Texas Stars 2012 – Pre-Season: Two Curses Broken!

In 2009, it was a 2-1 victory over San Antonio (in their house) and the Stars went on to win the Calder Cup. The very first Texas Stars game in Cedar Park saw the Rampage return revenge with a 4-3 win (did I mention that Calder Cup win yet?).

2010 had the Stars victorious against the Oklahoma City Barons 2-1 in the OK state, but meanwhile, back in Cedar Park, the OKC Barons win 4-2 under our roof.

2011 was shaping up to be more of the same, the first pre-season game back in Cedar Park saw the Houston Aeros slip by with a 3-2 shootout win.

Well now the Aeros better hope a whupped behind is covered under Obamacare because the Stars BROKE the pre-season opener curse with a 7-2 win! For those keeping score at home, this is the Texas Stars very first pre-season win in Cedar Park!

Now, let’s look at the numbers against Houston over the years when it comes to ahem, breaking the ice with these inaugural match ups (these are all pre-season): 2009 – Houston wins (3-2), 2010 – Houston wins (4-2), 2011 – Houston wins (again!), 5-2. 2012 – TEXAS WINS (7-2)!

So there you have it, 2 curses broken with the win over Houston this year! First win with the first game in our house and first career win over first game against Houston!

I know pre-season doesn’t mean much, but I thought it was worth sharing. More attention will be paid to the first regular season game against Houston on 10/20/12 (I’ll run those numbers later).

I will be watching very close to Friday, October 5th’s game against San Antonio in Cedar Park where our matchup numbers don’t look so hot over the years so stay tuned for that update!

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Photo Credit: Texas Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Much thanks to the following websites for helping me compile the aforementioned stat.s: HundredDegreeHockey and Texas Stars

Validation for my own beliefs (in leadership)…nail on the head, good read!

LeadToday

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Let’s get this out of the way right up front: There is no such thing as “leadership secrets.” Leadership, real leadership anyway, has no secrets left. Virtually everything there is to say and know about leadership has been said or taught.

There are lots of “leadership fads” but they tend to come and go. I receive offers in my email everyday day for a free webinar or seminar to learn the newest “leadership tricks” and methods.

It’s all garbage!

Leadership is about people, not things. You can manage your cash flow, you can manage your inventory and you can manage your systems and process. But you cannot manage people. People don’t need a manager, they need a leader.

Some people in leadership positions resist this concept and attempt to manage their people. In these situations both the “leader” and follower become frustrated and that frustration manifests itself with underperformance. From…

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Hockey Countdown (AHL edition) – 28 Days!

Not interested at all in hockey? Then you may like the news that (for the second time in the last 6 years) there may not be a hockey “season”. The AHL season of course should be just fine (fingers crossed) but for the un-initiated, the players and NHL organization can not come to agreement about salary, etc. and if they don’t get it together soon, an upcoming post may read “28 Days Later”. But, like I said, the AHL season is still on track as far as I know so I will continue the countdown to the first time the puck will drop at the Cedar Park Center (yeah, it’s a pre-season game, but hockey is hockey)!

28 days, less than a month, get ready!

CBA Outrage

CBA 4 Dummies

Axioms I LEAD By

Whether you realize it or not, you influence. You are a leader to someone, even if you don’t have people that report to you, people look up to you or use you as a litmus to gauge themselves off of, whether you realize it or not. I’ve been thinking about this lately, as a “manager”, as a husband, a father and most importantly, as a Christian. What exactly are my values? Could I cite them or write them down? Well, I’ve been up for a few hours icing an injured shoulder so I thought I’d give it a try and document my beliefs, values and systems I not only believe in, but use on a daily, decision-making basis. Most of these are not original, I doubt you’ll find anything uniquely profound by my axioms but I found it to be very gratifying to put these on paper and read over and remind myself of my “makeup” as a leader and influencer both in and out of the office, let me know what you think of them. 

