Hello, I’m Sean, welcome to my page.
Throughout a 25-year career. I was fortunate enough to have 500+ teammates, 25+ coaches, trainers, physical therapists, and doctors passing me down a bit of wisdom. They all had their own tips, tricks, and inspiring stories. I feel fortunate for what the game of hockey has taught me about health, fitness, balance, and mindset.
What You Will Find Here
This blog is intended to be a spark notes version of some of the greatest minds self improvement, real estate, and online business. Many of these concepts I’ve collected from podcasts, audiobooks and online courses I’ve listened to over the years.
If I can pass along even ONE golden nugget to you from one of my articles then I will consider it a success.
The Evolution of Sean
I love a good success story but this isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. My story includes success, failures, and a few humbling moments in between. These are some of the moments that shaped me into who I am today.
1994- Take Two Laps
The oldest of 4 siblings, I grew up in the hockey-dominated state of Minnesota. By the time I was taking my first steps, I was also taking my first strides on the ice.
My parents tell the story of one of the dozen or so evenings they tried to teach me to ice skate:
We pulled up to the outdoor rink. I was fully dressed in the car, skates and all. There was heavy snow coming down but I wanted to skate! I had been begging to go skating all day. Three maybe four years old, my parents carried me to the edge of the snowbank and sent me off.
While my parents sat in the car, I stumbled out there, feel two or three times, and instantly started getting really frustrated. The snow began to come down harder and began to cover the ice.
After 5 minutes of struggle, I wanted out. I tied getting back in the car but the door was locked. My parents rolled down the window and gave me a bit of tough love and said, “Alright Sean, let’s see two laps, and then you can get back in the car”.
They remind me it was my idea to skate tonight. At that age, you don’t tend to react too well to tough love. The waterworks began instantly…
They said I cried for the next 20 minutes while I fell and picked myself up a few dozen times as I retaught myself to skate that day.
Athletics & Sitting Still
From a young age, I believe I was blessed with above-average athletic. I felt bad sometimes as I picked up athletics a bit quicker than some of my friends who struggled. We all have our own gifts.
From a young age, sitting still, reading, or focusing on anything but sports were not the gifts I received. I had energy and I needed to get it out, sitting still simply wasn’t an option.
After overcoming those two laps on the pond that day, it became apparent that hockey was going to be my sport.
As I look back, growing up a hockey player in the west suburbs of Minneapolis was a treat. Much of my youth was spent on the ponds, lakes, or flooded fields. You were sure to find a pickup game just about any night of the week.
My mom would drop me off for a 2-4 hour session at the local rink, didn’t matter the temperature or day of the week. The only other alternative was doing my homework, and let’s be honest, that included sitting still, which wasn’t going to happen.
Before the age of 15, I had played in tournaments in places like Chicago, Detroit, Toronto, Edmonton, & Quebec to name a few. I didn’t really understand it at the time but I was playing with and against many of the best players in the world.
In the summers, you’d find me mowing lawns, caddying, playing tennis, or lacrosse. Always on the move, hammering mini corn dogs and Barqs root beer like it was my job.
I was a hyperactive kid that fueled himself with candy, soda, fried food, and the occasional energy drink, if mom wasn’t looking. If it wasn’t part of one of those food groups, it probably wasn’t for me.
When you grow and played as many sports as I did, that amount of exercise allows you to eat just about anything you want and never see any negative physical side effects.
What I didn’t realize were the mental side effects I was having to overcome living this way, but we’ll get into that later in the story…
In high school, I truly enjoyed the independence of following my own rules and testing the boundaries of authority. I just felt the need to rid myself of any social conditioning forced upon me. I simply didn’t have time for rule guys.
I played 3 varsity sports, mowed 30 lawns a week in the summer, and jumped at any opportunity I had to get out on the lake with my friends. I went to a school with a graduating class of 68 students, and funny enough I didn’t end up being one of them.
Let The Growing Up Begin
Some people call it growing up, I call it getting humbled. Everyone has those moments where their perception of reality changes dramatically. The matrix in which you see life gets flipped on its head. It tends to be a really uncomfortable reality check, and I can assure you, it wasn’t any different for me.
