Finally The Right Door, And I Opened It Myself!
This blog entry may come as a shock to some, or at least a bit of a surprise. To me it’s not, ’cause I felt it coming for the past few weeks. If I’ve surprised myself at all, it’s because I finally did decide “that’s it”.
I’m also surprising myself a little from the way I ended my last post, suggesting back then that I’d pursue a certain Plan A for as long as it seemed feasible, and then I’d move on to Plan B or C and so forth.
Actually, I sense that some folks will find my wade through Plan A interesting, while others might want to skip down to Plan B. The option is also there for you to skip each of my early possibilities, and go right straight to what has now become Plan D for me, or “The Big Decision”.
Plan A – My Dream Job
Just to refresh my faithful followers’ minds, my biggest dream was to start a Junior hockey organization down here in Florida — from scratch. I love molding things. Of course, I’d been building a plan since back in May — in my head, on paper, and on my PC, so I had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted a new organization to look like or be like.
Problem: Most of the important stuff would have to be in place early, in order to go whole-hog into the player recruiting phase, beginning on March 1. So, this being very late December, and counting backwards, we’re really only talking two months remaining to get an unbelievable amount of stuff accomplished.
If you’ll also recall, I’ve been through the Junior recruiting thing once on my own already, and again later helping my son with his team. I’d also spent 7-years trying to lure talented incoming freshman to my old college team. So, I know the questions asked — by the players, and then by the players’ parents. And, should anyone want to believe their questions aren’t valid, I’d say, “Guess again!”
That last bit was a huge bone of contention between the long-gone TEHL Commissioner and me. For example, while parents and players constantly asked if there was a website they could visit, the Commissioner thought it not that necessary. Well, he maybe felt that way, and so could anyone else. What really mattered, though, were the needs of those players and parents.
It’s not much different than any other kind of sales, really… A seller can believe he or she has the greatest product in the world. However, if its features don’t match the needs of potential buyers, the seller is going out of business in a hurry.
Anyway, by March 1, the guy in charge of hockey operations has to be able to say, “THIS is the Beaver Swamp Angels Hockey program!” ( :D That team name, by the way, was an imaginary one concocted by my favorite childhood uncle, who just happened to be one of the world’s greatest storytellers.)
First, an organization wants a player to die to be a part of it; and for that, the things that tend to entice young guys have to be in place. I’m not talking about vague promises that those things are coming, but they need to be in place, and maybe even depicted in photos or in a promotional video.
Secondly — assuming the player does want to come, the parents need to feel secure about a number of things. More than anything, they tend to care about education, housing, the amount of training, and the possibility their son will get exposure to the right people. And THEN — yes, I said, “And Then”… Parents also need to know that it’s going to be worth their while to submit a substantial deposit.
Yet another reason things really need to be in place early is that the recruiting season can be extremely hectic. I mean, I’m talking about dealing with players and scouts from around the globe, and in virtually every time zone. Just considering North America, time zones span some 5-hours — from the Canadian Maritime Provinces to the US state of Alaska. Making telephone connections aren’t the whole of it, though. No, a real recruiter follows a systematic approach for each player, with each being on a totally different timetable.
I mentioned in a previous post how I’ve always liked to stray outside hockey for new ideas. Well, what I’ve learned from some really innovative business leaders is the need to put “systems” in place for certain processes. Besides what I know about hockey recruiting, I gained access this summer to a standard, step-by-step college football recruiting process. As I also mentioned in an earlier post, I’d set up a system of scouts or “bird dogs” — from literally around the world — who promised to stay on the alert for prospects. And, as a suggestion to other Junior hockey recruiters, you might Google “autoresponder” for your emailing needs; I’ve been using one with my Internet businesses for years, and it can be programmed to send out “personalized” messages on any timetable I want.)
