Today is the birthday of former Canadian hockey star Wayne Gretzky, nicknamed “The Great One.” After 20 seasons in the National Hockey League, Gretzky became regarded as the greatest hockey player of all time.
I’ll be honest, I know very little about hockey. But I’ve always been impressed by a brilliant key Gretzky used to become so successful.
“I go to where the puck is going, not to where it’s been,” Gretzky explained.
That sounds obvious, I suppose. But during my 40+ years serving in various leadership roles in businesses and churches, I’ve been astounded at how seldom the Gretzky Principle is implemented.
– Too often, new businesses just try to imitate the success of Amazon, Google, Apple, or some other notable company. That seldom works! A better approach would be to anticipate “where the puck is going” and come up with a whole new paradigm and business model.
– Too often, new churches mimic some other church that has been successful—but seldom with the same results. Why do so few churches break new ground with a unique, cutting-edge vision from God?
My concern is that many leaders are simply going where the “puck” has already been. And, sadly, many of my fellow Christians are especially guilty of this. We claim a desire to be culturally relevant, but our understanding of the culture is typically 5, 10, or 15 years behind the times. By the time we get around to implementing our new initiatives, the “puck” has long since moved on.
So what about you? Are you continually frustrated because you’re always a few steps too late in chasing the puck?
The reality is this: Very few people are gifted to be visionary leaders, able to anticipate the future. In the past 100 years or so, we can name innovators like the Wright brothers, Einstein, Steve Jobs, and some others. But the list isn’t very long. There’s clearly a shortage of people who are able to accurately foretell where the puck is going.
However, I’m convinced that God has already been to the future, so He knows all about it. And the closer we get to Him, the more we’ll be in sync with what’s ahead, not just with what’s behind.
The Bible describes a number of people who changed the world in innovative ways, and I aspire to be like them. For example…
- David impacted the world by serving the purpose of God in his generation (Acts 13:36).
- The sons of Issachar “understood the times” and had a strategy for what God’s people should do (1 Chronicles 12:32).
- Queen Esther was a model of someone perfectly prepared “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).
I encourage you to take a few minutes today to ask yourself, “Where is the puck going, and how can I best position myself and prepare?” You’ll be surprised by how this new approach will change your outlook and your life.