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The Secret Sauce Of Subban Success

Truth be told, I'm not a sports fanatic. I watch sports on occasion, if there's a world cup or Olympics. But even I know P.K. Subban. The moment I watched him in an interview, I was in awe of a superstar who carried himself with such humility. I was struck by his eloquence, and admired this incredibly successful well-rounded player, who at such a young age seemingly had achieved such greatness. 

The interview also featured the entire Subban family. And I was further in awe of the success that this family collectively had achieved. Did you know his other two brothers have also been drafted to the NHL? Inspiring. How could one family raise such incredible children? At the time I wondered about this, but the thought just lingered in my mind until I came across a new book by Karl Subban and Scott Colby, published by Random House Canada.

How We Did It: The Subban Plan For Success In Hockey, School & Life. 
~ By Karl Subban and Scott Colby

Karl Subban is the dad of P.K. Subban. Together with his wife, he's raised five incredibly well-rounded, successful children. P.K. Subban of course is a star defenseman, whose trade from the Montreal Canadiens to the Nashville Predators sent shock waves through the hockey world. The two other brothers, we've already talked about. The two daughters are teachers. 

Five children. All successful and just lovely, well-rounded citizens. How did they do it? Well Karl Subban shares the story. Once a coach and a principal himself (working with the Toronto District School Board), his story will be relatable to other families, and the Subban journey will help inspire parents as they go through their own insecurities of how to raise their children. 

Karl Subban starts off by mentioning the importance of dreams. It all starts with a dream. He believes that the past is a part of your history, and it can play a huge role in influencing your future. 

What you are taught, what you absorb as a child, impacts the decisions you make in life. Growing up, Karl had to conform to some basic expectations his family set out for him. These included things like working hard in school, behaving well, looking presentable (especially outside the home) and excelling at something which makes the family proud. 

His belief is that each child has a gift, what he calls the GPS - the Growing Potential Syndrome. Every child is born with a GPS that needs to be loaded. The earlier it can be loaded to go somewhere positive and do something good, the better off that child will be. The idea is that a child is born with the potential, but not the skills. These have to be developed over time. You need to practice.

It's a similar idea that Malcolm Gladwell outlined in his bestselling book Outliers: The Story Of Success


How do parents pave the road for their child's success? It all comes down to the same ingredients according to Karl Subban:

  • High parental involvement 
  • A supportive and stimulating environment 
  • A focus on excellence 
  • The pursuit of a bigger goal or dream 

Along with being a great recipe for parenting, this book is also a wonderful memoir of the Subban family. Starting from Jamaica, and travelling onto the shores of Canada, the book is a story about a unique journey filled with optimism.