Thursday, April 23, 2009

find your niche

George Parros, resident tough guy for the Anaheim Ducks, hardly fits the image of your average NHL hockey player. The 28 year old, 6’5’’, 230 pounder has become one of the more popular and recognizable players in Ducks’ history. Partly because of his distinctive mustache and flowing hair but also because he led the league in fighting majors last year as the team’s heavyweight enforcer. He has quickly become a fan favorite and a thorn in the side of all opposing teams. You know you’ve made it when children dress up as you as a Halloween costume (which was apparently very popular in Southern California this past year).

But George hasn’t always been a goon who drops the gloves as often as he touches the puck. Few realize that he has an Ivy League education with a degree in finance from Princeton and that he was a skilled goal scorer in college. He was the team captain in his senior year of university and managed to get drafted. Instead of insisting that he retain the role that he had always known, Parros soon realized that it was very unlikely he could hack it as a goal scoring forward in the pros. He decided that it was time for re-invention:

“It started after the Kings drafted me and I came out to their summer development program. I realized I’m a big body and I like to hit. So, I figured if I was going to play that way professionally, I would have to defend myself. I might as well learn slowly and get my feet wet in the summertime, go out there and fight and feel my way around. Then when I turned pro, I realized that if I had a chance to make the NHL, it would probably be as a fighter. Otherwise, it would be a longer road trying to make it as a scorer or a checking line guy. I figured, as big as I am, that would help me make the team".

We are all on the same path of personal and professional growth. We identify our strengths and weaknesses, understand our tendencies and try to improve upon areas that are deficient. For instance, thorough and analytical types strive to be louder and more dynamic while Mr. / Mrs. Personality try to be more technical and detail oriented. I’m of the opinion that there are situations when there’s no need for a bunch of people who are great at everything. Often your best bet is to embrace your tendencies and what you excel at and run with it.

Group dynamics are incredibly important on any team or at any workplace. The most successful teams often succeed because they have individuals who know their role and do it extremely well. When we try to be something we’re not there’s the risk of spreading ourselves thin and forgetting to execute what we naturally do well at a high level. It may be a great idea to take a lesson from George Parros and find your niche. Analyze your surroundings, identify what is missing from the group dynamic, decide on what you can offer consistently and assume that role. Otherwise, it may be a longer road trying to make it to the next level as someone who is perfect in absolutely all facets.

thanks to Kevin Hendry for sharing "find your niche" 

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