My Back Nine: Unleash Your Authentic Self

My Back Nine: Unleash Your Authentic Self

by Tony Caico

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Overview

After riding the gravy train for more than ten years in the mortgage banking industry, author Tony Caico's industry and his life met at an intersection and crashed. His worth was so closely tied to what he did for a living that he no longer knew who he was. After some careful soul searching, his healing began, and he put his life back on track.


Using the back nine holes of a golf course as a guide, Caico uses his experiences to help others analyze what they need to do better to truly enjoy the second half of their lives. Each golf hole represents one of the following nine key life components: family, health and wellness, knowledge, career, spirituality,
leadership, relationships, self-improvement,
and happiness. In My Back Nine, Caico synthesizes current thinking and research on careers, evaluating strengths, and formulating life plans to offer a guide to making changes for the better.


The essential qualities needed for success in golf-preparation, focus, patience, discipline, integrity, and honesty-are the same qualities necessary to be successful in life. My Back Nine shows how both life and sports can often create real winners on and off the playing field.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781450279505
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 12/29/2010
Pages: 184
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.42(d)

Read an Excerpt

My Back Nine

Unleash Your Authentic Self
By Tony Caico

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2010 Tony Caico
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4502-7950-5


Chapter One

#10 – "Your Ultimate Foursome" – Par 5

"Home is one place in this entire world where hearts are sure of each other. It is the place of confidence. It is the place where we tear off that mask of guarded and suspicious coldness which the world forces us to wear in self-defense, and where we pour out the unreserved communications of full and confiding hearts. It is the spot where expressions of tenderness gush out without any sensation of awkwardness and without any dread of ridicule" — Frederick W. Robertson On the course - We start our back nine with a very challenging par 5. There are many hazards on this long par 5, including trees, water, and sand. The first hole of the back nine is very important to our overall journey. We have just analyzed our front nine performance, and now it's time to improve our golf shots and ultimately finish the round with a solid score. Yes, this will be very difficult. However, if you are prepared to make the necessary swing adjustments on each shot, the results can be very favorable.

Before we begin this back nine journey together, it's critically important that I stop right here and make a point. The introduction or "the turn" of this book is mandatory reading. The introduction provides the framework for this entire endeavor. As a matter of fact, "the turn" is where it all begins for many of us. It's the moment in time that we realize we need something different in our lives. When we feel that we are ready to face our past, put it behind us, and truly learn to live in the present in an attempt to create the future of our dreams. It can be something very small, like adjusting a few small items to make our lives better. Or, something much larger in proportion, like changing everything and completely altering our lifestyles. For me, it's been the latter, a complete transformation and life changing experience. You and I will play this back nine together, but before we do, you must read the introduction. If not, the overall journey and experience will not make near as much sense. OK, enough preaching, grab your driver (or club of choice) and let's tee it up!!

Stroke 1 - Family

Why is Family one of the nine key life components? On the surface the answer to this question seems fairly easy to figure out, but most likely, it has a different meaning and associated priority for each individual. I started with family because this is where it all starts, where we all came from, our mother's womb. Without Mom (and yes, Dad) none of us would even be here. As we start our back nine journey together, what could be a better place to begin than with family? After all, our family situations and circumstances provide the underlying background for everything that we were, are, and endeavor to become. Regardless of the relationship you have with your family today, I am sure that you will all agree that these are the most important relationships of all. Maybe they are not important in your life right now, but they probably should be.

For me, this is certainly true. My family relationships are broken, and up until now, I spent more time focusing on other (less important) relationships that were easier to manage. That's why we are here, my friends, to examine together, everything in our lives. To stop taking the "easy way out," and to start to unveil the reasons why certain parts of our lives just don't work. To do this, we will need a very intense "mirror check." Throughout this entire book, we will be looking very closely at ourselves. This is especially important as we identify the broken pieces of our lives, and more specifically, our family relationships. There is an old expression that comes to mind: "you can't choose your family." That is a true statement, but you can choose what you do with your family relationships. This is very hard for many people; it was certainly hard for me.

