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It All Starts With a Dream

It All Starts With a DreamFor those of you who don’t get our emails, last month I did my mentors series on Warren Strelow. He was our goalie coach for the 1980 team and really challenged me to perform to the best of my ability. He is someone that I have always looked up to and I miss him everyday. His family recently shared this letter with me that I thought I would share. Sometimes people get afraid of asking for help or failing. But failing is not fatal, being afraid to fail is. You need to know that you have people that support you and would do anything in order for you to achieve your dreams. Don’t be intimidated by the impossibility, be motivated by the possibility and BELIEVE in yourself. Text GOLDMEDAL to 22828 to subscribe if you haven’t already!

For those of you who are having trouble reading my handwriting:
“July 9th, 1979

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Jim Craig's 1980 Mentor Warren Strelow

Jim Craig's 1980 Mentor Warren StrelowWhen you ask someone who competed as an athlete to describe a mentor, a coach is typically among the first responses. There are many different types of coaches in the world, some great and some bad, but a coach almost always leaves some kind of imprint on each athlete they work with. As a lifelong hockey player who was fortunate to achieve and play at the highest level for a period of time, I could not have reached my potential without the dedication and hard work of a number of my coaches along the way. Now, the logical jumping point right now for many readers would be to think of Herb Brooks alone as the single coach responsible for the 1980 Miracle on Ice team. Of course, Herb deserves all of the credit he receives as the architect and the mastermind behind our success in 1980. But perhaps the most important principle that Herb Brooks brought to U.S.A. Hockey prior to 1980 was that it was about finding the RIGHT team, not the "best one." That obviously included all of the players whom he picked to represent our country at the Olympics, but just as integral were the coaches Herb assembled to lead us at his side. This Mentor Series will highlight someone on the coaching staff who often served as the glue to keep us together, especially myself, as we pushed ourselves towards a shared dream. This month's Mentor Series will focus on the goalie coach who helped shape me into the best goalie I could be, Warren Strelow.

When I met Warren Strelow for the first time, we almost instantly clicked because it was evident that we were both genuine students of the game. What impressed me the most about Coach Strelow was the depth of knowledge that he not only had about goaltending but also about my game as a goaltender. A pitfall for many coaches is the desire focus on molding athletes into what the coach wants them to be, rather than molding them into the best version of them that the athlete can be. Warren Strelow predicated his coaching on that notion of understanding each of his goalies' respective games and then working on drills and techniques that enhanced the best aspects of our game. Of course, that isn't to say that we only worked on what we were good at and neglected any weaknesses. The overall point, though, is that I was an athletic and instinctive goaltender by nature, so Coach Strelow used drills that helped me to be more athletic in the crease rather than to become mechanical. I became the best goaltender I could be because we worked hard to make my strengths stronger while also improving some weaknesses. I owe Warren Strelow and his coaching style an immense amount for preparing me to fight off the barrage of shots from the Soviet team enough so that our offense could win the game down at the other end.

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Mentor Series: Sharlene Craig

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In business, the quest for success is often described as an individual endeavor. While success absolutely requires self-motivation, hard work, and relentless determination, there are almost always unsung heroes behind the scenes that truly enable someone to achieve their goals. These heroes are the spouses and family members who make immense personal sacrifices in order to help you succeed, yet rarely ever receive any recognition for their key role in the success. I speak often about the importance of building a great team and how strong teamwork is the key to achieving your dreams. Even in the individualized world of business, teamwork is required within a relationship and family in order to perform at an optimum level. Therefore, a successful team starts at home. My story is no different, and I certainly embody the old saying, “behind every successful man is a great woman.” This edition of the Mentor Series is dedicated to an amazing teammate and the person whose strength and support has allowed me to get to where I am today: My wife Sharlene “Charlie” Craig.

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Mentor Series: Jim Widmann

Mentor Series: Jim WildmannI make it my mission in life to say thank you and express gratitude to those who have mentored and helped me succeed - as a person, in my business career, and as an athlete. No one truly succeeds alone, and I am fortunate that I had the opportunity to learn from so many excellent mentors along the way.

The key to mentorship is double-sided: The mentor has to be fueled by a desire to give back and to impart their knowledge to others while the mentee needs to be coachable, above all else. My definition of "coachable" focuses on demonstrating a commitment to listening, a willingness to practice new techniques and lessons, and an unrelenting desire to improve. Many times, coachability is not an inherent trait, but instead one that needs to be learned through experience and effort. It takes a willingness to check your ego at the door and to accept that there is always more to learn. Ultimately, if you are willing to make the sacrifices to be coachable, you will often be rewarded with the most valuable lessons that can fuel success in all aspects of life.

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Ultimate SAAAVE - Important & Vital Work

Ultimate SAAAVE - Important & Vital WorkI am fortunate to work as a spokesperson for Gore Medical and its Ultimate SAAAVE, a campaign to encourage those at risk for an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) to be screened for the condition. My father died from a ruptured AAA. If an AAA is detected in a screening, it can be repaired through a non-invasive procedure.

Earlier this spring, I was in Peoria, Illinois to participate in a free AAA screening clinic at the OSF Healthcare Vascular Institute – with the institute, along with Gore, also co-sponsoring the event. While in Peoria for the screening clinic, it was my privilege to meet and talk with U.S. Army Cpl. Matt Egan, who recently completed four years of active duty with the 173rd Airborne Combat Brigade – nicknamed The Sky Soldiers.

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Continued Energy Leads To Organized Teams

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I love speaking to businesses who want to go places. I had the pleasure of speaking to deView Electronics recently. Customized presentations that look at the inner workings of your business create enormous value to your business. Changing the way your employees think about success can change the entire culture of your organization. It takes energy, hard work, and...a great team. See the testimonial below from my friends at deView Electronics:

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