I live in an NHL hockey market with a team that is in the mist of a rebuild, retool, or whatever in heck the people in the media want to call it. I call it rudderless! The Ottawa Senators for the last three years have been just terrible. Now, they have a boatload of prospects and young talent and are starting to perform . The media and fans are speaking in terms of expectations of this talent and with expectations comes this romantic idea of success. If you assume success is coming you are living in a galaxy far far away!
I believe there is a formula for success and I wish I would have discovered it 40 years ago, but I found it four years ago. You see success is an outcome, and outcomes we no control over. What we do control is the process that gets us to a potential outcome we desire. It is the elements of the process that are key . What gets lost by the fans base and the media to a certain extent is they see talent and they immediately jump to the conclusion that the team with most talent will win. On some nights that is true, but for the long haul NOTHING could be further from the truth. To go along with the talented players, who must be educated and coached under highly competitive situations. An example is the Club golfer who has a five footer to win a dollar from his buddies. No pressure, it is only a dollar and five minutes of trash talking. However, can she/he make the five footer to win the Club Championship? Athletes need to be put in these positions so they know the feeling and more importantly how to manage and prepare for that moment. Pressure is an equal opportunity offender. Teams that are prepared for this will perform better.
The next step in the process is what happens if failure ( I prefer to call it struggle) occurs. The question you need to ask is did I stick with the process as the pressure mounted? As pressure mounts athletes have a tendency to hold back effort out of concern the outcome may not go their way. Remember success is never guaranteed . When you struggle you become vulnerable and when you are vulnerable it can be easy to justify the struggle. We must learn how intense competition impacts the athlete.
The media raises the hopes of the fan base by focusing in on how talented these young athletes are. What the Ottawa Senators need to do is continue the developing that talent but also teach these athletes how to execute under pressure and develop grit and resiliency. Like last night giving up 39 shots to a Vegas team that was under skilled. Struggle does not play favorites. It gets everyone. The response to the struggle is what separates mediocre teams and athletes from the high performers. Not sure the average fan understands this. The Vegas team worked through the struggle and got a good outcome. Not really sure Ottawa saw that or understood it.
I will leave you with this statement from the American Academic Brene Brown: “I want to be in the arena and when we make the choice to dare greatly, we sign up to get our asses kicked. We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time.” It looked to me that Ottawa chose comfort!
Until next time.
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