What motivates me is my past. I was always the kid who worked the hardest, had huge dreams, dreamt more than anyone, but whenever the big moments came, I crumbled. I grew up playing soccer, dreaming to be a professional, and play Division 1 at Duke University. Pretty much every decision I made was based on the fact that I wanted to go to Duke, play soccer, and have a chance to play professionally. I never missed practice. I mean never. I could probably count on one hand I missed a soccer practice, open field, or any opportunity to play even when I was injured. The day my grandfather died, a guy I was really close with, whose death was devastating to me, I drove an hour and went to practice. My dad and I traveled to close to 100 colleges to visit, I went to a couple dozen college prep camps, we went to dozens of college soccer games. I was all in on my dream to play soccer at Duke and hopefully pro. I was named the hardest working player 3 years in a row on my High School soccer team. I worked hard every practice. I went to the field on my own all the time to work on things. I cried after games I didnt play well, I bugged my coaches about what I could do to improve. I remember sitting out in the rain for close to an hour after a high school game crying and completely distraught because we lost and I felt like it was my fault. I knew my team needed me to perform and for the 3rd game in a row I didnt play well enough to help my team win, and I was devastated. What I am saying is I wanted it BAD.
Despite how bad I wanted it, how hard I worked, everytime I got a chance to elevate myself, to make the better team, to perform in front of a top level college coach, I failed. In soccer there are such things as State Teams, Regional Teams, and the National Team. I was good enough to play on the state team, however for four years straight I made it to the state trials but didnt perform well enough to make the team. I was always one the best players on the B team for my club. I got multiple opportunities to play for the A team at tournaments or in training but I crumbled. I didnt play well enough to solidify a spot on the team. For two years straight in high school I was the kid that was the last one left out of the All-State Team. I’d go to college preps camps, after all the hard work I put in, and I would have a bad camp. If you ask any of my coaches I would be known as the kid who would show up early, be the last one to leave, and I would be the hardest working kid in training, and I always wanted to win more the anyone. I just missed out on going to Duke to play soccer, because I couldnt get a high enough score on my ACT. I got an ACT tutor and studied extremely hard but man when it came to the test I couldnt score higher than a 27 knowing I needed at least a 30 to get into Duke. When I got to college, I was playing for the No 7 team in the Country in the NAIA. I worked extremely hard in pre-season, played well, and got the starting spot for the first two games of my college career and I crumbled. Didnt play well. I had a decent college soccer career, I played a decent amount but I never played to my potential because everytime I got a chance on the big stage I crumbled.
I crumbled because I didn’t know I was good enough. I didn’t know that I could do it, so I was afraid to come out of my shell in the big moments because I was afraid of failing. I over thought everything. Instead of just being me and going for it knowing that I might fail, I played conservative. I was really good at dreaming of being the person I wanted to be but I never had the guts to execute in the moment because I was to concerned with what people might think of me if I failed. Most of the time I was so afraid of playing bad that I never played to my potential. This is what motivates me, this is why I am doing what I am doing now. I don’t want to be that guy anymore. I want to be the guy that executed in the big moments, that believed in himself, that saw things out to the end. That took risks, went for it, that came out of his shell to share with the world who he really is because I know I have something to give.
I came to a point in my life where I decided that it doesnt matter what people think, what matters is what I believe in my heart and if I fail at least I know I gave it a true, real shot. I got so tired of being the kid who worked hard, with potential, but never really did anything big because he didnt really believe in himself. Because he didn’t know he was good enough. Because he over thought everything. I decided that I didnt want to be that guy anymore and life isnt worth living if you dont be who you are, believe in yourself and your gifts.
I think in a way every successful person is motivated by something in their past, something dark. Maybe they were homeless, maybe they grew up without a father, maybe they were a drug addict. But they decided they didnt want to be that person anymore so everyday of my life I am going to fight to not be that person and become who I want to be. Eric Thomas, motivational speaker, educator, author, talks about what motivates him is the fact that he was homeless for three years and he grinds everyday because he knows what it feels like to be homeless and he doesnt want to go through that again. He says “at the end of pain is success.” I’m using my pain of lack of self-belief that got me to fall short in every dream in my life up until a certain time to motivate me. I became so tired of falling short that I said I am not going to ever fall short again.
Thats a part of my story. Thats what motivates me. I tell people all the time, harness the pain of your past and use it to motivate you to create the future you want.
-The Professional Encourager and Uplifter