If you get my drift, I believe that a ton of stuff has to be in place before recruiting can officially begin, so that the entire process can work as smoothly as possible. Trust me, that there’s little time for other major projects once players are up for grabs. And, trust me further that, if you don’t have the players, you don’t have a hockey organization.
Okay, so we’re creeping up on the end of the year, and I doubt very much that St Nick is bringing me any investors to put that new Junior program’s wheels in motion. Even if Santa did, though, that would leave only January and February to get far too much done.
Perhaps this story will let you know how I’m built… Lots of years ago, I started and then ran a pretty big hockey tournament — it was based in MA, but drew teams from at least four other states and at least two Canadian provinces. On more than one (very) late night occasion, the rink owner told me I was working too hard. I explained to him that, “Something like this is bound to have some things go wrong once the teams start arriving. One problem should be easy enough to handle, and so might two. However, leaving too many things to chance now is just asking for trouble.”
My point, of course, is that I could have used more than two months to do things right, and to limit the chance of foul-ups down the road. Knowing Murphy’s Law rears its ugly head when we least expect it, I’d have preferred to deal with only one or two minor problems once the recruiting season got underway.
Consequently, I’m now announcing that the time has passed as far as I’m concerned, and I won’t be unveiling a new Junior hockey program for the 2013-14 season. If you read on, you’ll discover that it’s unlikely I’ll do that in any future year, either.
Plan B – Not Exactly the Way Things Used to Be
In a way, I’m sad about the need to abandon Plan A, but… Having decided it’s right to put that to rest — it made sense for me to move on to Plan B (if ever so briefly).
Ya, Plan B, which was actually intended to incorporate some of Part C. And, ya, I ever so briefly studied these…
If there was a prayer of me running some Florida-based hockey clinics — or doing any of the other things I used to do back in MA, I’d have had to get on those this past summer. Anyone who knows hockey should understand what I’m saying; for those who don’t, please appreciate that most special hockey clinics begin in the fall and continue through the winter until the spring. So again, it’s virtually impossible to start something new once a rink has done its scheduling and gotten into its fall-winter scheme.
Why didn’t I jump right into offering my services to local rinks, or to local youth organizations, way back in the summer? Grrrrrrrrrr… There were so many times when I’d planned to do just that. However, I’d then catch wind of a chance to get back into the Junior hockey, or I’d hear that there was something else hockey related opening up for me. Later, of course, there was my own misappropriation of time spent on Plan A.
In effect, it was a rollercoaster ride:
I’m going to start my own programs… Oops, no, a better opportunity might be opening up… Naw, better get working on my own programs… Oops, hold on, because there’s a chance that other opportunity is opening up again.
Ya, a regular roller coaster ride.
LOL… I know a few family members have suggested I look into wearing a white paper hat, or that I should practice the phrase, “Welcome to Walmart!” To be honest, I don’t see myself as above such jobs. But, I’ll probably save those for something like Plan E (thank you very much).
Okay, so I’ve said for awhile that I’d work myself from Plan A to Plan B, yet it wasn’t until I got to that second door that I realized it had already closed. Again, the time to look for work at local rinks has long since passed.
I also said that second stage was a two-parter. In other words, while I hoped to run some local clinics or camps, or do some private on-ice lessons, I’d still have plenty of time left over to dabble with something else. And that something else would be another favorite activity of mine, my Internet work — Plan C, if you will.
Plan C – Another Love of Mine
Hmmmmmmm… Did I mention a rollercoaster ride earlier? Man, here’s how it really went:
Some work on my dream job — of building that Junior program… Some thoughts about what on-ice programs I could offer locally… The realization that the only place I was making an income was on-line… Then — oops… A hint from the outside that there might be something good awaiting me…
Call my state of mind through most of that overwhelm, frustration, what have you, but life has not been fun for quite some time:
Up on this possibility, down ’cause it didn’t happen, up with some new possibility, down and disappointed again.
