James Clear: Average Speed

James Clear is a writer that I follow on Twitter. His blog is fantastic and I highly recommend it to anyone. He focuses on personal development and the path to becoming great. He published a great piece about Average Speed and how it’s about putting in work every day over time.

Read it here: http://jamesclear.com/average-speed

And follow his blog and on Twitter while you’re at it.

One Word 2016

For those of you that know author Jon Gordon, he has a book titled “One Word That Will Change Your Life

The premise is to create discipline through simplicity – find one thing to focus your energy on and use that as your guiding principle for the year. Every year, Jon has a new “One Word” for himself as a target area for growth. We all have areas that we can improve upon and ways that we want to do better in life.

Personally, my “One Word” for 2016 is punctuality. While this obviously refers to times for meetings, appointments and the like, I also believe it applies to other areas of life as well. I see punctuality including housework, grocery shopping, making my lunch every day, etc. I also see it as making sure I post to this blog every week (I think this is the first post since October???).

Punctuality requires diligence and a little more attention to detail in all areas of my life. Learning how to say no to something, or ask others for help when I truly can’t get something done. I know that focusing on my “One Word” for 2016 will help me become a better coach, husband, friend and person.

Jon Stewart, Superboss

Great read from the Harvard Business Review on how Jon Stewart created a “Comedy Tree” and grew talent at the Daily Show:

Jon Stewart, Superboss

Lead Ahead

Lead Ahead – the ability to show the way for others by diving in to the trenches and helping to dig the ditch

Lead Ahead – lacking the entitlement that often comes with a fancy title

Lead Ahead – seeing what issues and problems may arise in the future and nipping them in the bud before they happen

Lead Ahead – challenging those you lead to produce at their very best

Lead Ahead – giving people room to make mistakes, knowing that their biggest growth is the result

Lead Ahead – creating buy in from everyone in your group because they know at all times that you are all in for them, so they are all in for you

Expand Your Horizons

Hockey is a territorial sport. Generally speaking, in coaching circles, there are eastern guys and western guys. Players have a tendency to gravitate towards their home area. People get put into boxes, whether it is major junior, DI, pro, etc.

There is something to be said for the familiarity factor this brings. Coaches know their level and the players that would be successful at their level. Players know their teammates and the other players in the region. Scouts get a feel for the talent level and how those players translate to the next level.

At the same time, there is a major drawback to the territorial nature of hockey. You fail to expand your boundaries. You lose out on other perspectives. You stay comfortable, often never stretching beyond your current worldview. Players from different regions have different styles of play. Coaches from different backgrounds teach the game differently, practice differently and bring a different view of the game. Scouts have different eyes for talent, valuing some attributes more than others.

Hockey offers opportunities for you to reach beyond your territory. It takes initiative and some confidence to get outside of your comfort zone and encounter new ideas. Travel to hockey camps outside of your area. Call coaches from different leagues and tap into their ideas about the game. Challenge yourself and your own worldview on a regular basis.

The more your horizon expands, the more your own game grows.

Pushing Your Limits

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Three weeks ago I went on a night snorkel with Manta Rays. I am not the biggest fan of the ocean. It was dark and we were in water about 40 feet deep. Who knows what was out there…(sharks?)

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Sunday, I jumped out of an airplane at 7500 feet. Who knows what could have gone wrong (parachutes anyone?)

High risk activities? You betcha.

Easily two of the most incredible experiences of my life. And two things I never would have thought I would have done 10 years ago.

Both of these things stretched my limits. We all have a fear of the unknown. I had no idea what to expect when I jumped into the warm evening waters of Hawaii. My heart skipped a few beats when the airplane door flew open and I had to stick my foot out on the ledge. Each time, the experience was beyond anything I could have imagined. (as an aside, I highly recommend both – absolutely amazing!!)

If I had said no to these life changing experiences, I wouldn’t have really known the difference. My life the next day would have been relatively similar to the day before. But my life is exponentially improved having done these two things. Jumping out of an airplane at 7500 feet and jumping into dark water 40 feet deep (at night) helped me redefine what it means to be nervous. It also gave me a new definition for amazing.

Every time you step on the ice to play, there is a chance that you may fail. When you try a new move or work on a new skill, there is a risk of failure. There was also a chance that I could be attacked by a shark or that the parachute wouldn’t open. If I had let my fear of danger and failure rule the day then I never would have had the chance to experience amazing. To get to amazing, you have to get past your fear of failure. Pushing your limits usually requires risking failure and a little bit of danger.

You cannot know what else is out there until you stretch your limits to reach beyond the world you presently know.

After these two life changing experiences, I’m excited about the future. I’ve redefined amazing and now know what it truly feels like to conquer fears (I’m afraid of heights and I used to hate the ocean…). I pushed my limits, stretched myself and have a whole new threshold to meet. I challenge you to do the same. Get outside of your comfort zone and grow, whether its your game, your career or your life. You’ll never know what is on the other side until you get there.

Learning and Development at Goalie Camp

I’m spending this week working at a great goalie camp on the beautiful campus of Merrimack College. There are 96 goaltenders of every age attending, as well as over 20 coaches. Goalies and coaches have come to North Andover from Sweden, Canada and almost every corner of the US.

On and off the ice, the exchange of ideas is tremendous. We trade ideas on everything from drills, to technique, to situational play. Coaches and players are spitting out ideas all the time. We are adapting, teaching and learning things both new and old. In our down time, we discuss situations, techniques and ideas. Concepts and teaching points are coming from plays are coaches alike.

Today, we saw a goaltender use a triangle push to go from post to post against a player moving along the (a new method we hadn’t thought about but loved). We taught a lean technique (popular in Sweden) for plays below the goal line. A challenging day of growth and development for everyone involved.

This camp pushes coaches and goaltenders beyond their comfort zones and forces everyone to try new things and learn new methods. We expose ourselves to new approaches and different styles and our own methods and styles evolve.

Growth and development occur when you are in an environment that encourages people to try new things and not fear failure. By surrounding ourselves with people different from ourselves who have different approaches to the game, we are growing as players and as coaches.