Brick by Brick

Make a big impact each day!

Hi Goalies. I wanted to share a quick little blog post I wrote that I recently shared via my Coach Valley blog. It’s a mindset hack that I’ve learned over time that has helped me. My hope is it will do the same for you. Enjoy!


My hockey journey as a player wasn’t easy. I scratched and clawed my way to that NHL contract. I was relentless in my training and spent every waking hour trying to become a better player.

At the end of the day, I made it far - but not far enough!

I often wish I could do it all over again, but this time, armed with the knowledge that I have today.

  • Knowledge that I’ve earned.

  • Knowledge that I’ve gained by sitting in endless NHL meetings and learning from those I looked up to.

  • Knowledge that I’ve absorbed by watching what’s worked for the best of the best.

I'm writing this first email, sharing some hard earned lessons, and hoping that maybe something I say will help you get just a little bit better. The reality is we can all get better, we can all learn from each-other and we are all still hunting down our goals and dreams.

So what knowledge would I share with the younger version of myself? Well, here’s your chance to see me mentor him.


Dear Mike,

Today is week 1 of me helping you reach your dreams. I need to help you build a strong foundation, because without it everything else will eventually crumble.

I know you want to move fast, but realize that this is a marathon - not a sprint! “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.”

A strong foundation will not only help you become a better player, it will help you with any other challenge you decide to tackle in life.

Part of building a strong foundation is to start your day the right way.

This lesson is one that keeps coming up. Every successful person I’ve met (Entrepreneurs, Athletes, Navy SEALS) all seem to have their own version of a morning routine.

In his best-selling book “Change Your Habits, Change Your Life,” Corley explains how this routine “gives you a sense of confidence that you, indeed, direct your life. It gives you a feeling of power over your life.”

The routine I prefer is one that my business mentor Shaan Puri shared with me. Shaan is a fantastic teacher that has taught my many lessons, so I’ll refer to him more than once as we go.

My morning routine looks like this:

  • 4 min of Box breathing or any form of meditation (wake up my body)

  • 3 minutes of gratitude (wake up my heart)

  • 3 minutes of focus - what I want to accomplish to win the day (wake up my mind)

Tony Robbins has his own spin of this 10 minute morning routine.

A great saying from Tony Robbins is: "If you don't have 10 minutes, you don't have a life.”

If we structure our days right then we can all find those 10 minutes. So make it a habit - it will pay off in many ways.

The purpose of this routine is simple:

  • What you put into your mind determines your thoughts.

  • Your thoughts determine your actions.

  • Your actions determine your results.

So let's get to today's focus. It’s called Brick By brick

“I learned that you don’t set out to build a wall. You don’t start by saying ‘I’m going to build the biggest, baddest wall that’s ever been built.’ You don’t start there. You say, ‘I’m going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid.’ If you do that every single day, soon you will have a wall.” – Will Smith

Don’t set out saying, “I’m going to become the greatest version of myself ever.”

You don’t start there, that’s too intimidating.

Yes, I want you to have massive dreams and have the end goal in mind, but start by saying, “Today, I’m going to lay my brick as perfectly as I can lay it.

Remember that Rome wasn’t built in one day. This journey is going to take time and you need to be as efficient and as focused as possible.

I should also mention that there are no secrets or shortcuts to success. There are only systems - and systems produce results. And results is what we’re after!

Each day think about the One Big Thing (OBT) that you want to accomplish. This is another lesson from Shaan Puri. He says “Big is not about how long it takes. It's big impact.” Be smart enough to recognize the difference.

We should really only have One Big Thing that we prioritize each day. It allows us to channel our time, energy and effort into making the highest possible impact.

A great example of this was when I was coaching with Glen Gulutzan in Dallas. Each morning in an NHL coaches room, the staff is busy watching video and talking about the endless things that the team needs to work on. Honestly, there never seems to be enough time in the day for all the things you want to work on.

But Gully was a master of the One Big Thing. When he stood in front of the team in the video room, he would clearly identify that one thing that the team needed to focus on that day.

It wasn’t about the dozens of things that circulated the coaching room - it was the one thing that the Dallas Stars could focus on that particular day, that would deliver a big impact. It was simple and it was brilliant!

So, figure out that One Big Thing for the day. It will becomes that perfectly laid brick that makes you 1% better.

Breakthrough moments are often the result of many previous actions, which build up the potential required to unleash major change.

So start with that Mike. It will make a bigger impact than you can imagine.


PS: If you enjoy the newsletter, feel free to share it with the goalie union.

Feel free to follow me on twitter @coachvalley

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