Recently I had the pleasure of meeting the Los Angeles King’s President of Business Operations, Luc Robitaille.
Now, if you happen to be a hockey fan, you know that Luc is also a former player. And not just any former player…he is an NHL Hall of Famer. He played for the Kings, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the New York Rangers and the Detroit Red Wings over his 19 year career, 14 of those seasons in Los Angeles with the Kings. By the time he retired he had scored more goals than any other left winger in the history of the league (668), been selected as an all star eight times, played for the Stanley Cup twice, winning it with Detroit in 2001-02, and had become the all-time career leader in goals for the Kings, lighting the lamp 577 times. Truly, one of the greats.
He also happens to be a really cool guy!
I was lucky enough to get a tour of the King’s practice facility in El Segundo, California, and then sit down and have some lunch with Mr. Robitaille.
He has been the President of Business Operations since May of 2007, and if you’ve been paying attention, you’ve seen that the Kings have made significant and steady improvement over the past three season. Luc Robitaille has been a huge part of that.
There is a giant bottle of champagne in the facility that is housed in a glass case. That bottle can only be opened when the Kings win the Stanley Cup. I could tell from talking to Luc that he really, really wants to break that glass and celebrate a championship in Los Angeles. he is driven and committed to making that a reality.
One of the things that he talked about with me was how important it is for the team to adapt the mindset that they can win the Cup.
I asked him for his own ideas on how to go about changing the culture and the mindset of a team into one that believes it can go all the way and win a championship. He answered by telling a story, and I thought it was fantastic, so I wanted to share it with you.
He said the first step is to start talking about it. Talk the talk.
He told a story of when he played for the Detroit Red Wings. To set the table, Detroit is an organization that has been incredibly successful over the past 17 years. They have played for the Stanley Cup 6 times, and have won it 4 times in that span. They’ve been a playoff team in each of those 17 seasons, and are adding to their NHL record of tallying 100 points or more for eleven straight seasons, including the most recent campaign.
Luc said that when he played in Detroit, the players expected to win, and they expected to be playing for a championship every year. It was a mindset. And it was established by everyone talking about it as if it was absolute reality.
What impressed him then, and to this day, is that when he first joined the Red Wings he was asked by a trainer what type of vitamins and supplements he wanted to use. He remembers sort of shrugging it off, and saying something like “whatever you think is best”. And then he told me that the trainer said, “No, I want you to tell me exactly what you need. We want you to be as healthy as you can be so you can help us win the Stanley Cup”. Even the trainers were talking titles.
That’s the kind of attitude and energy that Luc has now brought to the Kings.
Talking the talk is such an important part of success. I believe that before you actually walk the walk and end up being successful, you have to believe that success is inevitable and let that faith drive you toward being your best. It’s the same in your personal life as it is for a hockey team on the ice.
Start telling yourself that you are an achiever. Tell yourself that you are already successful. Hear yourself talking as if failure were not possible and start accomplishing all that you want to in this life. If you start talking big, then you will start thinking big. And if you start thinking big, you will start doing big things. At that point, big time achievement is the only possible result.
And it all starts with a little conversation that you can have with yourself right now, today, right where you are.
I have to say, after meeting Luc, I am now absolutely rooting for the L.A. Kings, even though I have been a fan since I was a kid, it seems to have more meaning now. And I can’t wait to see them win a championship one day, and know that the big bottle of champagne is being passed around in that locker room to celebrate the occasion.
Talk about awesome…