For most people, a prolonged quarantine is an opportunity to do some self reflection. And despite the fact that I have been working – I count myself among the ranks of the people around this country who are fortunate enough right now to remain employed – reflection has occurred nonetheless. 

I’ve been playing hockey since I was about five years old – and I’ve been coaching since not too long after that. Along the way, I’ve been on both sides of a ton of learning – not just the game itself, but learning both how to be a better player and how to mold a better player. The years I’ve spent around and on the ice have taught me a lot, and surprisingly, the bulk of it extends beyond hockey and into lessons you can use in everyday life, your job, and probably with your family. 

Incremental Progress is Progress

No one learns how to skate the same day they learn how to put a puck into the top shelf of the neck. Incremental progress is progress; don’t let the pursuit of perfection stand in the way. In the same way that I expect the kids I’m coaching to learn at a pace that fits them, you can’t expect employees on your team or the people in your personal circles to simply flip a switch and right their wrongs. Progress is progress, and it should both be acknowledged and celebrated. 

Play Your Position… 

A defensemen who gets too aggressive with his or her attack of the opposing net can leave his or her team out of position on the defensive end. Outside of a hockey rink, playing your position – and mastering it – can be just as pivotal. Know what role you play in your own life – be it at home or in the office – and focus on that, master that. That’s not to say you can’t aspire for greater things, you certainly can (and absolutely should) always strive to improve yourself. But mastering your role first and prioritizing your own strengths allows others to succeed in their roles, which brings us to the final point.

… And Let Others Play Theirs

There is a force of habit some people have – and it can be especially prevalent in coaches and parents – to overstep bounds sometimes and attempt to do too much. Realize that your strengths are your own, and unique, and that others (whether they’re teammates, coworkers, or a spouse) can bring their own strengths to play. By trying to do too much you not only can find yourself out of position, but stifling others and preventing them from realizing their full potential.