While working as a General Manager in a fitness gym over this past year, I was able to meet a lot of people. One individual who I met explained to me one day that, if I wanted to get out of this area to coach ice hockey, I would need to use my contacts and network.
I’ve never been the type to go over and “sell” myself to people. I thought that with my hard work people would notice and I would eventually get to where I wanted to be. Well, that worked for only so long. This is when I took his advice and started talking with people. Next thing I know I’m talking with coaches and schools trying to get my foot in the door.
With the renewed enthusiasm I logged back onto LinkedIn and started making more connections. Joined more Facebook groups that is dedicated to hockey coaches and helping parents understand the game. Shot some emails out and started the networking and reestablishing connects. While it might seem like a simple task, it was/is quite hard. Some contacts are dead contacts, some don’t work out, some don’t work. Yet, utilizing social media and web based platforms and picking up the phone have helped tremendously. Some of the networks besides the ones I listed above have been: SnapChat (even though I am not a fan of it), twitter, Instagram, Indeed, American Hockey Coaches Association and just flat out emails to people, and of course meeting people face to face.
Networking takes you places that you might not think you need to go or are afraid to. Honestly I would say I was afraid. I was afraid of rejection or someone saying, “You’re from Texas. You don’t know anything about hockey.” Which has happened before and it’s truly hurtful since I have spent a majority of my life dedicated to learning and perfecting the practice of a sport that is for everyone. Needless to say, I’m not that way anymore. Rejection is part of advancing in a career. It sounds like an oxymoron, but it is the truth. The more that I get rejected, the more I am determined to get to my final goal. I’ll learn new skills and meet new people. Rejection is a struggle at times mentally but it’ll just make me that much more stronger when I get to the end. Hopefully one day I can turn around and help the next coach or player from Texas, Florida, Alabama or where ever hockey isn’t supposed to be, make it to their goal.