In the book So Your Son Wants to Play in the NHL, Dan Bylsma includes some of the journal entries he made while playing in the ECHL to chart his improvement and progress on the way to his ultimate goal, making the NHL. (No, I don’t have a son or want to play in the NHL, but it’s an interesting story of one of my favourite coaches and how he persevered through some difficulties in his life.) An excerpt from December 21, 1993 when he was 23 years old:
An interesting thought: Today, tomorrow, this week, this “chance” is not the beginning of my career, nor is it the beginning of my dream. It’s another day, another game, another chance, another step along the road that I chose at the age of fifteen. The road that I’ve continually decided to follow at various points along the way, the road that has shaped the last nine years of my life. I’ve made it to this point because of the decisions I’ve made, the time and hard work I’ve put in, and the sacrifices (joys) incurred. So this chance is not the turning point, it’s another decision to work hard, to excel, to attempt to stand above the rest. The turning point was the first decision; this is just another step. All previous steps led to this one and this point shall lead to… well, that is up to me, for me to decide. How hard will I work? How far will I allow myself to journey? Today, I am one step closer to the NHL.
Many of his journal entries conclude with that same affirmation: I am one step closer to the NHL. Each day wasn’t a turning point or about starting new, but building upon the decision he made when he first dreamt of playing in the NHL. Each choice brought him closer to his dream, the road that he had continually decided to follow. It’s not one big decision that determines your life, but a series of choices that are based on the person you want to be, the goals you want to achieve, the dreams you want to put into action.
Game Plan: You don’t get to the NHL if you don’t follow through on your goal, the decision to have a child doesn’t make you a parent, and being baptized doesn’t make you a follower of Jesus. It takes many choices, a continual commitment, to follow through and be that person. Make choices that reflect the person you want to be.