Skate to where the puck is going, not to where it has been. Advice from Wayne Gretzky's Dad
Do we know where our own momentum is carrying us? Where are we pointed? Where are we going?
We know what got you here won't get you there.
The point here is focus on the skating to get to the goal.
I am not talking about your retirement date. We all will retire. I am talking about your life's direction. Not talking about what you want to be when you grow up. I am speaking of the focus on what you are doing and thinking now that propels you forward.
I am definitely not talking about a plan with specific deadlines.
Envisioning a future is not necessarily about a specific date or time. Time to that future is less relevant than what you are doing now that relates to that future. The key time is the Now. Linking the Now to the Future.
Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is. Eckhart Tolle
Now is the most important thing for the next step. If you don't take care of the Now then I can guarantee you what's next is going to disappoint. Where in the puck are you going?
Is this confusing? Stay with me.
I meet so many young people who naturally are obsessed with their futures. Looking, down the road often unrealistically, for certainty and for guarantees of "success". Ahhhh to be young, restless, and ambitious! But they focus on these end goals to the detriment of their current experience building work. They are in a hurry to succeed and are less interested in the effort required to chase their puck. They are more interested in the next game! And their resumes reflect it.
I meet more experienced people (read older!) who are impatient with the rate of change and more fearful. They have less time and more to lose. These folks also want to translate and transfer what they know–even if what they know is not directly relevant. Some can be arrogant about their backgrounds and never make the commitment to recalibrate their skills. They think it is unfair for them to pay their dues again. They like their puck and where its been and wish more people appreciated it. Former change agents unwilling to change!
The point of Gretzky's Dad's advice is to look up from the grindstone and envision your general trajectory. When your current work is put in the context of that direction that's when you gain confidence, fulfillment and a sense of meaning. You are moving to where your goals are.
Then you can engage your network, expand your network to help you.
So the present is key to the next step. What you are doing right now is critical to where you are going?
Love what you are doing to do what you love.
Too many don't make this connection. They think their job is their problem. It lacks "mobility", "mentoring", and "fulfillment". They forget that every job is a temporary opportunity. They fail to see the opportunity in what they are doing now, even if it seems off course. What pains me, is the speed to surrender. How easily we give up and give in to these "obstacles" in our path. What creative things can we do to optimize opportunities where we are? What are we doing outside of work to augment our portfolio of experiences to offset the gaps at our jobs?
A few years ago I interviewed a man who told me how important "social justice" was to him. I asked what is he doing about "social justice" in his life. "Oh nothing right now, but it is very important!" Or my all time favorite story. A young woman told me that her next step was an MBA. I asked her how her GMAT prep was going. She said, What's the GMAT?" Yikes.
On the other hand, I hired an ambitious young man who took a salary cut to work with me. I was counseled not to hire him because he would leave (don't we all leave?:) He exceeded everyone's standards and set new ones. He gained insight into his path and painstakingly honed his craft by taking on more than his share. His work always helped others look good. A few years later he now qualified for a perfect job and he left us better off. He skated hard to catch up with his puck.
How much do our current deeds and activities relate to the path we say/think we are on?
Stop being so generic, so non-commital in describing where you are going to be safe and leave your options open. A directionless puck never scores.
What can we do NOW to align our skating with the direction of our puck? Or set a new direction that may require new skating skills.
Let's all focus on what it takes to skate where our puck is going.
Thanks for reading. John