Skate to Where the Puck Is—Lessons from 'The Great One'
It's up to you to create your future. Tough times require tough performances. Tough times bring out champions. The greatest hockey player in the history of the game—"The Great One," Wayne Gretzky—was deemed too small, too wiry and too slow to be a force in the NHL by the so-called "experts." But, he has a lot to teach us about creating greatness. Here are some quotes by The Great One that we can learn from.
"The highest compliment that you can pay me is to say that I worked hard every day, that I never dog it."
Gretzky was playing against 10-year-olds when he was only 6 years old. He learned to be tough and always perform at his highest level. When you're working at creating value for your clients, you certainly must be delivering your very best game. When you're working, work hard, have a plan, apply your skills, and utilize your very unique creativity and personality to the best of your ability, and you'll never dog it.
"I think it's essentially a matter of taking care of what takes care of you."
Gretzky also was a bit obsessive over his hockey sticks. He didn't like his touching or crossing any others. He even put baby powder on the ends.
When it comes to your profession, your livelihood, are you "taking care of what takes care of you"? Your best clients, your best suppliers, your best employees—how are you taking care of them?
Your best clients deserve your best work. Your best suppliers deserve your highest loyalty and an ongoing spirit of cooperation and partnership. Your best employees deserve your appreciation, recognition, mentoring and development. And how about your industry? You can take care of your industry by giving back through your regional and international associations. A strong industry requires your participation, your voice, your votes and your volunteerism.
"You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take."
A changing economy, new buyers and new technology are no reasons to take anything but your best shot every day. You can't make sales if you don't make calls. You can't open new accounts without risking some rejection. Your closing percentages may be way down. Take more shots!
"Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases, and its toll on success and happiness is heavy."
If you're waiting for a better economy, waiting for a nicer day, waiting for something in the future—you are creating nothing. To create value, you must do it in the only reality there is—right this moment. When you are working, work. Turn off your email for an hour. Let Facebook rest for the morning. Your friends will be there later. Setting goals is important, but taking action steps right now will move you closer to making a score and winning.
"I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been."
Of all the Gretzky quotes, this is my personal favorite. Many of us still are playing by the rules of the game of business as they were in the past (or 1975 for some). The puck has moved, and it's not coming back. You need to adjust to the new realities, learn the new rules of marketing, and learn the new rules of engagement to continue to learn and grow. The puck won't just come to you. You must be moving out there to meet it.
You also must create value for your customers by helping them see where the puck is going to be and meeting it. You do that by constantly improving your skills, by looking for new ways to create relevant solutions and new, innovative strategies.
Where do you want to be? Skate over there now.