What is the sound of one puck clapping against a cool ice surface face-off frenzy of fiendish foes? For those of us in the know, we inherently hold a special place in our hearts for that unmistakeable clap! of a perfectly timed and perfectly placed puck drop. The smooth, mysterious face of that rubber disk hits the surface of the ice and something happens. That clap radiates right up into the rafters of arenas and into molecules of our very existence as hockey folk.

There’s the sound again -listen- a precision saucer pass soars through the air, and again, clap! lands perfectly on the ice inches from the tape. I’ve always been enamored by the sound of the clapping puck. Even as a youngster, I would hold a puck in each hand and clap them together. Somehow it made me happy, and still does.

There’s a strange frenetic energy in a hockey puck. It’s some unidentified flying object in a world of balls, the standard among all other sports. But our sport requires the biggest balls of them all.

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I won’t get into the back story of how I ended up in Europe in the first place; that will come at a later date. Today I won’t talk about living in a ski lodge in the middle of the Julian Alps in Western Slovenia, feeling shamed and empty, hiding from the world and afraid to fail. I won’t delve into any of that now.

I’ll start where the new version of me started.

Sometime in May in the year 2010, is where the shift happened. I know the exact location where it happened; I know exactly what I was doing. It was in a parking lot, in a park, and I was running as fast as I could. What was I running from? I felt the shift, and it was as real as any crack of lightning or plate tectonics. It was a definite and tangible shift.

I’ll get into all of that, but first you need some back story.

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How to Be Excellent

We all have good days and we all have bad days. We have days where we are firing on all cylinders, clicking, buzzing, emitting vast clouds of potent energy out into the world. We know and embrace those special days, and acknowledge when we are lucky enough to experience that. We live out that day in the Zone, and go to bed, curious(or oblivious) to what the next day will hold.

We wake, and wait, and see what comes our way.

I’m trying to break this pattern. I’m tired of being on top of the world one day, and dangling in space at the tip of some Antarctic icicle the next, jutting out into oblivion at the bottom of this spinning orb. I’m tired of inconsistency. Aren’t we supposed to be at our best every day? Is that even possible?

You can relate these thoughts to any aspect of your life, whether it’s your job or you relationship, or simply your existence. I relate the good days and bad days in terms of hockey.

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Excellence Revisited

I think I’m on to something. Has anyone else tried these magic words?

“I’m going to be excellent today.”

I’ve been saying this to myself pretty much all day, every day for the past week. I’ve come to the conclusion that they are truly magic words. I say it before bed, and right when I wake up, and on the way to the rink, and in between drills, and any time the Doubt Demon makes an appearance. That’s when I say it with the most authority. Any time the Doubt Demon breaks through that dimensional barrier and shows his fangs and claws, I now stand firm, and announce my excellence. I won’t let that wretched worm influence me anymore. I’m stronger now. My words are stronger now. My words have magic. So do yours. There is excellence brewing, and no room for negativity or second-guessing.

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