However, if we truly wish to improve our lives on the back nine, we must concentrate on improving the relationships with our family members. We will talk more about relationships in general on #16, but relationships with our families we will talk about now, on this critical par 5. As indicated in our introduction (which I know you read), the two par 5's (Family and Spirituality) are the two most important golf holes we will play on this back nine. As we pave our way through this material on family, I would like you to start thinking about your own family and each individual family relationship. What are the relationships that work, and why? Which relationships do not work, and why? This is a great place to begin. To assist you with this process, let me set the stage by talking about my own family. I have five children (yes, that's not a typo), a mother and father (still alive, thank God), two sisters and one brother. I have two half brothers and a half sister from my dad's first marriage, and a litany of nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I am divorced, so I have an ex-wife as well. She is definitely still part of my family and always will be. We have five wonderful children together, and our focus has always and will always be on these five gifts from God. Unfortunately, all of my grandparents have passed on.

I will tell you that as of right now, other than the relationships I have with my children, I am not at all satisfied with any of my other family relationships. That's right, not a single one. Some are better than others, some don't exist at all, but improvements are needed throughout. Many of you may be in the same boat. Again, that is why we are here. To examine why these relationship are broken, and to determine what we can do to make them better. More on these relationships later on this hole, specifically on stroke four.

This is very important material here, but don't worry, we will work through this together. In order to clear our path for the other eight holes on the back nine, the family section really needs to be examined. I realize that this will be more challenging and/or painful for some than for others, but I don't think anyone can truly have a successful life journey (first half or second half) without a detailed game plan that includes a strong focus on the family.

Back on the course. That was a very admirable tee shot on the first hole, and a very good start to our back nine. In order to have a successful golf match, we must keep a positive attitude, and stay focused on each individual stroke. When we hit a good shot, we need to remember what we just did, and repeat it on the next shot. Successful golfers refer to this as "muscle memory," something that will help us keep the ball in the "short grass."

Stroke 2 – Childhood

In order to properly examine our front nine experiences, it's important to go as far back as we can. Again, this will be more difficult for some than others. For me, it's very difficult. My memory is very foggy when it comes to my childhood. I can remember bits and pieces, but have a very hard time remembering events, times, places, and the details of anything that happened before the age ten or so. In contrast, I have a friend who can vividly explain things that happened to her when she was four and five years old. I believe that the more you can remember about your childhood, the more prepared you are to enter adulthood. I would say that my poor childhood memory has been a deterrent to me maturing throughout my life, and this is one of the reasons it has taken me longer than most to find myself. I can say this now because of the self examination phase I am going through.

This is a phase that I am actually still in as I write this book, and the phase that many of you may be going through as well. After all, many of you may have been attracted to this book because you realize that self examination is exactly what you need. That is awesome, and a great first step. You see, I am totally comfortable with the fact that I didn't realize many of these things until now. I say this because I think there are many people who will never figure it out. These people will just "jelly-fish" through life, without ever understanding their true path and/or life purpose. That may be OK for some. But not for me, and I presume, not for you either.

Let me briefly explain what I do remember from my childhood. As I go through the next few sentences, please be cognizant of your own childhood. The things you remember, the things you wish you could forget, and the reason why analyzing them now is a critical component to our back nine success.

I grew up on Long Island, New York, in the early seventies. From what I can remember, my childhood was very normal. We lived primarily in middle class neighborhoods, and I grew up in a very safe atmosphere, going to school, playing with friends, and playing tons of sports. Although my early memory is weak, I can usually define these times by the sports I played. My dad (Italian) was a salesman and my mom (Irish) a homemaker. Keep this in mind, as it will come up again when we talk about conditioned behaviors later on this hole, as we get closer to the green. I was raised with three siblings, and older brother and sister, and a younger sister. We were Catholic like most of the families where we lived. Another item that will come up again, when we discuss spirituality on #14. I went to school, played almost every sport known to man, and for the most part, had a very happy and normal childhood. My parents did the best they could, I am sure of it. Back in those days, you were to discipline your children, attempt to get them on the right track spiritually, and do your best to teach them right from wrong. I am confident that my parents tried to do all of those things the best they knew how, and I am thankful to them for their efforts. When was the last time I told them? Now, that's a different story. Probably, today, after I finish writing this section. That's the thing about writing, reading, and self discovery. You actually grow and change while you are doing it. It's working for me, how about you?

