5 Career Lessons You Can Learn from the Stanley Cup Finals

“He shoots, he scores!” These words are spoken so often in the hockey world (and hockey is basically my world) that at this point in my life I hear it in my sleep. But why not take this common phrase and apply it to your career? You shoot, you score that new position or promotion. I love to do it, and you should too.

The Pittsburgh Penguins just beat the Nashville Predators four games to two in what was quite possibly the most entertaining sports event of the year – the Stanley Cup Finals. It was so great in fact, that we can take 5 career lessons out of the two-week long marathon that was the Stanley Cup Final.

1. Teamwork makes the dream work

Trust me, I know this is one of the most cliché phrases out there. But tell me it isn’t true, and tell me you don’t love saying it while high-fiving your team. Say what you want about it, but I bet the Penguins were screaming that on the bench all season and postseason long (not really).

In all seriousness, the Penguins showed grit and heart at the time they needed it most. They were consistently rolling out four lines with confidence, and when someone was slacking everyone else pitched in to carry the team. Evgeni Malkin, one of the top players in the league, led the league in playoff points coming into the Final. In the six-game final, Malkin only tallied 4 points. The Penguins are the epidemy of teamwork because of this. One of their stars struggled, and others picked up the slack.

In the same sense, this sort of teamwork can be applied to your career as well. When working in a team, there will be times when everyone is rolling, and there will be times when some will struggle. It is important to know what you need to do in times of struggle, so that you can lead your team in whatever you are doing.

2. Success takes time

The Nashville Predators are the perfect example of how winning takes time. The franchise has been around for almost two decades and 2017 was the first time they made it past the second round of the playoffs. The Predators and their fans know that it takes a lot of patience for greatness to occur. Even though they didn’t win the cup, making it to the final was huge for the franchise.

Likewise, when first starting out, you may not reach those great successes you thought you would right away in your career. If that’s the case, you must make sure you keep working hard to achieve the goals you set when you started. You also need to make sure that you celebrate the little things. Make a hard sale? Treat yourself to a nice dinner. Complete a difficult task? Reward yourself with tickets to your favorite event.

Success takes time, and achieving your end goal may take longer than you want it to. Make sure you keep your head up and celebrate what you are doing, then that’ll make the end goal even better once you realize everything you did to get there.

3. Have a short memory

This final series was extremely entertaining because of the back-and-forth that was occurring throughout. The Penguins won the first two games, the Predators won the next two, and then the Penguins won the last two. The game 5 win was huge for the Penguins, and they exhibited a short memory that we all can learn from. In games 3 and 4 the Predators outscored the Penguins 9-2! So many times that would have crushed a team – but not the Penguins. They forgot about those games and won the next game 6-0, igniting their final run to the cup.

Failure is inevitable in any career. You’re going to try and you’ll be wrong or it won’t be enough. It is crucial that you have a short memory so that you can pick yourself back up and keep going. You must learn from your mistakes, and quickly forget that bad feeling you get when something goes wrong.

Much like the Penguins, a quick turnaround after a mistake can make a world of difference, and may even bring you closer to your goals than you expected.

4. Adversity is inevitable – you just need to handle it the right way

The Penguins went through the entire playoffs without their best defenseman Kris Letang. He is one of the most explosive players in the league and is one of the vocal leaders on the team. When he went down with an injury at the end of the season, it looked like the Penguins wouldn’t be able to make a deep playoff run. However, they dealt with the adversity as a team and it brought them closer – which allowed them to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions.

At any time in your career you can be faced with some sort of adversity. Whether something happens in your personal life or your professional life, it is important that you handle it the right way so that you don’t take any backwards steps in your career. Talk to your boss or to a loved one about it. Ask for help where you can and learn from what you are going through. Go to your team for support and find out if any of them have dealt with a similar situation. Adversity can be dealt with, you just have to make sure you’re approaching it in a way that will better yourself instead of in a way that will bring you down.

5. It’s okay to disagree with your team

Now this specific event wasn’t in the Final, but the outcome of the even definitely carried over to the final.

In the second game of the Conference Finals, Malkin and Kessel (two of the Penguins’ biggest stars) got into a shouting match with each other as they were coming off the ice. While on the bench Kessel continued to shout at Malkin, who was obviously a little angered himself. They ended up getting on the same page and connected for the only goal of the game in the next period. Whether they “officially” made up is still a mystery, but their willingness to disagree and let the other know about it ultimately helped them in the long run.

In almost every career you will be forced to work with people you don’t agree with. Now let me be clear, you shouldn’t shout at them like these two hockey players shouted at each other, but you should make your thoughts known. You don’t have to be mean about it, just let the other know your own ideas. When working in a team it is important to collaborate so that every voice is heard. Every voice is unique so everyone should get a say in the project. Whether it’s in a group setting or in a different work setting, make sure you let your voice be heard. You’ll gain the respect of those around you, and it might even inch you closer to your goals.

 

So there they are. Five things that we can take away from the amazing Stanley Cup Final. If you take these to heart, you might just be able to create a better career for yourself.