Power of Courage

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”, one of Wayne Gretzky’s most famous quotes, encapsulates a universal truth that applies not only to hockey but to life itself.  Wayne Gretzky, often referred to as “The Great One,” is widely regarded as one of the greatest hockey players in the history of the sport. Beyond his incredible on-ice achievements, Gretzky’s wisdom extends far beyond the rink. 

This simple statement resonates with so many people because it speaks to the essence of opportunity, risk-taking, and regret. Let’s break down the wisdom behind this quote:

  1. Regret and Inaction: Perhaps the most important aspect of this quote is its warning about regret. Regret often stems from missed opportunities and unfulfilled potential. When we look back on our lives, we’re more likely to regret the chances we didn’t take than the ones we did.
  2. Embracing Opportunity: In sports, as in life, success often hinges on being aware and seizing opportunities as they arise. Gretzky’s statement emphasizes the importance of taking chances. It encourages us to step out of our comfort zones, challenge ourselves, and be open to new experiences. Opportunities seldom come with guarantees, and sometimes we must act boldly to achieve our goals.
  3. Overcoming Fear: Fear of failure is a powerful deterrent for many people. They hesitate to pursue their dreams or take that crucial step because they worry about making mistakes. Gretzky’s quote reminds us that failure is an inevitable part of any endeavor, but it’s also a steppingstone to success. Without taking shots, we’ll never learn, grow, or achieve greatness.
  4. Resilience and Perseverance: Taking shots and occasionally missing is a fundamental aspect of both sports and life. Gretzky’s quote encourages resilience and perseverance. Even if you miss a shot, you have a chance to rebound, learn from your mistakes, and improve. It’s a call to keep pushing forward, even in the face of setbacks.

My Practice of Courage

Growing up I was actually not confident and was afraid to do basic things let alone try new things.  My experience on the rowing team in college changed that.  I discovered I was way more capable than I thought. I now have a compass I have established for how I want to live my life (Check out the Living by Your Compass Journey).  One of my compass points is “learn” and another is “live”.  I love trying new things even if it means I am scared, I always want to learn and expand my understanding.  I also do not want to let life pass me by and regret the opportunities I did not take to be courageous, try new things and get out of my comfort zone.  This keeps me on my toes and always challenges the “status quo”.

Trying new things always pushes me to understand I am capable of so much more that I originally thought.   As a result, on a personal level, I have climbed mountains, competed in marathons, done 2 Tough Mudders, completed a full Ironman, jumped out of an airplane, coached soccer without even knowing how to play (but was willing to learn), did 360 days of French lessons, traveled the world and so much more!  On the work level, I have pushed the boundaries by not doing things the way they have always been done, I have taken risks, and proposed new ways of doing things.  This has resulted in the creation of multiple new roles that didn’t exist until I invented them and won awards as a result.

What do you do to challenge the status quo and get out of your comfort zone?

Embrace the Power Of Courage Within You

So, how can you apply Wayne Gretzky’s wisdom to your own life?

    1. Self-awareness: Start by understanding instances in your life where you held back or didn’t take a shot at something? Are you prone to being hesitant or uncertain?  Do you often doubt your abilities (consciously or subconsciously)?  Identifying these opportunities is the first step to achieving them.
    2. Explore potential outcomes: Imagine the possibilities and potential outcomes if you knew you would succeed.  What is the impact it would have on your life?  Are they related to personal growth, career, relationships, or any other aspect of your life?
    3. Overcome fear and doubt: Acknowledge any fears or doubts or laziness (fear of work) that may be holding you back from achieving those outcomes.  Challenge those limiting beliefs by writing down counterarguments or positive affirmations.
    4. Develop an action plan: What you can’t measure you can’t achieve. Take an outcome you want to acheive, set a date you would like to achieve it by and identify the steps you need to take to get there.
    5. Reflect on Progress:  Revist your action plan on a regular basis. Celebrate the shots you have taken and the growth you have experienced.  Acknowledge any challenges or setbacks and use them as learning opportunities.  Adjust your action plan as needed and continue to embrace new opportunities.

Wayne Gretzky’s quote serves as a motivational mantra for anyone looking to achieve their goals, whether in sports, business, or personal pursuits. It reminds us that the path to success is paved with risks and failures but also with invaluable lessons and, ultimately, triumphs. To truly succeed, you must be willing to take your shot, regardless of the outcome, because, as Gretzky eloquently puts it, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

5-Minute Cup Filler Exercise

Here is a 5-minute daily exercise to develop your skills around harnessing your energy to improve your daily outcomes.

Choose to be a better version of yourself every day.

Think back over the last 24 hours.

BECOME AWARE:  Name one thing that is taking away your energy and why.

BE GRATEFUL: Rephrase this occurrence into a choice you can be grateful for.
I am grateful for __(insert negative energy)___ because it gives me a chance to __(identify the position change you can make)___ .

TAKE ACTION: What is one action you can take to change your energy to something positive?   Name an additional action you choose to take throughout the day to reinforce.

Choose to commit to repeat daily until you build your energy muscle, and it becomes natural!

Jen Weis

The publisher of Morning Cup.