//Justin Potwora
  • Justin Potwora

Justin Potwora

The First Tee of Greater Portland


Working with a “Go-To-Team” helps you become a better student, better citizen, better golfer, and better prepared for life. How has working with a “Go-To-Team” had a positive impact on one of these areas for you?

I’ve had a few different Go To Teams In my life, and realize teams change over time. With that said, one team has been my rock these past 5 years. My First Tee team has helped guide me into who I am today: a better student, citizen and golfer. The culmination of my First Tee Experience happened this fall when I was selected to participate and won the Pure Insurance Championship in Pebble Beach. Although golf is an individual sport and I alone swing the club, this experience wouldn’t have been possible without my team guiding me over the past few years. Initially, I started golfing with a perfectionist attitude which obviously doesn’t go well with this sport. My first tee coaches helped steer my thought process and views in a much more productive light with catapulted my game and also myself as a citizen. For this event, My First Tee coach travelled with me to this last event. He had words of encouragement to settle down my nerves. He helped me navigate the course, people and interviews. This First Tee Go-To-Team and experience helped me become a better golfer while in the spotlight along with becoming better prepared for life and future challenges.

Discuss a time you were part of someone’s “Go-To-Team.” How did you help them become better at achieving their goal or goals?

This year I was selected to be on the Mr Spartan team at my high school. This is an event that is held to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network and each participant is paired with a senior girl. There are a lot of activities over a few months to raise awareness and funds to save these babies. The climax of the program is a Pageant where each Mr Spartan candidate does a talent. I asked Annie, my partner, if she would like to do a ballroom dance with me for my talent. She was initially excited but then after thinking about it started to have doubts. I knew she could do it, she was athletic and a quick study. Without her knowing, I decided to create a go to team for our dance. It consisted of a dance instructor, her best friend and me. We started with the foundation of dancing and quickly built on it. We practiced daily and even during lunch at school. She started to smile during practice and laugh; I knew she was enjoying stepping out of her comfort zone while building confidence. As the pageant approached, she started getting nervous again. I took this as a sign I needed to enroll more help. I had her best friend watch the dance practice and give positive affirmation. She also videoed a practice so we could watch it back. As Annie tried to focus on the mistakes, we steered her to positive thoughts. We went on to do a fantastic dance number. I learned a lot about people through this process. People do want to take risks in life but just need some encouragement, a plan and a good team surrounding them.

Tell us about a mentor or role model with whom you have built a quality relationship. How had this individual helped you achieve your personal goals?

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” My father shared this Chuck Swindoll quote many times through the years. I have come to fully realize the meaning of this quote last summer. I had the privilege to golf a few times with some folks who work with my father. Each outing these people told me how much they respected and loved working with my dad. I asked why and they all had a similar answer. I heard “He is always positive no matter what is happening in the office. He has charisma and people are drawn to him. He always has a kind word.” I realized he was emulating that quote daily in his own life. It was then that I fully understood the power of attitude. I strive daily to mirror my life like my father so that I choose to react to life in a positive way. Since modeling this mindset, my life seems easier (although nothing has changed, I still have difficult classes and normal high school issues) what is different is that I have a bounce in my step and a smile on my face. I wake up excited about the day rather than dreading it. I am ever thankful for this foundation he shared with me through this quote and also his actions.

2018-04-19T16:45:00+00:00