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The Hockey Legends

“You see things and you say ‘Why?’.

But I dream things that never were and I say ‘Why not?’ 

– George Bernard Shaw

I’ve never been a fan of hockey – not that I don’t admire the sport but only because it never really entered my orbit.

But it’s was hard not to tune into the incredible progress of the Irish Women’s Hockey team over the past 10 days as they competed in the World Cup.

If you’re Irish, you already know that they achieved something no other Irish male or female team has ever achieved at the top level of sport – get to a World Cup Final.

I was sitting watching the semi-final (something I thought I would never do…) with my daughter Jane and her friend Leah over the weekend. (Both 11 years old)

Ireland defeated the highly ranked Spanish side, booking their place in the final against The Netherlands. What was amazing was the girls were witnessing an incredible achievement in Irish sport – something that had never been achieved before, yet to them this was the ‘new normal’.

Why couldn’t you get to a World Cup final?

Why couldn’t you be on the team? 

Indeed Leah turned to Jane at the end of the game and said ‘That’s going to be me in the future. I’m going to play for Ireland just like them.’ 

It reminded me of limitations that come in as we go on in life and in business and how careful we have to be to not believe them. Indeed to challenge our self-imposed limitations regularly.

You may believe you can’t get past a certain level or can only go so far in the areas that matter most to you – professional or personal. But what if instead of focusing on the end result, you just focused on the process of improving? Relentlessly.

  • Your health.
  • Your relationships.
  • Your sales.
  • Your sport.
  • Your belief and self-worth.
  • Your leadership.
  • Your focus.
  • Your clarity.

When you do, often circumstances will, at some point, present an opportunity to capitalise on. But not if you haven’t prepared for it.

This Irish team, under their very capable manager, deserve all of the credit they will now receive – and hopefully increased funding, as the Irish players were the only ones who had to pay a supplement to be able to attend and compete at the World Cup Finals.

In the end, the incredible Netherlands team defeated the Irish in the final but they are still winners – picking up a silver medal and the admiration of a nation and the global sporting community.

And perhaps most of all inspiring the minds of adults and children everywhere to ask ‘Why not?’.

Perhaps something we can take into our lives and organisations this week…

Shane

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