As you read this you may be saying, "Well, that childhood experience is not very interesting." Well, it becomes more interesting the deeper you dive. Here's what I mean. Through my own careful examination, I thought to myself, how could I have strayed so far off course, when my childhood was so normal? What was I missing? Where did I go wrong? When did I go wrong? Well, as we dig deeper into our past, we are sure to uncover some "trigger" points that will help us explain why we choose the paths we choose.

Back then, there wasn't much of focus on communication. There weren't many alternative sources of information for parents, no Internet, no self-help books, just conditioned behaviors that were passed down from their parents. I can only assume at this point that my parents never really knew or understood me once I reached a certain age, and much of that continues to this day with them as well as other family members. The fact that I don't remember much about those years, in my view, is a direct correlation to the lack of information and the lack of communication. This is actually really good news for us. We have much better tools than our parents did; and we have access to more information. Therefore, we should be better equipped to improve communication with our children, and this should help us (and them) lead more fulfilling lives. Just to be clear, I am not saying that my parents didn't do a good job raising me or my siblings. That is not the case. As I mentioned above, I'm sure they did the best they knew how given the available tools and information at their disposal. So, as we look back on our own childhood, let us try and remember all of the good times. Surely, we all had good times. I can certainly remember my first touchdown, my first home run, and my fist twenty point basketball game. I also remember having fun with my siblings, playing outside with friends, going on long trips to Florida, and really never being concerned about having a roof over my head or food on the table.

I remember that my dad was at every ball game I played, and there were a ton of games. I remember how my mom was always so loving, supportive, and affectionate with me and my siblings. These are the things you can draw upon when you grow up, when these relationships get strained and go downhill. For me, the foundation was there, and that is something that has always been with me.

On the other hand, if your childhood was mired with disappointment, hurt, and pain, there are ways to deal with that as well. If you haven't talked through these things with someone, than that is the first step. I have recently discovered that talking about your pain is extremely liberating. Remember, everyone has pain, and everyone has a story. Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to admit their mistakes and/or face their pain. I would venture to guess that the fine folks reading this book do not fall into that category. After all, we are working on self improvement, and that is an awesome feeling. Right?

Back on the course. OK, you guys are doing great on this opening hole. Your ball is in the middle of the fairway, and you are ready to take your third shot. Let's stay dialed in, as there are still many obstacles in our way on this difficult par 5.

Stroke 3 - Family History - Conditioned Behaviors

Just to clarify, the family history I will refer to in this section relates to your childhood and teenage years. The time of your life where you actually learn how to be who you are, or so you think. As we get older and wiser, we start to realize that we really didn't know near as much as we thought we knew. Heck, I just turned forty five years old and I have learned more about myself in the past two years than I have in the last ten.

Our teenage years are the time in our lives where we develop ideas, behaviors, and opinions on almost every topic. This is the basic framework that has shaped our lives up until now. We can call this time the "SpongeBob Squarepants" stage. My kids will love that. The stage of our lives where we are literally sponges, absorbing every bit of information our brains can handle.

Human beings are creatures of habit by nature. We learn from what we see, hear, and experience. In order for us to realize our true potential, we must examine all of our conditioned behaviors, both good and bad. We then need to determine if these behaviors are still good for us, or if they have run their course. After all, many of the behaviors we learn at a young age (or any age) are very good for us, and have helped shape our lives in a very positive manner. It's very important that we focus on the good things, as well as the not so good things as we take this journey. It's very beneficial to have a "frame of reference" (both positive and negative) so we can decipher what we will do (or change) in our attempt to improve our individual situations. This is a very difficult proposition for many people, because it sometimes takes a while for us to actually figure out whether the conditioned behavior is good or not. As we grow and mature, our lives change, our thoughts change, and most importantly, our understanding of things change. As we evolve, we learn more about ourselves, our strengths and weaknesses, and why we have them. What we find is that our understanding of our behaviors elevates as we mature, and sometimes that means the things we thought were good for us are actually not so good.

