Vladislav Tretiak said “There is no position in sport as noble as goaltending.” From a mental toughness perspective, being an ice hockey goaltender is one of the toughest positions in all of sports. Every game, a goalie must deal with failures. Some are minor, such as giving up a low percentage rebound, and some are more grievous, such as giving up a game winning goal in double-overtime of a championship game. There is no better position from which to learn how to find victory in failures.
Here are 5 tips for goaltenders to handle failures, and as the theme of this blog asserts, these lessons apply to the failures we face in life as well. We’ll look at the first today and address the remaining over the next few weeks.
- Allow yourself to have short-term memory loss
- Stay in the game
- Filter who you listen to
- Build on small successes
- See the forest through the trees
Allow yourself to have short-term memory loss - during those few moments after a goal is scored, while the other team is celebrating their goal, evaluate what you could have done differently to make the save. Visualize the exact same play but instead of getting scored on, visualize making the save…again and again and again. Once that is drilled in your mind, forget the goal and move on. Do not beat yourself up over it. There will always be skills to develop and areas to practice, but during the game bring your focus on your performance. Dwelling on the failure will only lead to more failure.
The same lesson applies in the professional setting. As a Human Resources Manager, I see people who are great at what they do, go into a performance tailspin because they can’t effectively manage their failures. When (not if) you fail, manage the immediate situation by focusing on a solution and communicating to those impacted. Identify what you can do to ensure your future success.
Whether in the crease, in an office or any other aspect of life, strive for excellence not perfection. You’re going to fail at times; make it the exception and not the rule. Deal with it, learn from it and move on.
Next week we’ll discuss the importance of staying in the game…
“I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot . . . and missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why . . . I succeed.”