Many of you who follow my blog know quite a bit about me. I have been pretty open about not only my endeavors in hockey, but also in life. A few weeks ago I made the decision to join the Outliers Hockey Academy. The organization made it official this past weekend. Last week, I made the journey from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Salt Lake City, Utah. I was not alone, I had a ten foot U-Haul truck towing my car, but more importantly my girlfriend and I got to spend some much needed quality time together.
Luckily for me the options I had available to me when I made the decision to join the Outliers were both passions of mine. The two main options were to continue on the firefighting path or change careers and focus solely on hockey and earning an income from coaching, instructing, etc. As far as the hockey options were concerned, I really didn’t know what to expect. I always thought you had to play at a high level to be taken seriously as a coach. I was afraid of being told ‘sorry’ and ‘no’. In all honesty, this blog helped me get through some of those fears.
From the firefighting standpoint; I had scored high on the New Orleans Fire Department written test, I could have moved back to Texas and rejoined the Baytown Fire Department, and there were several suburban Milwaukee Fire Departments that were testing. None of those were guaranteed at the time I made the decision to join the Outliers, however, they all provided me some essential benefits that I would have to provide on my own as a hockey coach. Again, fear set in.
Not only does my girlfriend live in Milwaukee, but currently my son also resides there. The questions of long distance relationships with two of the more important people in my life started to make the decision more difficult. Could a relatively new relationship with my girlfriend survive the distance of half a country? Will the relationship that I had built with my son for the last six months (the 15 months prior to that I was in Texas and he was in Wisconsin) crumble? Will he resent me for making this decision? Can I continue to provide the needs he requires from his father? Will there be consequences of essentially not being in the same physical location as him? The fear is really embedded at this point.
For once in my life, I took the reins and faced my fears. I felt like I needed to do this. People will question me and say I made the wrong decision. That the relationship will not last with my girlfriend or that I am a bad father for leaving my son. Believe me, I have ran through every possible scenario in my head and completely understand the fear others have about my situation. At the end of the day though, it all comes down to me.
It is my responsibility to help grow this organization. I chose to come here not only because I could coach and mentor hockey players, but because I have an entrepreneurial mindset and surrounded myself with like-minded individuals who share the same passion. That is an opportunity most people never encounter in their lives. Most of the time these opportunities require great risk without knowing the potential return. This is the fear.
It is my responsibility to support, love and care for my son as much as possible. It is my responsibility to maintain a strong relationship with him. It is my responsibility to fulfill my role as a father, regardless of distance. The same can be said about the relationship with my girlfriend. I need to support, love and care for her from a distance. None of this will be easy, but I will fight for the ones I love.
Hindsight is always 20/20. Fear will always be present, but only you can control your destiny. Whether that destiny is being happy in life, becoming wealthy, or whatever your heart desires, it is completely and solely up to you. I encourage you to face your fears.