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How to Respond to Adversity – St. Louis Blues Style

Sometimes things can look pretty bleak.  On January 2nd, the St. Louis Blues were in last place in the NHL.  Things are looking at little different here in June.  Their perseverance from then to now – and their behaviors along the way – are a great example of how to respond to adversity.

Steps to Overcoming Adversity

We’ve all been there – the challenges / set-backs / wrong turns / you name it.  Ours aren’t usually as public as the Blues, but whether you’re facing adversity personally or in your business, you can move through.Alex Pirouz Quote-Face Adversity

There is a LOT of advice on the web on how best to respond to adversity.  I thought Alan Hall’s thoughts for Forbes provided some great guidelines – and seems to parallel the Blues approach:

Eyes on the Prize

Always remember to keep your objective in focus.  It can provide you motivation through the rough spots that will occur along the way.

It’s been 49 years since we’ve had serious consideration of a Stanley Cup around here.  Looking at where the Blues started this season, it’s no surprise that they’ve been discounted every step of the way.  Despite that, they’ve kept their focus on the ultimate NHL prize.

Get New Perspectives

Trying to tough things out on your own feels instinctual – but it is hardly efficient and usually not effective.   Getting input and help from others (your team, your partners, your friends) is an act of strength in my opinion.

Look at all of the resources at your disposal.  Sometimes just shifting around what you already have can make an immense difference.  It certainly did when Craig Berube was moved to coach and Jordan Binnington was moved to the net.  Their approach and temperament are great examples of what the Blues needed to change course.

Chin Up

Attitude really is everything.  Whether it’s positive or negative, attitudes will influence everyone involved – and by extension, their results.  Remind yourself of past successes – these weren’t flukes.

The Blues had a rare display of emotion in game 3 of the Western Conference Finals when everyone watching got to see what a hand pass looks like.  Even the always calm Binnington slammed his stick.  But by the time the team came out for interviews, they had accepted the call and resolved to focus on the next game (which they won).

Niro Thambilpillay Quote-Fail toward outcome

Don’t Panic

Stuff happens.  Panicking or having a meltdown will not help (see item 3).  Remain calm and work the problem in front of you.  Often these occurrences are great learning opportunities – and can end up making your end result that much better – like going to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Get back on the Horse

Keep going.  Try again and again and again.  You will never leave a situation if you don’t take action to get out of it.

I loved the consistent statements from the players after each playoff game – win or lose – that they just needed to get over that game and focus on the next one in front of them.


Appreciate the Moments

Whenever you are facing challenges and you feel that focus, that drive or that attitude starting to slide – look for those people and those moments that remind you that there have been positive parts of the journey.  As I look back over the playoffs, here are three that immediately come to my mind:

Charles Glenn – Mr. Glenn has been singing the National Anthem for us at Blues games for 19 years.  He’s retiring after the playoffs to care for his health.  His beautiful voice and rendition of the anthem is a highlight of every Blues game – and something that I will really miss.

Laila Anderson – Miss Anderson is an 11-year-old who has inspired St. Louis – and the Blues.  She’s a huge Blues fan that has been battling a rare disease called HLH.  She met Colton Parayko while she was still in the hospital.  After getting cleared by her doctors to leave her house, she’s been rooting on (and interviewing) her friends on the Blues bench at every game.

Gloria – This Laura Branigan hit from the ‘80s has become the Blues victory song.  It started for the team at Jacks NYB bar in Philadelphia of all places and is now playing all over St. Louis at virtually any hour.  Whenever it plays, you can’t help but smile and hope – and know that it will be stuck in your head for hours to come.


Things never go perfectly – much as we would like them to.  But the character, the lessons and the shape of the outcome are all found in how you respond to adversity when it inevitably appears.

Just ask the Blues.



Anne Hale is the Director of Client Services at HL Group, Inc., a premier provider of mobile inventory management, RFID and supply chain solutions. She manages our client engagements, helps with sales and marketing and can frequently seen cheering for the Blues.