Below are a few stories that allowed me to grow up, become aware of my ego, and basically start treating myself better:
I decided to switch from soccer to football my senior year. My sophomore year, I was 5’4″ 135lbs. My senior year, I was up to 6’3″ 212lbs.
They naturally made me kicker and defensive end. It was a blast! After being a late bloomer, I was finally able to use my size again. We went to state and got to play in the old Minneapolis Metrodome in front of our entire school. We ended up getting crushed in our last game and so did my wrist.
Hockey season was about to start, I was up to 14% body fat, I broke my wrist in the last game of the football season, and I was on the verge of getting my first failing grade in school. The pot was boiling and the lid was about to pop off.
It was my last year of high school hockey and I needed to get noticed or give up the hockey dream I had spent countless hours trying to achieve. Halfway through my senior year, I had no colleges, junior hockey teams, or anyone from the next level calling to offer me an opportunity.
My back was truly up against the wall for the first time in my life. I had all my eggs in the hockey basket, and I had no clear path to the next level.
Ray of Sunshine
After breaking my wrist, and watching the first four weeks of the high school hockey season from the stands, I finally got back onto the ice. After a week or two of playing I ended up receiving a call from a junior hockey team in the USHL, the top league in the US.
90% + of NCAA hockey players play 1-3 years of what they call junior hockey, an in-between league where kids become men and go play in small towns between high school and college.
This particular team had seen me play the year before and they were looking for a right-handed defensemen. Hope was temporarily reinstated.
Time to Find A New Home
This team wanted me to drive out and practice for a few days. They didn’t really specify if they needed a guy for this year or next but I was in full panic mode. I told my coach I wasn’t going to be able to make our high school games next weekend because I had a great opportunity.
With my back up against the wall, I wasn’t really asking for permission. I had committed too many hours and traveled to too many tournaments to let the dream die. I knew this was my shot. I got in the car with my dad and drove 14 hours to see if I could save my hockey career.
I practiced, gave it all I had, and thought I turned a few heads. On the last day, I got a message from the coach basically saying that I did well but maybe next year kid…
I get back to MN and figure out that not only did I not have an opportunity at the junior level but I was also no longer eligible for MN high school hockey…lol
Apparently, it’s against the “rules” to step on the ice with another team during the high school season. Rule guys back at it again…panic reinstated.
A Fresh Start
My parents have always been my biggest supporters. We made some calls and were able to get me a spot, tryout, or test run on another junior team, one league below the USHL, this league was called the NAHL. This team was only two hours away from my hometown in MN.
I packed up my car, told my high school friends farewell, and moved in with my first host family two hours north of Minneapolis.
Time To Get Cultured
For the next three and half years, I was culturally exposed to what most people are exposed to in a lifetime. I live with 7 different host families. I played on teams in North & South Dakota, Northern Alberta, and Southern Texas.
I was what the hockey community calls “a suitcase”. A guy that for whatever reason keeps moving from team to team, city to city never really unpacking his suitcase. I embraced it and loved moving around and seeing the country.
I look back and feel lucky to have experienced so many different cultures. I got to see how people two hours north of Edmonton lived and then a year later I was on the border of Mexico driving all over Texas.
Most of these towns we played in had populations of 5000-25,000. During certain stretches, I really enjoyed the small atmosphere. I’d be doing homework at Tim Hortons and a few of the locals would make comments about last night’s game in hopes of getting a raise out of me.
The Junior Hockey Reality
A few of the teams required you to either take college classes or get a local job. I worked in construction, then in an oil shop, and eventually started taking online college classes.
The toughest part of junior hockey is that you are at the age of 17-21. You see the rest of your friends having the time of their lives in high school or college. You get to sit there on social media and watch it while you’re in a town of 5000-15,000 people living with a host family.
I was extremely fortunate. I had incredible host families during my time in juniors. Genuine people that taught me a lot about myself.
Although I had great host families, these years were without a doubt some of the hardest years of my life. These humbling, ego-dissipating times made me question what I was really even doing in life.
As a third liner, rookie or call up, your treatment was a bit different than that of the veteran power play guy.
Denial, verbal abuse, and mind games were the coach’s go-to. Traveling you got to sleep on the floor of the bus, sit up front next to the coaches, and carry all the extra bags. Mix that in a pot with 4-16 hour bus rides and little to no social life. Most guys don’t even give it a shot, they’d rather go to college. Another handful of guys can’t take the abuse or mind games.