Invest in Time and Development
Take the time to listen (without distraction) to your team members. Make the conversation your top priority, log any action items, needs or questions you’re unable to answer and close this out as soon as you can. Focus on developing your team members. Make career development AND self-development a frequent conversation and you will have employees who are more satisfied and will be willing to work harder and follow you through the fire.People are human
Very obvious but easy to forget as the pressures of goals, initiatives and deadlines put pressure on our lives. Give people time, give them your ear but most importantly, give them grace and remember that we all fall short of the glory of God.

Work done well is more than a reflection of your character
“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance.  It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (Col. 3:23-24).  My desire to glorify God and to inspire others to desire to know Him by representing and glorifying Him through my daily work. If my work and the work that I inspire others to achieve is done well, it will be noticed by our colleagues, customers and spread throughout the organization. God is honored when the products we create and the services we provide are excellent, based on the simple values of care, competence, and consistency.  We are to care about the welfare of our colleagues and customers.  We are to pursue a high level of competency to enable us to deliver high quality products and services and we should be consistent in our pursuit of excellence.

Work is a blessing with multiple rewards
God’s purpose for our work goes so far beyond meeting our financial needs. There is a parable in Matthew 20:2-5 that tells the story of 3 workers, each given the same responsibilities but each starting at different times of the day (e.g., 8am, 11am and 2pm). It reads, “He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, “You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.” In this story, each worker was paid the same even though some did more work than others. Was the purpose of the job to do the same amount of work? No, but everyone got paid the same. This is a familiar setting in any corporate environment and when you have your heart set on the quality of your work and the opportunity to serve, then you know you are aligned.

Iron sharpens iron
Proverbs 27:17 explains to us that, “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another”. This verse reminds us that we will benefit when we fellowship and disciple with one another. This is easy to practice in the workplace as we are constantly learning and constantly reshaping our goals, targets, etc. Sharing our struggles and best practices with one another, despite our tenure, will help identify strengths, opportunities and outline a roadmap to success that we might not have discovered on our own.

Effective leaders are willing to pay
Without going into detail about Jesus’s crucifixion by man, we can at least know that He knew what was going to happen and He still carried out for the sake of something greater. While this is an extreme overshadowing of what a leader can do in the workplace, it is still worth remembering to evaluate your staff, are they informed? Do they know the goal and agenda of your dept.? Are they comfortable and willing to carry out the goal even though it means things will get uncomfortable?
As a leader, I ask myself if I’m willing to stand up when one of my team members falls down? In order to do this, I have to take responsibility on the education, preparation and execution of my team and their work. If I can stand behind any of those things, then I know I am ready to answer for them when the time comes.

Let Your People Go 
When you find great talent, do what you need to in order to encourage and support them. Treat them justly and do what’s right for them and the organization over what’s right for you personally. Give them opportunities to excel and succeed and air cover if they fail. Be willing to take “personal” risks for the right employee. In the truly great companies,promoting employees is a sign of a successful manager over moving employees out of the company.Cultivate Humility
Willing to be the last and the least (this is something Christ has emphasized over and over again. Yet, most people have a tough time with this). Ego often gets in the way of a servant leadership mindset. When we realize that it’s not about me, our position or power but about the people we serve, we will be able to lead (and more importantly, model leadership) in an effective, lasting manner.

Be vulnerable
A good leader is one who is willing to be vulnerable. I trust my team, therefore I am transparent with my needs, fears, feelings, and professional growth in such a way that it edifies them and helps them grow in character and confidence. Through this transparency, I gain and keep respect from my team by being appropriately accountable about (and because of) my vulnerability. The additional benefit of this is that my team trusts and models this behavior with me and we have a deeper, trusting work relationship where we know how to hold each other accountable so that we can succeed.

