There’s no doubt I’ve been through a lot over the past 7-months — feeling I’d been lied to, used, ditched and abused. (Not that I didn’t make my own mistakes along the way; truly, I did — in fact, I made a bunch of them.) That stuff is documented pretty well in my last two posts, though, if you need to play some catch-up (“House of Cards” and “Yup, I’ve Been Fired!“).
Personally, I’ve turned a cheek on most of those events in the time that’s passed — mainly because dwelling on them seems to suit no useful purpose. Earlier today, I caught an on-line lecture by a business coach, his main message suggesting that we ought not allow ourselves to be crippled by acting the victim. (Think about that one, dear friends.) I also saw the wisdom in the adjoining old adage, urging us to not quit.*
Now, describing my recent transition is likely to require a lot of ‘splaining — 😉 . So, I’ll cover it in two parts, beginning today with my need to assess where I am, and what I have to work with…
Part 1 – Ya, don’t quit…
Ever felt the urge to, though — I mean, like in ending it all? Don’t lie; I have to believe that it’s crossed the mind of every grownup at one time or another. You’re still here reading this, though — and I’m still typing, which suggests to me that we both ultimately came around to another, better alternative. In my case, I frequently get my first kick in the pants from something like this…
“You are a poor specimen if you can’t stand
the pressure of adversity.” ~ Proverbs, 24-10
Ha… It’s almost as if King Solomon knew I was coming — thousands of years later.
That aside, I sense that we all have our own ways of dealing with adversity, overwhelm, frustration, what have you. When I was younger, I did the usual — like pumping some iron, going for a run, or punching a piano. (Ha, again, because I aged rather quickly with that last one, discovering uprights don’t budge a bit, while all the small bones in the human hand surely do. Ugh.)
Lucky for me, I found yet another outlet some 20-odd years ago. That’s when I was asked to write an advice oriented column for a popular hockey magazine (a few years later I also started writing for a second one). Before the birth of CoachChic.com, I was able to address reader questions in hardcopy print. Trust me, that it was an awesome forum in which to vent — about the things I saw wrong in hockey, about some slightly related pet peeves, and about the solutions I proposed for all of those. (Interestingly, many of the ideas I shared in that long running column did influence the game around North America. How do I know? It’s because I saw the right kinds of changes gradually happening, and I was also told so by a number of higher-ups in our game.)
Of course, the two mags I wrote for have since gone the way of the dinosaurs, so I’m thankful I can continue influencing my favorite sport in digital format. CoachChic.com is where I can deal with the way things ought to be when it comes to hockey skills, tactics, strategies and so much more. Only in recent years did I see the need for a slightly related website — the one you’re now reading, where I can share with friends what it’s like to be me on a day to day basis.
So yes, I still have my writing to run to when it seems I’m stalled on other fronts.
Nowadays, I also have social media… I’ll bet you didn’t know that I was one of the first on LinkedIn — back when new members had to be invited; I was one of the early birds on Twitter (pun intended 😉 ); I was invited to test Google+ when that first started; yet I was actually a fairly late arriver to Facebook (where I’ve quickly caught up and garnered around 4200 friends). My point: With upwards of 15,000 social media contacts today, there’s no shortage of people for me to interact with.
Here’s some food for thought… Today, there is a growing number of folks working from home — I call us “soloists”. And, while the lifestyle can be nice — including the 10-second commutes from our beds to our desks, it surely can be lonely. So, for us, a preferred social media site often acts as our water cooler. In my case, I find several sites unbelievable for both help and friendship. For example, lacking an IT department in my “office”, I frequently find that kind of help — sometimes in an instant — via on-line friends like Mike Mahony, Deb Kolaras and Tracey Thorpe Tarrant. And, while I often spend long stretches of time engrossed in writing or producing a video, it’s comforting to know that I can even get a cyber hug just about any time I need one.
You’re wondering where I’m going with all this, huh? Well, it’s all a part of the self-assessment I felt necessary before I could determine a new direction. In a way, I felt I had to list all I have going for me — and even against me — as I ready to plot a new course. And, quite obviously, I thought I’d give you a little background to the decisions I’ll ultimately be making.
