“I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been.”
Wayne Gretzky is one of the most highly decorated professional hockey players of all time, holding several NHL records that many feel are unbreakable. Naturally, he knows a thing or two about what it takes to be a winner.
In the above quote, Gretzky teaches us a very important lesson. When you are expecting a pass from a teammate, it makes sense for you to anticipate where the puck will be rather than where it was. By going to where the puck has been, you can only hope to be (at least) one step behind. For this reason, you must look ahead in the play. This doesn’t apply only to hockey. The key to success in the world of work is to look ahead and anticipate what the future will bring.
Yes, it is absolutely invaluable to learn from those who preceded you. Mentors can offer a great wealth of knowledge and you can learn from the mistakes that they made while on their own journeys. However, this strategy will only get you so far. At some point, you have to offer something new to the world. Stop being satisfied with mediocrity. Stop playing to last and start playing to win. As Wayne said, “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”
The first step to fully realizing your potential is to discard the old paradigms and to carve out your own path in life. Take a chance, stroll down the road less traveled by, and you just may be able to discover something extraordinary. You can be great too.