Humans are creatures of habit who are influenced by their environments. We are biologically wired for survival.

Human nature is to find the smoothest means of success within our present environment. We will always look to find the “path of least resistance” towards our goal. The easiest route to success is not always the one that is in our best interest.

Is it easier to work out at lunchtime or wake up 30 minutes earlier and do it in the morning? Is it easier to pick up a pizza or cook a well-rounded meal?

The first step to growth and self-improvement is understanding that your default is the path of least resistance and choosing to make the decision that you know is in your best interest. In the words of the Cadet Prayer – “Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never be content with a half truth when a whole can be won.”

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.

Happy New Year?

Warning: This post will be slightly cynical.

Happy New Year! The first thing a lot of people have said in the last few days.

But why? Why do we celebrate New Years? What makes midnight on Jan 1 any different from any other day?

A new calendar, a new twelve months, a new year. People make “Resolutions” – goals and objectives for a new calendar year.

What we fail to realize – a new calendar is not going to change our daily habits. We are not going to be dramatically different people just because the calendar has changed from 2014 to 2015.

Habits change with intentional action on a daily basis. Anything we want to change about ourselves we can only change one day at a time. Given a choice, the brain will always choose the easier route. To enact change you must consciously choose the harder right on a daily basis. A new calendar by itself will not create change.

Rather than Happy New Year – I say Happy New Day. Every day is a chance to make the choices you need to enact change in your life. Realize the value of the day and make the choice that can change your life.

Happy New Day.

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.

Expanding Your Horizons

People devote their lives to sports because of the passion and love they have for them. Work ethic, determination and devotion are critical forces that help to drive people to success.

But how often to people actually put in an effort to become a more well-rounded version of themselves? How much time is spent becoming a better human being? Getting outside of your comfort zone and pushing your boundaries.

Something as simple as reading the newspaper – how many people don’t keep up with current events (at home and especially abroad)?

Expanding your horizons by doing things outside of your comfort zone will enrich your life experience, but also grow your ability to be successful.

  • Learning how to play an instrument will help you with timing, rhythm, synchronicity, and dexterity, as well as expanding your brain’s ability to learn
  • Reading books will develop your imagination, creative ability and help develop your understanding of the world around you, among other things
  • Doing puzzles – creativity, problem solving, motor skills, etc
  • Going on a hike – balance, stability, understanding of the world, etc

Speaking from personal experience, I’ve been taking dance lessons for the past few weeks. It has made me (a little) more agile and graceful, but more importantly, it has allowed me to go through the learning process. Putting myself in the shoes of my players has helped me to understand what goes into effective teaching, modeling and communication.

There are any number of things that will broaden your experience on this earth as well as help you become a more well-rounded and successful human.

The world is a vast and wonderful place – immerse yourself in it and you will be better off because of it.


There are many things that help predict success: work-ethic, motivation, physical traits, demeanor, etc. In my experience, I believe that nothing is a better indicator than Self-Awareness. The ability of a person to be self-aware dramatically increases their ability to be successful in all situations in life.

What is Self-Awareness? It is having an acute sense of self, what you are doing, and how you impact others. It is the ability to critically evaluate yourself and your actions for better or worse. Self-awareness is seeing the forest from the trees; understanding the bigger ecosystem in which you operate; understanding that each action creates a chain of reactions.

Why is Self-Awareness indicative of success? I have found that players and people who understand who they are and what they are doing have a much higher rate of success. They understand their actions and how those actions created a positive or negative result. They can shift their behavior to create more positives because they understand what they did to create a negative. Too many people see the world as causing them harm and out to get them.

It is very easy to see people in the world with a lack of self-awareness and a heightened sense of self-importance. These people can do no wrong and blame others constantly. They fail to see what is going on around them and the impact that they are having on the bigger picture.

Be self-aware today. Evaluate yourself and your actions. Understand your strengths and your weaknesses. Determine what you can do to create the positive results that you want. Increasing your own self-awareness will quickly improve your chances for success.


Kaizen is a Japanese word for “improvement” or “change for the better”. It is also a Japanese business management philosophy that focuses on improving all functions of a business. It is a unilateral improvement process that involves every level of an organization – “How can we perform better?”

The 5s Kaizen Principles break the process down into five areas of improvement.

Seiri – Sort, Clear Out – Rid yourself of clutter, extra things, distractions (mental & physical)

Seiton – Set Things in Order – Organization of things and processes

Seiso – Clean and Shine – Appearance, Self-Awareness of your impact

Sieketsu – Standardize – Set a Standard of Performance and then monitor benchmarks

Shitsuku – Self Discipline – Focus and Discipline to practice the principles of Kaizen


As coaches, we strive for daily improvement from ourselves and our athletes. The 5s Kaizen Principles help to give direction and guidance on how we can improve every single day. Focusing on these 5 areas will help anyone continue to improve on a regular basis.