True or false? The marketplace has gotten more competitive and fast-paced than it was just 10 years ago. I think we would all agree with that statement. Look no further than Uber to get a sense of how rapid an industry can be disrupted. So what type of mentality is best suited for entrepreneurs and leaders to thrive forward?

Essential Entrepreneurship Mentality I Learned From a Hockey Player

In 1996, I got a glimpse of the mentality that I believe can best serve entrepreneurs and leaders in their quest to propel their business and teams forward. The mentality was modeled by a gritty, long-haired, tooth-less hockey player by the name of Mike Ricci.

Mike played for the Colorado Avalanche in 1996. At times it was easy to overlook Mike’s talent and contributions but there is no question he was instrumental in the Avalanche winning the Stanley Cup in 1996. He was my hero as a Colorado kid.

Mike oozed passion on the ice, often jumping up and down after scoring a goal. He was willing to fight (literally) for the win and for his teammates. Mike made his own luck on the ice. He finished every check. And made every shift count. Mike skated into hockey history not by talent or experience but rather by his tenacious ability to make plays happen. See some of Mike’s highlights here.

The best word to describe Mike, and the word that best describes today’s essential entrepreneurial mentality is…scrappy. In the world of competitive ice hockey, being described as “scrappy” was a badge of honor.

Leaders and entrepreneurs who are scrappy…

  • Hustle no matter the odds, playing thru every whistle.
  • Make do with what they got, relentlessly resourceful.
  • Never play victim, they play because it’s a privilege.
  • Create their own luck from fierce discipline.
  • Finish strong, hanging in no matter what.
  • Only pick their head up, to stare down their opponent.
  • Show up everyday to play, no matter the circumstances.
  • Silence fear by refusing to stay down.
  • Never stop improving, always mastering their craft.
  • Execute despite perfect timing, knowledge, or skill set.
  • Hunger to be a game changer.

With competitors now able to appear out of thin air, the evolving landscape of work and technology, new skill sets emerging, and a new generation of highly educated workers crowding the talent pool…it’s high time to get scrappy. Fight fiercely to stay sharp, remain relevant, forge new opportunities, and run down your dream.

In true scrappy fashion, Mike Ricci concluded his NHL career with the San Jose Sharks by setting a franchise record for most consecutive games played.

Strong finish.

Question: How have you seen scrappy-ness play out at work?