The Great One

Ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky, Chicago, Illinois
Image via Wikipedia

I spoke today with someone who has a great love for and knowledge of hockey.   While I share his love I’m afraid I’m way behind in the knowledge department despite my having been immersed in the game for many years.  We were chatting about the uncertain times in which we live and how much time I spend working with companies trying to sort through where they are and how they’ll succeed despite the current circumstances.  His response was to recall one of hockey’s most famous quotes.

It comes from Wayne Gretzky and is excellent advice in any time both on and off the ice:

Skate to where the puck is going, not to where it is.

It’s hard to know that will be these days but that’s why digging a hole and hiding won’t work. One needs to see the entire playing surface and think through the options so you’re ready. That’s is what many people feel made The Great One so great – his ability to anticipate what was going to happen next. He’d be the first to tell you it wasn’t size or speed but vision and an ability to compute the possibilities on the fly.

Yes, he was surrounded by many great players – you should be too – and they were instrumental in helping him succeed. Yes, he made some bad passes in his day – when you push the envelope it’s going to happen. But the fact that his line mate wasn’t ready to shoot didn’t deter him from trying to make the play just as the fact that a market might not be ready for your latest brainstorm shouldn’t deter you from thinking it through and testing the waters.

So if only 99% of 99’s shots and passes were on target, so be it. As he also said, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.  In this environment, seeing the playing field, playing within yourself, and taking some well thought out shots can yield big results and I’d encourage you to try it.

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Filed under Helpful Hints, Thinking Aloud

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