“Does Success come in CANS?”

I believe the most difficult championship to win in professional sport is the first one, because even professional players must first believe that they CAN achieve the championship, before they CAN actually accomplish this success. And this principle, in fact, applies to most of life.

It has been said that life is the opposite of school, because most of the time life gives you the test first and the lesson later. I am a good example of this… I was an NHL Captain at 22 years old and earned my Masters Degree in Leadership/Business at the age of 45.

I have recently been focusing on the power of language and the influence that words have on changing the direction of team culture. As leaders listen in to the language of their culture, not only can they better identify the culture’s current state (mindset), but with this awareness, leaders have a better opportunity to adjust or shift the direction and energy of their teams. The language of CANS and CAN’TS reveal and initiate very different directional mindsets with correspondingly opposite energies.

Think about the negativity of the CAN’T statements we may encounter:

  • “That CAN’T work.”

  • “I CAN’T do it.”

  • “You CAN’T play pro hockey.”

  • “That CAN’T be possible.”

  • “You CAN’T ever be a leader.”

Experts have found that by the time the average teenager has reached his or her 18th birthday, he or she has heard “no” or “YOU CAN’T” approximately 148,000 times. The irony of course is that we parents then ask these same teens to take initiative, be confident and believe in themselves, and then we are surprised at their hesitation, inaction, and self-doubt.