Hockey’s an unbelievable game.
Chances are that if you’re here reading this now, that you probably feel the same way.
I know I’ve talked about it before on here, in that most of the valuable life lessons and skills I have in my life today can be traced back to hockey.
My wife and I talk about it all the time as far as what are the most important lessons that we’ve taken away from sports. For me, I think there are four big lessons that I have taken away from hockey. And I also believe that if you can truly master these four principles, they will make you successful in not only hockey, but really anything that you decide to do.
Confidence - The older I get and the more I coach, the more I realize that confidence is nearly everything. It’s something that I wish I had more consistently as a player, but is something that I see now as absolutely vital to success in whatever you want to do. Confidence and success I believe work hand in hand. The people that can find and build upon their successes are the people that are going to be building and growing their confidence. I know it can be a bit cliche but it’s totally true in that, if you don’t believe in yourself then how is anyone else supposed to? It’s something that we should all be working on everyday. Find success in the little things and constantly be building yourself up.
Work Ethic - We live in a world where everyone is compared to everyone else. Where it’s easy to find excuses and want the glory without putting in the blood, sweat, and tears to get there. I think it’s become more socially acceptable to give up, or blame someone (or something) else when things don’t go your way. In reality, if you really want something in hockey, or life, you need to realize that it’s going to take a lot of work and it’s not going to be easy. The process of working to get what you want is what truly builds your character and helps define you as a person. Don’t short change yourself on that experience because you’re scared to work for something. Push through the pain and push through your limitations. That’s ultimately what will help you grow and become the person that you want to be. Just remember, there’s no short cut for hard work. If you try to find it, it will eventually catch up to you.
Failure - Learning to overcome adversity is part of hockey, and more importantly, part of life. In my experience, the people that learn to deal and work through adversity are the ones that have the most success on the ice, and off. What do you do when things get tough and don’t go your way? Do you fold up and quit? Do you look for someone else to fight your battle for you? Or, do you stand in there, hold your head up high, and learn and grow from the experience. Success is not supposed to be easy and failure is part of it. In fact, I don’t think success is possible without failure. So when things don’t go your way and you get knocked down, get back up and keep grinding. If it’s something that you really want, you’ll look back and realize those moments that you kept moving forward are the ones that defined you.
Teammates - A group on the same page is always more powerful than the individual. Just like hockey, in life, the successful people surround themselves with people who have different skill sets. It’s just how a hockey team can’t have 4 first line centers, but, if they have 4 lines that all know their role and work together towards the same objective they’re probably going to have a lot of success. Learning to work with a team is also a great teacher of humility and ego. The first advice I would give anyone looking to fit in with a team is to check your ego at the door. Realize that having the right attitude and putting the group goal at the foreground is the real way to create amazing success. The last bit that goes along with having teammates, is building relationships. It’s amazing the friends you can make and the opportunities that can present themselves by learning to work well with others and build relationships.
So while I know there are even more tremendous traits that hockey has taught me, I think that anyone who can master these 4 will definitely set themselves up for success in whatever they pursue.
And just like so many other things I’ve talked about on here, none of them take talent.
They all simply take an honest commitment from yourself. A desire to learn, work, and be great.
They all take work, and they all usually don’t come easy, but I can assure that they’re all worth it.