What’s Going On, Really?

by | Dec 19, 2022

Life’s lessons are all around us if we are open to them. With 4 kids in hockey, I spend a lot of time in hockey rinks these days, so for me, life lessons show up in hockey rinks. ☺

This past weekend, my eldest two kids, were playing a minor hockey game AGAINST one another. Normally siblings would be in the same hockey association, and would likely even play on the same team, but this year they are playing for two different associations on two different teams. The 18-year-old plays goalie, the 15-year-old, forward.  Let’s just say it was conflicting to cheer during the game!

Late in the third period after the 15-year-old scored several goals on his brother, the siblings were bantering at the net, friendly sibling banter, maybe a light shoulder touch but not much contact. Immediately the referees, having no idea the kids were related, assumed they had to break up a fight.  They quickly skated over to the net and started to separate the kids.  

Shot of ref skating over to hockey goal.

Admittedly looking at the photo, you can see why you might think there’s tension between the players. So the refs “broke them up,” to the great humour of the brothers.  No need to break us up, “we’re bros, bro”, says my 15 year old.

The refs didn’t actually believe them, skated to the bench to confirm with the coaches. Indeed it was true, and strange.

It made me wonder, how often do we not see things for what they really are? A communication issue with a colleague? A misunderstanding on a project. Tension during a meeting. We often read into a situation based on our past experiences, two kids on the ice, from opposing teams, in close contact, bantering, must be a fight.  

But is it? Can you pause in THAT moment, when tension is arising, take a step back and ask, what else may be going on? What may I be missing? What shifts?

Meet the author


Jennifer Williams


Experience Matters: Over 20 years in employee ownership.

Leadership: Held key roles in a 100% employee-owned company during significant growth and change (2003-2013)

Consultancy: Successfully guided over 40 businesses on employee-ownership and through their transitions to employee ownership, building a robust portfolio of satisfied clients.

Jennifer also owns a family business transitioning to employee ownership and has designed Firefly Insights as a worker-owned consulting firm to support business owners like you.