By Sunny Simon

My Canadian-born husband is wild about hockey. I’m wild about the Canadian, but hockey, not so much. In our home, numerous conversations revolve around the game, well mostly he talks and I listen politely faking interest.

The other day John related a hockey story that did catch my attention. Apparently the Anaheim Ducks totally overpowered the Vancouver Canucks. At the point when the scoreboard revealed a 7 – 1 Ducks lead; the players were called off the ice by the team’s manager and given strict instructions on how to deal with any further scoring. No celebratory gestures were to be displayed. A small smile was permitted, but only when the scoring player reached the bench. My husband explained that during the last three minutes of the game when the score was 9-1, the Ducks made no attempt at further goals and just passed the puck around to run down the clock.

I’ve heard stories of good sportsmanship, but in my book this game was exemplary. Whether on the ice or skating through everyday life it is our responsibility to display appropriate behaviors. We live in a competitive society and constantly teach our children to strive and reach the top. There is another lesson we should pass on and role model for our kids involving winning. Victory is sweet and should be savored, but not at the expense of another individual or group. By holding back on the hugs and high-fives, the Ducks demonstrated a powerful life lesson. Having the grace to refrain from adding humiliation to an obviously frustrating loss, and gently letting the other team exit to lick their wounds without further humiliation was an act of kindness and a strategy earning respect.


Good sportsmanship is essential in the business arena. Zappos is a company that takes the lead in treating competitors with grace and dignity. It made Fortune magazine’s list of “100 Best Companies to Work For” and will assist a customer in finding a competitor’s product if Zappos doesn’t carry it.

Take a moment and think about how you treat your competition. Are you keeping your actions and dialogue regarding your rivals honest and above board, or are you involved in a cut-throat, winner-take-all battle? Do you go the extra mile and offer advice to others trying to enter your field? Would you refer a client to a competitor if you could not fulfill their need? Challenge yourself to display a little more grace and good sportsmanship in your business life. Your actions will be noticed and your respect rating will rise.

Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More about Sunny at