The Nashville Predators - 5 Keys to Success
The Nashville Predators are playing for the Stanley Cup in hockey, but in my mind and in this city they have already won. Regardless of whether they capture the Cup or not, they have built an organization that has transformed this community. Not only are all the games now sold-out, but for the Stanley Cup games, there are an estimated 70,000+ people outside of Bridgestone Arena watching on big screens! This is incredible. They have captured the heart of a city and the eyes of the hockey world.
But, how? Hockey in a southern state catching on like this? Football - yes, Basketball, Baseball, but Hockey? 19 years ago, when the Nashville Predators came to town, they were having to teach people the rules of the game. They were giving away tickets. Now, you can't get a ticket to a game. What's the winning formula? I believe in the Nashville Predators we see 5 keys to success that can be applied to any individual. Wherever you are in life, here are some keys from the Nashville Predators to help you succeed.
Leadership - As John Maxwell writes, "Everything rises and falls on leadership." David Poile has been the General Manager for the Predators for 18 years. This is amazing. In a culture where people change careers (not just jobs) every 4-5 years, David has stayed faithful and consistent. He had a plan, and he stuck with it. In addition, there have only been two coaches in the 19-year history. Only two! In a sports world that fires coaches early and often, the Predators have opted for stable leadership. This matters. In addition, they have had strong Captains on the ice. From Shea Webber to Mike Fisher, they have chosen captains with leadership ability. Leadership matters. Your leadership in your family and/or workplace matters. How are you leading?
Hard work - These guys work hard. This team is fun to watch. They don't stop. For 60 minutes every game, they don't take a break or let up. They give it all. There may be some other teams that have equal talent, but this team will out-work anyone. They realize that this is their moment, and they are wanting to give their best. In an age of leisure, I believe this key to success can easily get lost. With money and comfort can come ease and pleasure. There is no getting around hard work. Marriage takes work - give it your best. Parenting takes work - again, don't take a break and just let the iPad do it. Spiritual growth takes work. If you are going to reach your full potential, you have to put in the effort.
Community - You can't do it alone. The Predators realized this early on. They came in not only to play great hockey but to build a community. The Predators Foundation has invested millions of dollars back into the community. In the process, they have built a following of goodwill. People love this team whether they are winning games or not. The organization realizes that even if they win games, but no one comes then they really haven't won. Also, they realize there are a lot of things bigger than hockey. For instance, many of the players support Best Buddies (see this previous blog post) along with countless other non-profits in town. This is foundational - you were not made to do life alone. You need community. Even if you are great at business and make a lot of money, what does it really matter? What does matter are the people you impact along the way. Are you investing in others? Are you generous? Are making those around you better?
Character - This is big! Character is who you are when no one is watching. The guys on this team are legit and the organization is as well. They do it right. They care about one another and they care about the people who support them. The Captain of this team, Mike Fisher, is solid in his faith with God and a man of integrity, which I saw first hand when I had the chance to sit down with him for this interview - watch here. People respond to authenticity and character. What about you? Where are you in your relationship with God? If you don't have a center in your life, then you will always have a moving target for character. But, character comes from the Lord. He is our Rock and the reason for how we live. People can succeed in the short-term without it, but character will always come out. How many athletes, politicians, business leaders and more have lost everything because of character issues? Character is a huge key for long-term success. Just do it - but do it right.
Persistence - For 19 years the Nashville Predators have persevered. They have a "never give up" attitude. There were many times that it looked overwhelming. People did not know the game, and it was hard to just get people to show up. Then, there was a time, several years back, when a new group tried to buy the team and wanted to move them up to Canada (where people understood the game more). But, through 18 years of challenges, the Predators stayed the course. They faced each challenge head on and kept focused the goal of not only winning the Cup but building a great organization and impacting an entire city. They have done it! 19 years in, and they are playing for the Stanley Cup with an entire city behind them. For you - never give up! No matter what you are facing, through Christ know that you have a God who is with you and for you.
I love this team! I love watching how excited they are to play the game and how much they believe in one another. They have inspired us all. And, along the way, they have taught us some keys to success in life. As I am cheering for the Predators, just know I am cheering for you to reach your full potential in Christ. Implement these keys to success and know that in your life the best is yet to come!
Jeff Simmons is the Founder and Lead Pastor of Rolling Hills Community Church in Franklin, TN. He also serves as the President of Justice & Mercy International, a nonprofit that exists to make justice personal for the poor, the orphaned and the forgotten of the world. His faith in God and role as husband and father motivates him to be the leader he is and to do the work he has been called to.
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