After raising three children, Miller received her ‘Big Break’
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article on Silver Creek resident Cindy Miller appeared on MiamiHurricanes.com on Wednesday. It is a compelling and inspiring read about the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Famer, written by Kevin Ivany, the University of Miami’s assistant director of communications. This is the second of two parts. The first ran in Friday’s edition.
After raising her three children, Cindy Miller once again thought about returning to the golf course when she learned of the LPGA Legends Tour.
So, she picked up the phone and asked if she could compete. But she was hit with a familiar phrase, “You are not good enough.”
“I was 48 years old. How many times do I have to hear this?” Miller thought.
Finally, told she had to qualify, she picked up her golf clubs and began practicing. Miller not only qualified, but she also received an email from the Golf Channel asking if she wanted to be a part of a women’s reality television show called the Big Break.
“The little voice in my head said, ‘You don’t want an exemption, you are too old. What if you don’t hit it far enough?’ Miller recalled.
“And then the other little voice said, ‘Excuse me, but you want to win a tournament on the Legends Tour and this will be a great opportunity to learn how to not choke your guts out. Oh, good point!’
“So, I went on the show, I did really well and when I returned to the Legends Tour I got a sponsor exemption and I was now a television golf celebrity,” Miller continued. “I birdied the 17th hole of the final round, walked to the last tee tied for the lead and I needed to hit a shot over the water with thousands of people watching me and I knock it on the green. I two-putt for par and I was like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God. They know who I am.’ But, then my friend birdied 17 and won by one stroke. So, I finished second, but I proved to myself that the dream that I had to be a star was not a nightmare. I was good enough.”
Currently a Certified Behavior, Motivation and Emotional Intelligence Professional, Miller is sought after as a speaker, coach and corporate trainer. Using decades of competitive golf experience and a lifelong pursuit of personal potential to educate participants, she inspires and challenges individuals, teams and corporations to unlock potential and improve performance.
Voted the 2010 National LPGA Teacher of the Year, she has also been named Player of the Year for the Northeastern United States. Miller is among The Top 50 Women Teachers in the United States ranked by Golf Digest and The Top 50 Women Teachers in the World by The Women’s Golf Journal.
Miller and her husband form the only couple in the world that has combined to play on all four major tours; LPGA, PGA, LPGA Legends and PGA Championship Tours. They have been working with people of all ages and to help them develop their games.
“Allen is like a ball-striking wizard, so he has definitely helped me understand the golf swing,” Miller said. “Like I never understood all of this when I was little. So, it is my mission to share this with others because I was like, ‘Holy cow, this makes so much sense.’ So, when people come in, I look them in the eye and tell them that I can help them. And I love helping others. I have 85-year-old people who don’t think they can hit the ball any better and I have three-year-olds who hit the ball in the air for the first time. And anything in between.
“The only problem is that you have got to want to get better. If you want to whine about not getting better, go find somebody else,” Miller continued. “So, I absolutely love helping people get, do and be better. And now [Allen and I] are Certified Behavior, Motivation and Emotional Intelligence professionals because that stuff saved our marriage. And we do a lot of corporate training.”
Looking ahead, Miller has a few goals in mind focusing on her ‘Own It’ project.
“I have created this thing called the It Box and it is a non-profit for kids,” Miller said. “There are three things in the box; a nail, a mirror and a seed. And it represents your potential, your passion and your purpose in your life. And I teach people to ‘Own It.’ Your business. Your sport. Your life.
“I am now creating coaching programs, retreats and corporate training programs to teach people to ‘Own It.’ I want to change the world. With my non-profit, we go into schools and I tell them my story. I then give them the opportunity to participate in the pursue your ‘It’ project and I teach kids how to do this. We help them to create a vision board for their futures. In fact, I want to partner with Pitbull, down in Miami, and go into those schools and teach those kids how to ‘Own It.’ That’s my big vision.”
When asked what she would say to Cindy Kessler if she could go back and speak to her 10-year-old self, a tear came to her eye.
“Good job, honey, you worked your butt off. You were put on this earth to go through these challenges, to prove to yourself that you can accomplish things beyond your wildest dreams,” Miller said. “And now your job is to help others do the same thing.”