The interesting thing — and see if you can think along with me here, is that any one of those jobs would have been fun and fulfilling. I mean, I surely would have loved running the Junior program, and maybe even coaching the team. I’d have loved overseeing a youth organization (God knows most of the ones in Florida could have used my guidance). I’d have surely loved running my form of weekly skill development and hockey schools (I’m probably the only person you know who has actually helped an easy dozen students make it to the NHL, and hundreds upon hundreds more play at other high levels of the game).
All that said, time spent considering such things has been nothing more than a waste for me, and more dangerously, it threatened my sanity. On the other hand, the only thing I could safely scramble back to was my on-line work, or the part I viewed as Plan C.
Plan D — This Was “It” All Along
Having already mentioned my sanity being threatened, I kinda know that my physical health has also slipped a bit over recent months. I blame a lot of that on the proverbial rollercoaster, because all the changing of attention robbed yours truly of so-called “Me Time”. I somehow became too rapt in the latest whatever — half the time in a panic, and failed to climb on my Whole Body Vibration machine, I skipped the walks I’ve always liked to take for exercise and mind clearing, and I haven’t been in the readily available pool or hot tub since I can’t remember when. And it’s those things — among a few others — that suddenly struck me within the past few days.
What exactly is Plan D? It’s going to be henceforth a total dedication to my Internet work. (Oh, I can hear some of the snickers now.) However…
I absolutely love dealing with my CoachChic.com members. And, while the fee to belong to our group is minimal, folks there pay me fairly well to do something I can really sink my teeth into.
Yet another beauty to that kind of work is that the only boss (or bosses) I have are my customers.
And, guess what… The commute from my bed to my office is about 15-seconds.
Then, besides the fact that I love that work — and I know quite a bit about it, I have to admit that it’s never really been given a fair chance to succeed beyond where it is right now. I mean, every time I’ve wanted to expand CoachChic.com offerings or venture into something new, I’ve been sidetracked by one of the many interruptions I’ve noted above.
And that last statement brings me to say — with no turning back, that I am for now on going to be a full-time Internet marketer. I am also, quite obviously, retiring from coaching hockey, except for the rare instances where it helps my on-line work. So…
– The only reason I won’t quickly sell my personal gear is because I just might want to teach my lady friend to skate at a local public session. I might also need it to demo for a future hockey video production.
– If anyone contacts me for advice on organizing a Junior hockey program — or seeks any other sort of hockey guidance, they’re going to be on the clock for what I got back home when I hired out: $125/hour — and I’m not leaving the comfort of my home.
– It should make sense that I don’t need any seeds planted in my head about potential hockey work doing this or that; that’s what ultimately brought me to this decision.
Lastly, a few things…
Lest anyone think I have any regrets, it’s only that I waited so long to arrive at this decision. You won’t believe how good it suddenly feels, knowing I can get up tomorrow morning with only one hat to wear (phew).
Nor will I miss my old title, because I was already a former high school coach, a former hockey school director, a former college coach, a former guest speaker and lecturer, and a lot of former other things. So, I’m as comfortable as I can be in referring to myself for now on as a former hockey coach.
Perhaps another interesting aside… A lot of guys retire from playing without ever really coming to grips with it — they’ll spend the rest of their living days and nights sitting on a bar stool and crying in their beers, something like, “Ya know, I could have been…”
Well, of the three sports I played, baseball was the one that took me the furthest, and kept me active the longest. A challenge for me arrived when my military commitment sorta meant that I would have to be a part-timer with my team. And, although my manager (God bless his heart) begged me to keep playing, I let him know that I’d suffer more under those circumstances than if I walked away completely. And, son of gun, if I didn’t end up being totally satisfied with that.
So, does it make sense to you that I know in my heart I’m going to be totally satisfied with my latest decision? Truly, you can count on it.
Hopefully everyone understands exactly what’s going on in my head, and wishes me success in my new life. I’m psyched, and I suspect that those who really care about me will at least respect my declaration that…