Lesson 10: It's Okay to Sweat the Small Stuff ("No Bare Feet and Other Lessons From the Caddie Yard")

Nov 01, 2023 by Mike Magluilo

Lesson #10: It’s Okay to Sweat the Small Stuff

This one’s for the caddies, golfers and other mentors who taught me if you’re going to do something, you might as well do it to the best of your ability—details and nuances included.

Like noticing the placement of the pin when estimating yardage, giving the putter to your golfer before raking the sand trap, hustling ahead to find a ball sliced into the woods, carrying a bag for hours without rattling the irons, staying focused when your mind wants to wander, knowing when to shut up and stand still, and earning a little extra for the effort. 

Caddying taught me to appreciate others who value the small stuff. 

Like the young professional who double-checks the numbers, proofreads the presentation, shows up early to make sure the projector works, and calls to re-confirm the meeting before heading to the airport.

The kid who practices alone under the light above the garage.

The IT guy who tests your connection before shuffling away. 

The stranger who took the time to pronounce your last name correctly.

The interviewee who sent the thank you note.

The riding buddy who shows up on time.

That kid who shakes your hand and looks you in the eyes.

The waitress who gets your order correct.

The friend who puts their phone away at lunch, showed up to the funeral, sent flowers.

The recent grad who passes on the little luxuries she deserves in order to pay off her loans so she can start saving for a down payment.

The project manager who anticipates that same problem that keeps coming up every time.

The family member who can always be relied upon to be a steady hand in a room of emotion.

The family member who remembers to call, makes the effort to visit, and knows when it’s time to leave. 

The teacher who solves problems in the classroom without needing to call in the guidance counselors.

The painter who knows when to stop. The writer who digs deeper.

The great aunt who made the date-and-nut bread no one’s been able to replicate.

The grandfather who always showed up with a loaf of bread or a six-pack of Old Style.

The doctor who asks the thoughtful questions not on her laptop screen.

And, and, and…to everyone sweating the small stuff. It’s not sexy, but keep at it. More people value quality and character and dependability and excellence than the promoters of coffee mug wisdom want us to believe.