The process by which guys are weeded out of junior hockey is swift and unemotional. This is the time when hockey shifts from a fun pastime to a business.
ESPN & Slowing Down
After a year in Northern Alberta, I got connected with a team down in Texas, two miles from the border of Mexico. They seemed excited to have me, I lucked out with my host family once again. Sure beat the cold on in the north country, life was good, and the Texas sun was even better.
That season was the peak of my hockey career. I got rid of my dependency on Adderall and unhealthy foods. I stopped caring so much about the result. I no longer cared how the coach thought I played. I did all I could to rid myself of nervous energy. I just played and let instinct take over.
I made it on ESPN for the first time in my career! Granted, it was the “Not Top 10” but there I was on the cover of the reel wearing the other team’s jersey because we had forgotten ours… what a moment.
Texas is a big state, our average bus trip was 8 hours that year, we were driving all over the state. I upped my game on diet, self-help, and finance books. I was also knocking out college credits with ease, who was I becoming? Was I growing up? Was it my new host family? Was it the Texas sun? Was it quitting Adderall? Was it healthier eating? … I’ll mark it up to a combination of each
Border Patrol Drug Dogs
On one of our trips, we were pulled over by the border patrol to do our random checkpoint search. I was in the middle of an online quiz and my coach called me to the front of the bus, the border patrol wanted to have a chat… Oh no, what did I leave in my bag…
The dog for whatever reason singled out my bag. I was in the middle of an online quiz but I got off the bus, computer in hand, and confirmed it was my bag. I wasn’t worried, I wasn’t that dumb. The Canadian Mounties already taught me that lesson after randomly searching my entire car on the way up to Alberta the year prior… they didn’t find anything either.
It ended up being an unwashed protein shaker bottle. Apparently, the dog didn’t like the smell of the shaker bottle fermenting in my bag. They let us go, I rolled my eyes at the officer and got back on the bus, rule guys at it again…
My coach made a comment about how the dog must have smelled all the cannabis I was sweating out… I looked at him for a second, calculating my response… gave him the usual smirk and chuckle combo, and finished my quiz.
My coach hardly ever got on my case that year. He supported everything I did, and man did that make a difference.! I was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship from the University of Denver that year. My confidence was back!
Flip Flops Back To Parkas
DU gave me a scholarship, they told me I was going to be at best a fourth-line grinder, but I might get an opportunity if I spent one more year in junior hockey. So I did.
I moved out of Texas, up to North Dakota. I now had an opportunity to play in the USHL, the best junior league in the US. The stakes were much higher now, I needed to show that I deserved a scholarship. Regrettably, I put too much pressure on myself that year and I let a bit of negativity creep in. Showing up to the rink and being positive around the guys was a bit of a task. I think I just missed the Texas sun.
That year, I learned you receive the energy you put out into the world. On the ice, I got into a few fights, took a check from behind, and lost my front teeth. With 25+ new stitches and below average year, I was 20 years old and questioning life again.
New Coach, Hit The Road
Over that three-and-a-half-year span, I was told three times to hit the road. I had been cut and traded so many times that someone eventually thought it would be a good idea to promote me to this higher league.
Jokes aside, each time I moved teams I thought my life was falling apart but really I was being given an opportunity to find chemistry with a new group of guys, in a new small town.
I look back at this time and think how lucky I was to be able to play with so many different guys, tour so many different parts of North America, and experience so many different cultures.
Welcome To The Big Leagues Son
The next year I showed up strong and ready to go, I tested in the top 95% of guys on the strength tests. I knew I wasn’t going to be the most skilled guy, but I know I had control over being the strongest.
Within the first two weeks, I realized something in my game was off. Could it have been the altitude, partying, or stress of school? Denver’s altitude definitely played a role, but all of a sudden I found myself being matched with the first line on every drill. A group of players who would all play many games in the NHL.
After only a few weeks it was made very clear to me that, unless there was an injury, I was basically going to watch from the stands for a while. I knew I could play and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t eat at me. However, it was truly an incredible group of players.
