As I finished Jay and Dan Bylsma’s wonderful book, So Your Son Wants to Play in the NHL? (the ‘secret’ is to prepare your kids for life because those skills will translate to everything), I loved this thought that they ended with, and it made me think of success in a different way: We often see success as an end point… an accomplishment that we are working towards. Just as when Dan said earlier that the chance is not a turning point but another opportunity to excel, success is not a specific point in time when you reach your goal. What happens when you make the NHL/are accepted into college/reach a huge goal? Success is continuous, something that we can live every day when we keep setting goals for ourselves and living the way we want to.
Success is not just making it to the NHL; success is a continuum. It happens daily. When you make yourself better on a daily basis, when you set goals and achieve them, you are achieving success. It is not extraordinary. You do not all of a sudden achieve a huge amount of success the day you make it to the NHL or reach whatever goal you have set for yourself. To get there, you have been achieving success all along.
Success comes through the process of setting goals, working hard to accomplish the goals and then re-evaluating where you are and where you want to go from where you are. It is not luck, it is preparation. It is being ready for the next opportunity when it comes.
If success is a continuum, then it is not signified by an accomplishment. It is the process of accomplishing noticeable improvement. Success is not something you will have one day, but did not have the day before. Successful means being “full of successes.” Thinking of success in that way, it is not something that only Michael Eisner or Wayne Gretzky or someone else with presumed superior genes can attain. I can be successful as a player, as a student, as a coach, as a husband, as a father… If I have successes in lots of little ways, I become full of success – successful. You can, too. Starting today.
Game Plan: How do you think of success in your own life? What are your values, your goals, and how are you working towards them?