Maintain Integrity, Authenticity and Accountability
Walk the talk, stand up for your beliefs and values and have the courage to face the realities that come with this mindset. This, in addition to surrounding yourself with honest and critical individuals who will lovingly correct your course when necessary, will set you up for success as well as modeling the behavior for others to follow. In the end, you will have a team challenged to strive for excellence, a life-long learner and an eager student with the need for constant self-development.Serve the servant
Do you hold a title or are you a leader? I have to remind myself of this from time to time but the most memorable time was when I first became a team manager for Tier 2. It was a busy day, we were getting hammered in our service levels and I was taking phone calls and helping others at their desk with some of their longer phone calls. At one point, I took over a phone call for the T2 Advisor and another manager came by and was giving orders to his team, cutting lunches and telling them to hurry and end the call so we could take the next one. When he told me to give the customer a case number and end the call, I did so but asked why wasn’t he helping to take calls or at least jack in like I was and give helpful advice on controlling and ending the call? He explained that he was a manager! I apologized and went back to helping my team take calls and offered more help to the manager if he needed it.
We are not simply put into our position as a manager to give orders, yes, that is part of the job, but that’s not what is going to drive the results that keeps us successful. We are to serve our teams by assessing their needs, doing what is best for the company to help us succeed and let our employees know that we are here for them, to help them succeed. When your employees understand this and they know that you are in their corner, serving them, helping them succeed, they will work harder and with more respect than you will ever know.

Understand the source of your strength
Just like a car needs gas to run, you have to know what “fills your tank” and remember to fill it from time to time so that you work hard and finish strong. As a Christian, it is important for me to connect with God continuously and it’s just as important to understand what fuels your team, what makes them run so that you have a strong team. It’s likely going to be different for everyone in your team, but a great exercise is to ask them! Ask them what excites them about coming to work? Ask them what motivates you to want to work and do the best that you can? You may not be able to cater to 100% of their desires, but when they know that their leader cares for and is aware of their motivation, it will be the beginning of a fruitful relationship with your team that ends in respect, hard work and accountability.
Exercise initiative
There are many great leaders outlined in the Bible to learn from, many who took extreme risks to speak up or stand out. All of these leaders were willing to let their actions draw others but they also felt fearful (of failing or persecution) just like we would as leaders when we have an idea or goal to pursue. While an effective leader will practice listening, collaboration and delegation, you will more importantly be expressing initiative through your actions. Use this as a reminder to not be afraid to make a decision or move forward on an action as long as all of your other pieces are available.
I would like to thank all of the bosses I’ve ever had as I have learned something from them all (either to not be like them or do the things that they do and try to improve upon these traits). I would also like to thank my parents, my wife, my pastor, the people that have worked for me and last but not least, my kids for teaching me the things I know today and the lessons learned from all of the experiences.

Sharpening my SWORD

My pastor, Peter Horn, introduced us to a new Bible study method called SWORD. It’s not the first time I’ve tried it out with my daily reading but it was a great reminder to try a few different methods as part of my daily Bible reading to get the most out of the Bible and to continually keep things “fresh”.

I wanted to give it a try with my daily Bible reading of which I’m currently following the “Essential Jesus” reading plan through YouVersion. This is a great, 100 day plan that studies passages about Jesus.

So here’s the outline and answers that I got out today’s reading. I encourage you to watch or listen the video/podcast here as it does a great job of explaining what this is all about. I plan to incorporate this method, along with SOAP that my pastor taught me (thank you!), and study the Bible a variety of ways, whichever direction God is leading me!

Scripture reading of the day: Luke 2:41-52

o What do we learn about God? That God is in control, we are safe in His house.

o What do we learn about people? People are the reason we are too quick to assume the worst and not immediately trust that God is taking care of His people.

o Is there a command to obey? Trust God.

o Is there an example to follow? Spend time in God’s house and you will be safe. God is the great provider and will give all that we need.

Hockey Countdown – 36 Days!

