Let me tell you guys a quick story that I think most of you who have been following my journey for a while will appreciate. I get a few dozen DMs/emails from high school age players every day and it never fails to amaze me how confused and sometimes lost the next generation of footballers are (at least in the states). Most of of these questions take a few seconds to reply to, but on occasion I get a message which resonates inside of me and impacts me on a deeper level.
I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to hear from players who have been inspired, motivated or touched by the content I have created over the past 3 years and who have gone on to have brilliant careers at the next level. But more than the praise and appreciation I enjoy reading messages that question my own belief system. I have spoken in a previous Q/A about how focus and discipline are the 2 main attributes that have resulted in the greatest amount of success during my career. Without focus you have no discipline, without discipline you’ll lose your focus. What this player asked though, we’ll call him Nick for privacy reasons… What Nick asked challenged my philosophy as to why these 2 things have had such a profound impact on my own career. He said that he has changed his way of eating, optimized his gut for clear thinking, created a structured workout plan, rejected parties, said no to girls, deleted social media profiles, trashed his PlayStation and yet, he still has seen little progress the past 2 years.
Clearly he is focussed. It’s obvious he has a very disciplined life. But why has he seen such high levels of failure when he possesses the same mindset as I do? I ended up having an hour long conversation with him and we struggled for a while to find a solution.
If you asked what has impacted my career the most besides the focus, consistency, sacrifice and discipline, I would undoubtedly say my belief system. I have 100% believed in my abilities to play professional soccer since I was a kid. Belief is the only thing stopping you from achieving what you want in this game. If I told you right now that all you had to do to sign a 1st division contract was to train 2 hours a day for the next 10 years, I’m sure the majority of you wouldn’t have to be asked twice to start mastering your weaknesses.
The reality though is that’s all it’s going to take to make it in this game. So why don’t you have a fire in you to train everyday? Why can’t you pick yourself off your bed and find the motivation to strap on the boots? You simply don’t believe the training you’re doing is going to be enough to play professionally. If you did you wouldn’t complain, you wouldn’t bitch, moan, cry or quit. But now you’re plateauing because you forget what trusting in the process feels like. It doesn’t matter how focussed, disciplined or structured your day is, you will 100% fail if you simply stop believing.
The past 2 years Nick subconsciously let doubt creep into his game. He didn’t fully believe the hours spent on the pitch every sunrise and sunset was actually worth his time. I’m telling you right now the hours you’re sacrificing for this game, the parties you’re missing, friends you're saying no to, the nonexistent social life you’re embracing, will all be worth it in the future.
I believe in you, but do you believe in yourself?
Only time will tell.