Our mind can often be our biggest advantage, or disadvantage. The right mindset can carry you through tough times and over many obstacles, while a poor mindset can bring you down into lows that you didn't know existed.
I've realized through coaching, and my own life, that simplifying the way we think about things and learning to control the things that are in our power to control have been some of the most helpful pieces of advice that I've built into my life and my coaching.
There have been a few things that I would say have helped define me as a person and a coach. I guess you could call them my set of guidelines that I try to follow in my constant pursuit of success, and also my pursuit of helping those around me become successful.
While there have been various contributing factors, there is one thing that has pushed itself ahead of all the rest.
It's something that I talk to my teams and players about on a regular basis.
Getting 1% better everyday.
I think this way of thinking is especially important, and relevant, for hockey players.
The truth is, we live in a society where people want results instantly. Think about all the late night infomercials you've seen, or even about the guy who works an hour a week and is a millionaire.
While (most of us) know that these things are bogus, there is a part in all of us that believes (or wishes) them to be true.
Often we think the same way when it comes to hockey.
We see great players on TV like Crosby, McDavid, Matthews, Kane... and can sometimes forget the amount of time, effort, energy, and sacrifice that it took them to get to that level.
That's not to say that it isn't important to dream about those things, but rather, to realize that that level of success doesn't just happen overnight.
As the famous quote goes, it's taken years and years of hard work and sacrifice to be the 'overnight success' that you see today.
So what's the point of all this?
As I've talked about before on this blog, while having an endpoint, or goal, in mind is important, it's not always the deciding factor to real success or growth. In fact, more often than not, the real growth comes through the journey.
The real success comes through overcoming the struggle and fighting through the obstacles even when you didn't think you could.
I'm of the mindset and belief that if you can break bigger goals down into more manageable segments, it makes them more realistic and easier to stick to.
In other words, it simplifies the process.
Small incremental gains leads to monumental progress over time.
So in my own life, and those that I interact with and coach, I constantly talk about the 1% rule.
The 1% rule means that my goal for everyday, or every practice or time I touch the ice, that I get 1% better.
Breaking it down into something simple, like getting 1% better, makes everything seem more possible.
If you can do that, will you notice a change from today to tomorrow? No.
But, if you can get 1% better everyday, will you notice a change from today to three months from now? Absolutely.
And for me, that's what it's all about. It's not about doing something for one day and expecting to become an expert or a superstar. It's about building for the long haul and understanding the consistent work that you put in as a player is going to eventually pay off.
I know that it can be frustrating at times to think that way because we want results now, but, I have found that if you can buy into this way of thinking that it becomes easier to stay motivated and accountable in all that you do.
Getting 1% better isn't a quick fix for anything, it's a mindset. It's a way of thinking that will (hopefully) make you enjoy the journey and the process and realize that great things take time.
If you can carry this way of thinking into your hockey career, and life, I firmly believe that you will find yourself achieving more and constantly improving.
Be in it for the long haul. Get 1% better everyday. And become that next 'overnight success'.