My friends in social media know that I bring my laptop and a cup of coffee with me to the back patio each morning, and I basically marvel at the view before me — including the palm trees, the small pond, its beautiful water fountain, and a host of wildlife not seen back in Massachusetts. My trusted buddy Raggs usually falls asleep at my feet, each of us providing more than a little comfort for the other, just knowing our best friend is close by. Not long after all the craziness happened, I let the people running this complex know that the league I’d come down here for had folded, and I’d lost my job. Asked what I planned to do, all I could say was, “I love it right here, and I hope to stay for a long, long time.”
So, that’s one of the givens: that I plan on staying, and fighting. There was no need to tell my landlord that I’d spent nearly every cent I had — recruiting for my former team; getting myself, Raggs and our belongings down here; and trying to arrange the right conditions so I could get my work done well. (In other words, just paying the rent and feeding Raggs and me is going to be a challenge.) I say those things now, however, because they’re also part of the givens, or the current reality.
I won’t bore you with my resume, except to say that I worked pretty near year-round at hockey for over 40-years. I head coached a team for just about every one of the winters included in that span, I’d run my own clinics on off winter days or nights, and then I’d run some of the largest hockey clinics and schools in New England during the spring and summer months. And, while some coaches prefer one age group over another, I’ve always considered myself lucky to have worked with every level — from toddlers to college guys, and even getting the chance to train a good many pros during their off-seasons.
In a way, I think the latter has put me ahead of some of the biggest names in the game. I mean, the pro and college coaches might know how to select the world’s top talents, and they even know what to do with them once they’re on the roster. What few of them can do — and what I can do exceedingly well — is solve the problems of younger players so that they ultimately meet elite level requirements.
Anyway, yet another reality — or given — is that I’m virtually unknown here in the Sunshine State. Some folks back home in New England might say that I’m one of the tops in the world when it comes to doing what I do, but it’s doubtful anyone here even knows I exist, or that I might be just down the road from them. Oh, trust me, that I’ve done some sulking over that. However, as I’ve come to realize in recent days, self pity serves no useful purpose whatsoever.
“Any enterprise is built by wise planning,
becomes strong through common sense,
and profits wonderfully by keeping
abreast of the facts.” ~ Proverbs, 24 – 3, 4
Sooooooo… When it finally came to the facts — or that self-analysis, I included my power within social media as one of them. Right along with that is my CoachChic. membership site, with friends there from all over the world. Our interactions tend to serve an awesome dual purpose: I know I help my members a lot by quickly dealing with their questions, while I also keep the cutting edge advice pouring into that site for them. Selfishly, though, the chance to interact keeps me very much alive, and constantly thinking about the game.
Perhaps you didn’t know that I have an on-line hockey store, that featuring many products you wouldn’t find anywhere else. To be honest, though, I haven’t done that site justice lately, which means that this whole self-analysis thing was long overdue. Upon realizing that, I immediately joined forces with another hockey guy to launch Black Weekend (or an extended version of the current Black Friday craze).
What some might not know is that I’ve published quite a few hockey training manuals, and — having worked with video since 1980, I’ve more recently produced at least 20 instructional videos that are scattered between my membership site and my on-line store. Could I do more? 😀 In my sleep.
Enter my son, Michael… Actually, of all the people who were supposed to take part in the new Junior league down here, Mike and I are the only ones remaining. (Interesting, huh? I think at least part of the reason is that we probably believed in the league’s concepts more than some others, while we both probably also have a lot more dedication to the game.) Anyway, Mike is staying with Raggs and me for the time being, as he attempts to put together a new team playing out of the local Ice Factory. My guess is that most hockey folks would love to be a fly on the wall as we discuss the game nearly 24/7. Trust me, that those conversations hold some meaning to all this. So, while I won’t be giving you any details on those talks, I promise that they will have a huge bearing on what I plan to tell you in Part 2.
Finally, as far as that last graphic just above goes, it was a recent gift from my good friend and favorite cheerleader, Brenda V. As it suggests, I’m kinda banking on the chance to look back on recent events, and having myself a really good laugh.
See you all within a day or so, on where I hope to be pretty shortly.