If you recall a few pages back, I said I would come back to the fact that my dad was an Italian salesman. I will use this as an example to point out conditioned behaviors (both good and bad) that I learned just by the sheer nature of what my father did for a living as well as his nationality. Through no fault of his, I developed both positive and negative behaviors just by being the son of an Italian salesman. My dad was a salesman for an oil company, a job that sounds pretty darn good right now. I remember him working very hard, and for all intents and purposes, we always had what we needed throughout childhood. In turn, I also became a very hard worker and a very successful salesman and sales manager. The subject came up in conversation from time to time, but I never really thought that much about the fact that my dad pretty much had the same job as I did. As I look back on my career, my hard work, my ability to sell, and my leadership qualities provided me the fuel that I needed to propel me to a very successful career thus far. On a side note, my hitting rock bottom had absolutely nothing to do with my skill, work habits, or sales results. Those were all really good things in my life, and I can now say that this was learned behavior instilled in me by my father. With all due respect to my mother, she actually ran her own successful real estate business after we were older. So, the work ethic was there and instilled in me from both parents. Good conditioned behaviors, for sure.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from My Back Nine by Tony Caico Copyright © 2010 by Tony Caico. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction – The "TURN"....................ix
#10 – "Your Ultimate Foursome" – Par 5....................1
• Stroke 1 - Family....................2
• Stroke 2 – Childhood....................4
• Stroke 3 - Family History - Conditioned Behaviors....................7
• Stroke 4 - Family Relationships....................11
• Stroke 5 – Family Summary - Past, present, future....................17
#11 – "36 holes in one day" – Par 4....................19
• Stroke 1 – Health and Wellness....................20
• Stroke 2 – Diet....................22
• Stroke 3 – Exercise....................26
• Stroke 4 – Overall healthy living....................29
#12 – "Do you know your golf game?" – Par 4....................32
• Stroke 1 - Knowledge....................33
• Stroke 2 – Process - How do I obtain and retain knowledge?....................36
• Stroke 3 – Practice - What do I do with all of this knowledge?....................40
#13 – "Course Management?" – Par 4 -....................43
• Stroke 1 - Career....................44
• Stroke 2 – What did you want to be when you grew up?....................47
• Stroke 3 – What are your strengths? Your weaknesses?....................55
• Stroke 4 – What is your end-game? What does "success" mean to you?....................61
#14 – "Your one true authentic swing" - Par 5....................63
• Stroke 1 - Spirituality....................64
• Stroke 2 – Education - The importance of investigating other religions and belief systems....................68
• Stroke 3 – God....................74
• Stroke 4 – Path and Purpose - It all ties together!....................77
#15 – "You're on the tee" - Par 3....................82
• Stroke 1 - Leadership....................83
• Stroke 2 – Let's break it down – Key components of Leadership....................86
• Stroke 3 – What type of Leader will you be?....................94
#16 – "Who are your golfing partners" - Par 4....................97
• Stroke 1 - Relationships....................98
• Stroke 2 – Relationship Status....................101
• Stroke 3 – Relationship Building....................105
• Stroke 4 – Romantic Relationships....................116
#17 – "What Are You Doing To Improve Your Golf Game?" - Par 4....................119
• Stroke 1 - Personal Growth/Self Improvement....................120
• Stroke 2 – Adversity and Perseverance – Opportunities in Disguise....................126
• Stroke 3 – Improve your golf game, improve your life....................129
#18 – "Hole in One"- Par 3....................137
• Stroke 1 – Happiness/Enlightenment....................138
• Stroke 2 – Authenticity - The "Mirror Check"....................146
The 19th Hole (conclusion)....................152
Acknowledgements....................157
About the Author....................159
References:....................161

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