, and imagined herds of people moving from hole to hole to capture images of their favorite golfers.

What I found instead was something that would stay with me forever.

At first glance, Augusta National Golf Club was surrounded by people trying to get in or sell their passes to someone, police trying to control traffic, and vendors trying to make a buck off of anyone who had forgotten something, but as we approached I realized there was more to it. Everything on the grounds was perfect. If something wasn’t in its place, there was someone to put it there. The smiling staff everywhere welcomed us to the Masters, and the lines for snacks and souvenirs moved quickly thanks to the perfected system in place. In short, a highly profitable business with the highest level of customer service you would expect from a Fortune 500 organization.

Even so, there was more to this place than that system. The laid-back environment allowed for interaction with a few of my favorite players, who were as friendly and professional as I imagined. They were just as excited to be there as the spectators were, smiling and laughing while they worked on mastering their craft. There were spectacular plays, including smashing drives, approach shots inches from the hole, and putts from distances I could only dream about. I even took away some tips to improve my game.

But the most impactful takeaway was the result of something that happened before I even entered the course.

I was required to give up my cell phone. Give up my phone? My connection to the world? My lifeline? Of The initial panic set in. How was I going to capture the awesomeness of the Masters? How would I communicate with my family? And most importantly, how would I post my pictures on Instagram? I soon realized that I simply had to be in the moment.

As time passed, I realized I didn’t miss the interruption. It was an epiphany—the simple act of releasing my technology made me realize my dependence on it. While I walked the course phone-free, I took three key lessons away from that event that would help me personally and professionally.

Disconnecting from my connection

Being disconnected from my phone helped me realize that there is a time to put the technology away and “recharge” myself. Having the world at your fingertips can be taxing, and having your work closer is even more taxing. Taking the initiative to schedule time to put it all away and focus on the present is valuable. It allows you to be fresher at work, a better employee, a better leader, and most importantly, a better contributor to your own life.

Being in the moment

With nothing else to focus on except my surroundings, I could truly be in the moment during The Masters. The beauty of the course, the setup of the process and the faces of the people around me made the trip unforgettable. This made me realize that staying in the moment was just as important when I came home, and turning my phone off to listen to my family talk about their day was a great start. These are the moments that will help mold your family.

This is important at work, too, where engaging with your coworkers, employees, and leaders can show them that they are valued and being heard, which goes a long way to building a strong company. Be in the moment with your team and they will reward you with hard work and determination in the moments that define your organization.

Valuing fellowship

Crossing something off your bucket list is always a monumental achievement, but being able to share it with others you care about makes it that much more enjoyable. Being able to really focus on making connections is getting harder with the reduction of the face-to-face interaction with our peers. There is no less value in building the kinds of relationships that will last forever, however.

The golf world is a perfect example of how fellowship translates to success. A great golfer has skill, amazing clubs, and practices every day, but who is always by their side as they make the final putt, or the first to shake their hand when they’ve just won the Masters? Their caddy, their true partner in success. A golfer’s caddy studies just as much as their golfer, and know both the course and their partner. They are only able to do this by giving themselves to the moment and valuing the relationship they have built over the years.

This translates over to the business world in an obvious way. Value your team, teammates, and clients, and build great relationships with them. Focus on those partnerships, because one day you will look back and realize that it was those relationships that truly defined you. Is that not what we strive to achieve as business people and business owners? After all, people are more inclined to buy from someone that they know and like.

At LBMC, the advisors have all of the other important stuff. The knowledge, the experience, the advisor mentality but what we focus on is the relationships. We focus on getting to know you and your business and making sure you know everything about us by establishing those connections early on.

As we reevaluate new beginnings in the spring, I don’t know about you, but I’m going to spend more time disconnecting from my phone and connecting with the important things around me.