Wow, time is moving fast! Only 36 days until we can watch some hockey at the CPC (even if they are pre-season games)! The first game of the official season is Oct. 14th but these pre-season games are a great way to meet the team (and newer players), get a feel for some of the lines and just get back in the spirit that is Texas hockey!

To commemorate the countdown, let’s take a look at some of the Texas Stars we might see this year: #40 Mathieu “What Would Tousi Say?” Tousignant, #38 Francis Wathier (Team Captain, right?), #37 Brad Lukowich and #36 Philip Larsen! Speaking of frequent Dallas call-up Larsen…he gives me hope that you don’t have to be 6’6″ 220 lbs to be a presence on the ice! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNkyBuXRUQM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Images courtesy of: http://hundreddegreehockey.blogspot.com and http://txstarsgirl.wordpress.com/tag/mathieu-tousignant/

Get in the moment!

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First day back at work from a 2 week vacation (praise God)! Just a disclaimer before i saying what I have to say, there’s nothing wrong with taking pictures and/or shooting videos of your family, especially on vacation. Over the past few years, I myself became a bit…excessive with trying to create the perfect moment or capture the perfect shot to the point to where it didn’t feel like I was there with my family.

I chose not to view my vacation looking through a 3.5 inch screen this year and I’m actually glad I took fewer pictures than ever. I made an intentional effort to keep my phone in my pocket and experience the time with my family. Sure, I did my share of posting pictures on Facebook and Instagram, but I didn’t let it dictate what we were doing or how we were doing it, I just had fun with my family.

Again, not knocking you if you took a thousand pictures on your weekend getaway, just sharing a decision I made that brought me great joy as I sit back and reflect on the valuable time with my family this summer.

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A Christian response

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In light of the shooting tragedy at the Family Research Center, Jim Daly from Focus On the Family had what I viewed as a very Christian response (read full quote here):

“Early indications are that FRC may have been targeted for its biblical views on social-policy issues. That is a chilling thought. No person or group of any ideological stripe – left, right or center — should have to fear physical violence for passionately articulating and acting on their deeply help convictions in the realm of public policy. That is the very definition of terrorism.”

Consider also this 1996 quote penned in his Center for Christ and Culture website:

“If we recognize the spiritual reality in which we all live, then we understand homosexuality as merely one more “pretension that has set itself up against the knowledge of God” in other words it is one of those deceptions constructed by Satan to keep people from a knowledge of the truth. The victims are not our enemy – Satan is our enemy. It is he whom we fight and the weapon he cannot overcome is the love of Jesus Christ. It is with the overwhelming force of Christ’s love that we must confront the homosexual man or woman. Where do we get this idea that the first thing that we need to do is tell them the rules and then go on to immediately inform them that they are breaking them?

This is not how we speak or act before a pagan world. Consider 1 Peter 2:12 – “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”

Full story

I sincerely hope this is not a sign of things to come but given the nature of man I wouldn’t be surprised. Regardless, I have no fear of the future as my faith and hope rests in Christ alone. The point I want to make is, in the world that we live in, our response will not only define us but also pave the ways for others to follow.

Root Down!

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And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6, 7 NLT)

I’ve felt this way before, this “now what?” feeling. A few days after giving my life to Christ, I knew there wouldn’t be a transformation immediately, but I was also at a loss on how to “root down” and develop a strength/conditioning program for lasting measure. Persistent prayer (talk to God often), praise (give thanks to God in everything) and dedicate time to study His word (this has to be the easiest part).

This has been my plan since receiving Christ as my savior and giving my life to Him. Just like any human with a “plan”, I’m boy always perfect at it. But that’s what separates religion from relationship. Think about your own relationships, don’t they seem to go better when you take the focus off of you and give your time, attention and affection to the other person? What if you were “religious” with that relationship and told the person you loved them everyday at 9 AM and only gave them about 2 hours of your time a week (but no more)? It probably would feel forced and not last very long, right? That is the difference between religiosity and being in a relationship.

I hope my own experiences help you in some way, stay rooted!