When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? I know for me, it ranged from being a referee in the NHL, youth worker, and even had a season of life when I wanted to study to be a herpetologist (someone who studies
amphibians and reptiles). Those of you that knew me growing up will understand that last one. I wanted to be a referee because I never played ice hockey, so being realistic I knew I wouldn’t make the NHL as a player, but I loved the game. Most NHL players start at a very young age and work extremely hard at breaking into the big league, I was a dreamer, but I also understood what was realistic. Professional hockey players are an interesting group of people but as different as they all are, they all have one thing in common. The one thing they have in common is an extremely valuable lesson for the rest of the world. What is it? Well, I am glad you asked, but first…
Going back to what you wanted to be when you grew up. How far off were you? Whatever it was, police officer, fireman, doctor, teacher, herpetologist – what was it? What actions did you ever take to chase that dream? When did that dream fade, or did it? Obviously, I am not a herpetologist – so when did my dream fade? I believe that finding out what was involved to reach the dream career deterred me away from pursuing something I thought I was passionate about. The process that I needed to execute was not one that I was willing to go through to become a herpetologist. Looking back now, I know I made the right choice. Pursuing a dream where my skill set and passion were not aligned drove me to look at other options. I am sure this happens to many people as we grow up and start to figure out what our purpose is in life. But what does this look like for hockey players? Most professional hockey players have the skill set and passion for the game, they embrace the process. What happens to the ones that do not have the skill set to make it to the big league, did their dreams fade away? What dream am I talking about? Right, that one thing all professional hockey players have in common that we can learn from, what is it?
Hockey players dream of that Stanley Cup moment. That moment they raise Lord Stanley, full of emotions as they finally reached a moment in time that they have been dreaming about for years. All that hard work, time commitment, sacrifices and more to get to this one moment of celebration. Ask anyone that has won a Stanley Cup and I bet they will tell you it was well worth it. How about those athletes that invest so much of their life trying to break into the N.H.L but don’t make it? They are forced to find a new path in life – where does that dream of their Stanley Cup moment end? When they start a new career? When they play their last game of hockey? The thing is, it should never end. Everyone should have a dream of their own “Stanley Cup moment”. No, not actually winning the Stanley Cup but something in life to work towards that when you reach it there is no other feeling in the world, a feeling that can only be described by those who have achieved it. Even then, most are speechless when they arrive at that moment.
What is your “Stanley Cup moment”? Is there something you work on everyday that drives you closer to a dream that when you reach it you will be speechless? Perhaps it is becoming CEO of the company you work for, owning your own business, raising money to build a homeless shelter or (insert your biggest dream here). What is your Stanley Cup moment? Do you have one? The process to become a professional hockey player is a long road and when you see these guys hoist that Cup you can not help it but feel the level of satisfaction that it brings to them and their families. If you do not have a Stanley Cup moment defined for your life, think about one. Think about what it would be and then take it one step at a time. Remember, only a fraction of people with the dream of raising the Stanley Cup get to do it – another reason it feels so good for those who accomplish it. I love the Robin Sharma quote that I believe relates to this quite well, “Dream Big, Start Small, Act Now”. This quote applies to any dream anyone can ever think of. Those hockey players that never made the N.H.L had to readjust their Stanley Cup moment. Life is sure to change, but our desire to drive towards our “Stanley Cup moment” never has to go away. Keep on dreaming.