Everything is a mindset.
I was recently in Denver, working with a bunch of the Avalanche players and was in the midst of my morning routine which consists of an early wakeup, crushing a workout at the hotel, grabbing breakfast and getting over to the rink to skate the guys at 10:30am.
Only this morning, man, I was feeling it. I had just flown in late the night before from Madison, WI, it was a big travel day, with delays, mechanical failures and boy, I didn’t have any Mojo. I could tell that I was mentally fatigued but I decided “as normal” to press on and this time, something happened. It may seem small but it hit me and made a huge impact. I was something in my mind…
At the end of the workout, I had all of these dumbbells of various weights out on the floor in little stations, I was gassed and reluctantly began to rack them on the dumbbell stand. I put away the 50’s, still grasping for breath from my last set and said to myself “OK, heaviest one done, let’s get the 45’s, 40’s…" and so on. Yes, I got them all racked, and you’re probably saying, what’s so difficult about picking up the weights you used after your workout? And your right, that’s a normal process and even though I was bagged, this isn’t about the fatigue. It’s what happened next…
After laying down the last dumbbell I noticed something that usually never happens. I put one of the dumbbells in the wrong place. In my tired, mentally unfocused state, I accidentally put the 45’s in a chronological order in front of the 40’s and we all know that 40 comes before 45. Still, not really a big deal. I mean, stuff happens. Especially when you’re tired and physically exhausted, which is why you need to be fresh when competing. Tiredness leads to mistakes. The big deal is that I saw my mistake and for a second, I was just going to leave it the way it laid…
You might be saying, well that’s not a big deal! The next guy would have just put it in the right place. Well, it was for me. And what I’ve found out it is for most people who enjoy various aspects of success, whether it’s on the ice, in business or with their families, the successful people do things right.
You see, for that split second, I questioned my own moral fabric. I was tired, not mentally sharp, and vulnerable. Then “it” creeped into my mind…cheat. For a brief moment, I was actually going to turn around and walk away from my mistake, I was going to take the easy way out, let someone else fix my error. I was going to allow myself to be lazy, to “work easy” like Barry Trotz used to say. But you see, something else I’ve figured out, nothing gets built that way. Mountains aren’t moved that way. Execution on the ice isn’t produced that way. Great relationships with your families aren’t built that way. There is simply no cheat in the heart of a winner. But don’t be fooled, we’re not immune to “it” creeping into our minds. It hunts us and lurks in the dark when we are vulnerable. The scariest part about this is that’s it’s so real. But we can fight it. We can fight well.
I remember feeling “it” infiltrating my mind and all I remember was my saying “AHH”, I quickly turned back to face the misplaced dumbbell, put it on the floor, racked the 40’s and put the 45’s in the right place. Done right. Cheat didn’t win. But it wanted to.
You see, it’s in these precious times that we as humans build our individual moral code. It’s easy give up, to look away, to stop in front of the blue line. If you’re one of those types, you’re letting “it” poison your mind which sends an infiltrating cheat throughout your whole body. How do you dig down and have those do it right “AHH” moments?
Get around someone who does it right every day. Find your mentor and follow him/her. It’s not surprising that most captains in the NHL are reserved for guys who just do it right. Think of Sydney Crosby, Jonathan Toews and Joe Pavelski. No cheat there. “It’s” not allowed to infiltrate. But it tries. These guys have just been around so many great leaders, it could have started with their parents, their pastor, a teacher, a coach, teammates, family members all doing it right that they just followed. I remember growing up my parents used to tell me never to be a follower. And they we’re so right. Their context was never following people or ideologies of negative impact on all things. My context here, is on the positive, because while there is much less of a cohort, they are still out there. Follow people or ideologies of positive impact on all things. Be a good follower with the right people and you will build up that moral fabric to be just like them. Vere away and “it” will slowly start to creep in, take control and ultimately crush your dreams.
Doing it right means folding your clothes and putting them in your dresser. Doing it right means to hold the door for the lady at the grocery store. Doing it right is giving a high five when a buddy scores a goal. Doing it right is sharing a snack after a long workout, and doing it right is offering to clean up the dishes after dinner. You see, doing it right is not all that hard. The harder part is not listening to “cheat”.
So, next time cheat starts to creep in, fight it and fight it well. Follow those great leaders who are doing it right and hopefully someday I could look to you to help me keep putting the dumbbells back in the right place!