Its the Little Things

Why do we put off the simple, easy tasks that would make our lives that much better/easier/simpler?

Things like cleaning a room or a desk. Like checking the mail every day. Shooting 50 pucks. Doing one extra set of a lift. Spending an extra five minutes on the practice green.

We put them off because we can. Because it is easier to say “oh I can do it tomorrow, it will only take 5 minutes”. Those dishes can wait until the morning, you could pay your bills easy enough tomorrow.  You’re really tired at the end of a workout and think you don’t need to put in a little extra.

All of these things are simple but not easy. They will improve your fortunes over the long run tremendously, but have very little value in the short game. Spending time and energy on things that have little immediate value can have tremendous dividends – not only do the activities help you in the future, but your ability for self-discipline and mental toughness grows.

So the next time you think, I’ll just do it tomorrow. Stop yourself. Do it today. Do it now. Your future self thanks you.

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The Value of Habits

Habits – they seem to be everywhere. Do you make your bed? Brush your teeth? Keep your room clean? The list goes on…

To me, habits are the little things that stand between success and failure. The little things that are the big things. Life is lived on the margins, the line between “making it” and not is so fine. Habits are what will ultimately separate the wheat from the chaff.

There are a lot of people in the world all trying to achieve things. Professionally, there are thousands of people who are trying to climb the ladder. A lot of people can do a lot of jobs, so what’s the difference between those who make it and those who don’t?

It comes down to habits – take care of your habits and you will take care of business.

How You Do One Thing…

“How you do one thing is how you do everything”

I read a study once that said people who make their bed every morning are better at managing their money and sticking to a budget.

The amount of attention to detail you put into one part of your life carries over to the rest of it. Life is all about habits. If you habitually stay on top of the little details and take care of business in one area, then you will naturally pay attention to detail in other areas of your life.

In recruiting, often the player who appears well-organized, thoughtful and attentive during a recruiting visit is the same player who is coachable and does the little things right on the ice.

It’s no accident that most college student-athletes carry a much higher GPA in season than in the off-season. Their attention to detail is higher and they have a much more fine-tuned focus due to the pressure and intensity of the season and the coaching they are receiving.

Improvement in life is in the details. Place a focus on attention to detail and you will see your success take off.

Paradox of the Product Goal

This is from an article by Jason Selk on Forbes.com:

Strategy number two is to help the CEO identify with the process, not the result.  Think about a baseball player in the batter’s box. If all he’s thinking about is, “I gotta get a hit,” he won’t. It’s what’s called the “paradox of the product goal.” What the batter needs to think about are the actions that will get him a hit – tracking the ball, the short swing, and the follow-through.

The same truths apply to CEOs. Instead of dwelling on meeting their numbers, they need to think about the process that will ensure that success. All they need to do is focus on the three most important tasks to get them to their goal. Science tells us that focusing on process is what brings results.

How many players get caught up in the paradox of the product goal? They think “I have to score” or “I have to make a play” and get so focused on doing that one thing that they forget the details that allow them to do that in the first place. They forget about moving their feet, seeing their options, skating hard, making the smart plays and instead try to force things and do it all themselves. Focusing on the process will ultimately lead to a successful result. Doing the little things right leads to big success.

Stick on Puck

Defensive hockey is all about two things, stick position and body position. How you position yourself and your stick will dictate what your opponent can and cannot do. The single biggest teaching point when coaching defensive hockey (whether forwards or defense) is stick on puck.

Bringing your stick to the puck applies pressure on the offensive player. It takes away his or her immediate options. It eliminates any passing lanes that may have been available. It forces the puck carrier into a puck protection situation or creates a turnover. It allows you to position your body to hit/pin the offensive player. Stick on puck effectively shuts down the puck carrier.

The timing of stick on puck is critical. One on One situations call for stick on puck. A defenseman playing a rush should not use stick on puck. A forechecker finishing his check should look to come in stick on puck. A forechecker looking to cut the ice in half should not.

Stick to puck needs to be strong and firm, it should not be a sweep. The player should attack with his/her stick out and a strong wrist. A sweep to the puck will open lanes and options as the stick moves. With the right timing and pressure, stick on puck is the most effective defensive technique for shutting down an opponent.

What a Flat Tire Can Teach You

Driving home from the rink today I wasn’t 100% focused on my driving, instead looking around at campus. My tire nudged the little stone barrier on the side of the road, and the sidewall blew out. While getting a flat tire sucks, it reminded me about two very important things.

1. Execution requires focus. I was not very focused on my drive home. Even though I have done it many times, executing the drive home still takes concentration. I spaced out for a brief second and I blew a tire. It is no different in sports – have a momentary lapse in focus and you instantly increase your chances of failure. You must be completely focused on the task you are trying to accomplish and all the little details that are involved in doing your job successfully.

2. View the world from the inside out, not the outside in. My first thought was “Ugh, this sucks. I’m having an average day, and this would have to happen.” This was a very selfish and outside world thought. I instantly blamed my flat tire on the world conspiring against me, rather than my own lethargy and lack of discipline in my driving. As soon as I had that thought, I knew that I could not let my flat tire dictate the rest of my day. The world is what you make of it, not what it makes you do.

Luckily, getting a flat tire requires that you change it. I had plenty of time to sit and think while changing my tire and it helped me to clear my head and get back on the right track.