This being said, rather than gravitating towards Rudy from Notre Dame, think Alex Moran from Blue Mountain State. As any 21-year-old that’s been isolated in small towns for the last four years, I thought my best outlet would be my newfound social life. I like to think I was everyone’s best friend for a while there. With only 10,000 students, DU had that same small-town feeling I was used to. The staff and students were very friendly and inviting.
My freshman year, we made it to the Frozen Four, my Sophomore year we won the whole thing. We were National Champions, we rode on private jets, we got dressed in the Blackhawks locker room and we celebrated like kings on campus. It was special!
The Ride Down The Mountain
Eventually, I hit a wall, our team had hit the top of the mountain but I was still only contributing in practice. I saw the writing on the wall, I got really into studying, and even started growing gourmet mushrooms in my room. When that got old, I began to escape to the mountains. I found skiing, fly fishing, and hiking to be a much better alternative to partying. I did just about anything I could to keep my mind healthy and at this time that was anything I could do to get my mind off the game.
I was on the best team in the country but my natural human instinct just wanted more. I tried to conceal it by acting like I didn’t care. That backfired, and the guys started to question whether I was bought in or not. Alternatively, I would try really hard and come close to injuring guys in practice. Mentally, there was no middle ground as I spent 40 hours a week at the rink.
Actually, You’re Blind
During my junior year, I tried to bring a new ray of positivity to the locker room. I had the option to graduate after 3 years, so this was my last shot. We were coming off a National Championship. After figuring out I was playing basically blind the past few years, I got contacts and decided to limit my socializing for a while.
My game got much better now that I could see. I played a few games and was getting my confidence back. However, you get to a certain point in your career when you just love other things more. You are inspired by other passions. You have a deep desire to achieve other goals.
Time To Hang Em’ Up
Controlling your own destiny is important. The end of my hockey career made me realize the bliss of only really competing against myself and only being competitive over things that are under my control. With hockey that wasn’t always the case but hey that’s what keeps it exciting!
The Independence Epiphany
Once I hung the skates up, I was on a mission. Location, time, and financial freedom.
Creating absolute independence was the only thing on my mind. I went into a two-year isolation period. I got a Master’s Degree, got an internship, and started my own company on the side. I continued to dive deep into self-help, mindset, online business, alternative medicine, and nutrition. I got the “have you lost it” conversation from multiple people in my life.
I could tell my roommates were worried about me. They had a “Where’s Sean” tally on the whiteboard in our house. I was in full isolation mode. I was happier than I had ever been, I finally had 24 hours in the day to focus on nothing but me. Honestly, I missed hockey but it was liberating!
Hockey gave me more than I could have ever asked for. I meet hundreds of great people, and I believe it gave me a great foundation for my diet, exercise, and work ethic.
Post College Energy
These books I was reading were giving me a newfound confidence that I hadn’t felt in years. My confidence was no longer tied to my hockey career.
Guys like Robert Kiyosaki, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Grant Cardone, Richard Branson gave me the motivation to be entrepreneurial and risk it all. I will tell you first hand, this is not the EASY way. It is lonely, it is a lot of hours, and there can be a lot of doubt.
This being said, these guys have influenced me to design the life that I find most rewarding. For me, focusing on projects that are only remote, meaning business can be run from anywhere with an internet connection.
I just know how happy it makes me when I can jump on a flight to meet a family or friend at any point in the year. I don’t have to miss events, birthdays or weddings. I can travel during the cold Minnesota winters.
After three years of putting my head down on only this type of work, I have been able to develop five different income streams while traveling almost full time. I hope to soon help others do the same.
Pillars of Freedom
We are all trying to achieve our own version of freedom. With every big decision, I think about my key pillars of freedom. Is this decision going to bring me closer to location, time, or financial freedom? If the answer is no, the decision is easy.
This blog is inspired by the knowledge passed down from those much smarter and more successful than me. I have been fortunate enough to have had access to world-class coaches, strength trainers, nutritionists, physical therapists, maestros, athletes, and entrepreneurs.
I’ve earned a real estate undergraduate and masters degree from the University of Denver. I’ve traded over a million dollars worth of vacant land, I’ve driven through 38 of the 50 states, surfed over 500 days, and I am lucky enough to have a healthy and supportive family.
I hope you’re able to find a few gold nuggets in my articles. I also hope that they help you achieve the sort of freedom you desire.
Thank you for reading,