How to Succeed Like a Pro: Business Inspiration from the 2018 Ducks

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Today’s a great day to be a Ducks fan.  The Anaheim Ducks fought through major long-term injuries to key personnel (over 300 man-games lost) to finally secure a playoff spot after the 80th game (out of 82).

It’s also a great day to be a California hockey fan.  All 3 of our teams: the San Jose Sharks, LA Kings, and Anaheim Ducks qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Yes, I will root for all of them.

While enjoying this first milestone of seasonal success, I started thinking about the lessons learned from my Ducks this year, and how this business inspiration applies to professional and personal achievement.

Never quit, even under adverse conditions. Or, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

The Ducks could’ve given up, packed it in, when their entire first two lines and half their defense was injured.  But they didn’t.  The team stuck to the plan. Coach Carlyle said, “I just coach the available players”. Those who took the ice followed the system. As a result, they earned enough wins (and overtime losses) in the first half of the season to stay in the race until reinforcements returned, and the team could achieve at a higher level. They’ve gone 7-1-1 in the last 9 games to secure their playoff spot.

Give others a chance to rise to the occasion. They might just surprise you.

Rookies, fourth-liners, minor-leaguers, and scrap-heap free agents all chipped in to help the Ducks scratch out points.  They didn’t have the talent of those they replaced, but they pulled together, worked hard with heart and determination, and followed the system.

Age is just a number.

37-year old Francois Beauchemin was bought out of his contract with Colorado, and ready to retire this last off-season.  Then the Ducks called. They added him to the roster (for a third time) to mentor their young defensemen. He was expected to be a short-term starter as the Ducks began the season with two key D-men still recovering from off-season surgery. Things changed as the season progressed. Other guys got injured. He kept playing solid. Today, he’s the team leader in blocked shots, is a +12, and is expected to shoulder addition responsibility in the playoffs as Cam Fowler sits out with a 2-6 week injury.

You’re never out of it until you’re mathematically eliminated.

Business doesn’t work on an 82 game calendar. But we do have our own seasons, like quarters and years. Keep pushing until the end.  You will face adversity. Accept it. Since you can’t predict the future, you’re never really completely out of the game. Work hard to close business on the first day of the quarter, as well as the last day. It all adds up.

Competition brings out your best.

Rivalry games are the best games to watch. According to the players, they’re the best ones to play in, too. The intensity of these head-to-head battles is on another level. Ducks and Kings. Bruins and Canadiens. Penguins and Flyers.

So don’t hate on your competition. They have their own style, culture, and approach that’s different than yours. You do you. Feed off your desire to outdo them, but at the end of the day, appreciate that you have them.  They make you better.

Quality competition raises the boat for all.

To survive, you need others to also do what you do.  One company can’t serve everyone well.  It’s much easier to be a part of an industry where other businesses are also helping grow awareness and sales. Respect your competition, find what makes your product or service unique, and work it.

If it doesn’t work out, there’s always next season.

If it doesn’t work out as planned, start again next quarter, or next fiscal year. Take what you’ve learned and make your next season better.


The Stanley Cup Playoffs begin April 11, in case you wanted to tune in.


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